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(Updated January 2016)

Introduced along with the Income Tax in 1913, the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) allows homeowners who itemize their taxes to deduct mortgage interest attributable to primary residence and second-home debt totaling $1 million, and interest paid on home equity debt up to $100,000. Though the MID is a popular tax deduction for millions of U.S. homeowners, it has become a controversial topic in recent years. This field guide highlights basics, perceived pros and cons, IRS rules, and more to get you up-to-speed on this widely-debated tax deduction. (S. Hogan, Manager, Library & Archives)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

MID Basics

For a list of states that have a mortgage interest deduction, please see the Short Answer Table - Mortgage Interest 2015 Deductions (State Issues Tracker, National Association of REALTORS®) (Note: Realtor.org username and password is required).

Mortgage Interest Deduction: Background, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.).

2016 Mortgage Deduction: What You Should Know, (The Motley Fool, Dec. 19, 2015).

Map: Mortgage Interest Deductions, (Brookings Institution, Dec. 5, 2014). 

Mortgage Interest Deduction topic page, (National Association of REALTORS®).

How Does the MID Benefit Housing and Homeownership?

Mortgage Interest Deduction Must Be Saved, (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 20, 2013).

Why We Can't Compromise on the Mortgage Interest Deduction, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.).

Not a High-Wire Act, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2013). 

Some Ideas on Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction to Benefit More People, (Mother Jones, Apr. 7, 2013).

Why Is There Opposition to the MID?

Fixing the most expensive tax deduction, (The Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2015).

Why the mortgage interest tax deduction should disappear, but won't, (Money & Banking, June 8, 2015).

A senseless subsidy, (The Economist, May 16, 2015).

The Uselessness of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, (The New York Times Opinion Pages, Apr. 14, 2015).

The Tax Deductions Economists Hate, (FiveThirtyEight Economics, Apr. 3, 2015).

The Mortgage Mistake, (The New Yorker, Jan. 12, 2015).

A Deduction Unevenly Used, (The New York Times, May 16, 2013).

Rules, Forms, & G​uidelines from the IRS

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction: Publication 936 (for use in preparing 2015 returns), (IRS.gov, Dec. 30, 2015).

Topic 504—Home Mortgage Points, (IRS.gov, Apr. 15, 2013).

Equitable Ownership and Mortgage Interest Deductions, (The Tax Adviser, Jan. 2012). E

The IRS, MID​ and You

REALTORS® Urge Preserving Homeownership Tax Policies, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Apr. 26, 2013).

Testimony of Gary Thomas, 2013 President National Association of REALTORS®, Before the United States House of Representatives (Committee on Ways and Means Hearing Titled Tax Reform and Residential Real Estate, Apr. 25, 2013).

NAR Issue Summary: Federal Tax/Mortgage Interest Deduction, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2012).

Revenue Costs and Incentive Effects of the Mortgage Interest Deduction for Owner-Occupied Housing, (National Tax Journal, June 2011). E

Americans Oppose Eliminating Income Tax Deductions, (Gallup, Apr. 15, 2011). 

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

How to Invest in Real Estate & Pay Little or No Taxes (Adobe eReader)

J.K. Lasser's New Tax Law Simplified 2010 (Adobe eReader)

J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2010 (Adobe eReader)

The Mortgage Answer Book: Practical Answers to More Than 150 of Your Mortgage and Loan Questions (Adobe eReader)

The Mortgage Encyclopedia: The Authoritative Guide to Mortgage Programs, Practices, Prices and Pitfalls (Adobe eReader)

The Tax Lady's Guide to Beating the IRS and Saving Big Bucks on Your Taxes (Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Buying vs. Renting

Field Guide to Due Diligence for First Time Home Buyers

Field Guide to Social Benefits of Home Ownership

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.