Mortgage insurance in the simplest of terms is the backup plan for a lender. In the unfortunate event that the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender can cash in the mortgage premium and recover the losses. However, there is more to it than what meets the eye. Here are some more details of this rather intriguing insurance and why you should opt for it.

What Is It?

Statistics reveal that most home buyers pay less than 20% of the entire property cost as up front or commonly known as down payment. Read More

John Stancil

This is the first in a four-part series about home mortgage interest. One would think that deducting home mortgage interest on your taxes would be a simple, straightforward process. And for most taxpayers, it is. You get your 1098, enter the amount of interest shown on the form, and proceed to the next item. For others, the situation may not be quite so simple.

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Next January when you receive your mortgage interest statement from your lender, you might notice some changes on the Form 1098. Beginning in 2016, the mortgage interest statements must reflect the outstanding principal balance, the loan origination date, and the address of the property that secures the mortgage. All of this is information that has not traditionally been included on the mortgage interest statement. However, due to the complexity in the laws in regard to the deductibility of mortgage interest, these are welcome changes. In a perfect world, everything would be simple and there would be no need for this information, but we must play the hand we are dealt. Let’s look at each of these requirements and the reasons for each.

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Annette Nellen

In writing a summary of a recent Tax Court summary opinion, I realized that a 2015 law change may cause problems for some students trying to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit (Section 25A), Lifetime Learning Credit (Sec. 25A) or Section 222 above the line tuition deduction starting in 2016.  A 2015 law changes requires an individual to have received a Form 1098-T from the university in order to claim the tax benefit. Read More

Article Highlights:

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsAcquisition Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsEquity Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsTracing Excess Debt

Bullet Point Progress coding: bullet pointsUnsecured Election

One of the current IRS audit initiatives is checking to see if taxpayers are deducting too much home equity debt interest. Generally, taxpayers are allowed to deduct the interest on up to $1 million of home acquisition debt (includes subsequent debt incurred to make improvements, but not repairs) and the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt. Read More

When a mortgage lender receives $600 or more in interest from a borrower, it must file a Form 1098, indicating the amount of interest. Congress recently passed legislation that added some additional information to this information return.  Information that must now be included is:

• The amount of the outstanding mortgage principal balance as of the beginning of the calendar year.

• The mortgage origination date

• The address of the property securing the mortgage. Read More

Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud, and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a Thursday hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration. The board, composed of presidential appointees with tax, technology, or business expertise, advises the IRS on the best ways to meet taxpayer needs.

Fraud and Identity theft

Fraud and identity theft are still rampant, according to Michael Phillips, acting principal deputy inspector general, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who cited billions of dollars fraudulently claimed on refundable credits such as the American Opportunity tax credit. He said “the IRS recently prevented $12.1 billion of potentially fraudulent refunds from being issued, but more work needs to be done”.

Fraud comes in many forms, observed James R. White, director of tax issues for the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). Given its many sources, such as failure to file, underreporting, and off-shore tax evasion, Read More