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Is paying someone’s mortgage good for your taxes?


When it comes to giving a financial help that someone will remember always, paying off someone else's mortgage might be the best gift ever. How can paying off mortgage for someone else is considered as a gift? Here's a basic picture that you must know first:

Paying off someone’s mortgage as a gift

Practically, this type of mortgage payment gifts can be done by:

  1. Checking the name of the mortgage company (lender) which holds the interest.
  2. Knowing the account number of the mortgage (Find it from county recorder's office).
  3. Paying off the remaining amount of the mortgage.

Different ways to pay someone’s mortgage

Aside from a gift, you can also pay off someone’s mortgage liabilities through few other methods. You can repay the mortgage entirely or provide help to catch up due payments:

  • Anonymous payment - You can make payments as an anonymous person. You may just find the lender and the account number of the mortgage loan. To keep your identity secret, you can use money order mail with no return address for making the payment.
  • Assuming a mortgage - In some states and in some instances, you can *assume someone’s mortgage. However, this may depend on your own credit rating, the terms of the current mortgage and guarantor guidelines.

*Through an assumable mortgage, a buyer can assume the current principal balance, the interest rate, repayment period and other terms of the seller's existing mortgage and can take over the mortgage from the seller. The lender must approve the process with little or zero changes in terms and conditions.

Tax consequences of making mortgage payments of others

As per the federal tax laws, you can make a tax-free gift to another person except your spouse. For example - if your nephew or any other family member wants financial help, you provide a tax-free gift to that person by maintaining the IRS guidelines.

As per the law of 2017 - In a calendar year, if you make monthly mortgage payments more than $14,000 (to a single person), you must file IRS Form 709, U.S. Gift tax return. Remember, the annual exclusion will be applied to each and every individual whom you’re gifting. Apart from that, if you're married, your spouse can also gift $14,000 (mortgage payment) to any person separately, other than the gifts you've made.

If you pay someone’s mortgage (other than your children)

a. Monthly payments on mortgage

If you want to make your nephew’s mortgage payment, you can deduct that amount from your allotted $14,000 gift tax amount. But be sure that the total payment is not exceeding $14,000, or else you’ll have gift tax liability.

If the amount exceeds $14,000, the remaining amount still would be taxable.

b. Paying off the mortgage entirely

Suppose your nephew has already paid off most of the mortgage loan, but still your $13,000 gift tax exclusion isn’t covering the total amount. In that case you could pay it off by applying your unified credit.

For 2017, the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.49 million per person, higher than $5.45 million in 2016.

If you pay your child's mortgage

As parents, it's common to help out your children, even if they are grown ups. So, you can help them by paying their mortgage too.

But remember, you might be the person who emptied the wallet, that doesn’t mean you’ll get a deduction. Whereas, you might even get a gift tax bill.

a. Mortgage liability requirement to get tax deduction

To get tax deduction on mortgage interest, you need to be legally liable for the mortgage debt and the home must be owned by you.

If the mortgage and the ownership is in your child's name and you don’t have any rights over the house, you're not legally liable for the debt. So, you can't demand any tax deduction on the mortgage interest paid on behalf of your children.

But, if you handover that amount to your kids, and ask them to pay the mortgage on their own, your kids will get the deduction as per the law.

Read more : The tax consequences if parents pay a child's mortgage

b. Gift taxes applied to you

If you provide monetary help to your children, it’ll be counted as a gift. There’s a limit of certain amount per person each year, that is excluded from gift taxes.

As informed earlier, the amount is $14,000 per year. Any amount excess will be counted as a taxable gift.

For example:

If you pay $26,000 for your son’s mortgage in 2017, you're paying $12,000 extra from your own pocket. It means that the excess $12,000 of your payments will be considered as a taxable gift.

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