Doing the tax TAP dance
Notes from D.C.

A little bit of tax help for PMI payments

Some homeowners who make a private mortgage insurance (PMI) payment each month along with their loan's principal and interest will be able to get a little extra tax help here.

House_money4_1PMI is a policy that as a home buyer you pay for, but it protects your lender in case you default. Generally, you must make a 20 percent or more down payment to avoid this coverage. Once you're in the house, when you build enough equity you might be able to persuade your lender to let you drop the insurance.

In the meantime, you gotta pay for the policy. And while many other home-related costs are deductible, this insurance hasn't been. Until now.

Tucked into the just-passed H.R. 6408, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 that extended some popular tax breaks that expired last year, is a provision that will allow some taxpayers to deduct their PMI costs along with other itemized expenses on Schedule A.

The insurance industry, which has been lobbying for this tax break for years, estimates it could save eligible households $200 to $400 a year.

But don't start spending that money yet. The key word, as in every piece of tax legislation, is eligible.

First there's an income limit. If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, the deduction is phased out by 10 percent for each $1,000 it's over that amount. And if you hit $110,000 then you're out of luck, at least as far as this deduction goes.

You're also out of luck if you've already got a mortgage with PMI. The write-off is available only for mortgages obtained in 2007 and for insurance amounts paid or accrued in that year.

And, as is the legislative style of Congress nowadays, this deduction is temporary. It will expire on Dec. 31, 2007, unless the incoming 100th Congress -- wait for it, literally -- extends the tax break next year.


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I totally dislike the fact that those who closed their mortgages in 2006 at INFLATED prices are not getting any relief. Who was the wise guy who devised this policy to only give relief to loans closed in 2007 (and onwards)? The home values only started dropping in 2007, so does it not make sense to give relief to those who also closed in 2006 at high rates and high home prices?? I am so surprised that not many people have taken offense or argued this point!


Any news about congress extended it into 2008? If not, when will hear something?

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