home

Deducting Mortgage Interest on a Vacation Home

You may be able to write off all mortgage interest on a second home if you’re not renting it out for extended periods.

Question: I’m about to buy a lake house as a second home. I plan to go there a few times a month but not live there full-time, and I don’t plan to rent it out. Is the mortgage interest tax-deductible?

Answer:

Yes. As long as you don’t rent out a second home for more than 14 days each year, you can deduct the mortgage interest you pay on it. But your deduction is capped at the interest you pay on up to $1 million of debt on your first and second homes combined. You can also deduct property taxes on your first and second home. All of these deductions are only available if you itemize.

If you change your mind about renting the lake house to others, you’ll still be able to deduct the mortgage interest as long as you don’t lease it out for more than two weeks a year. And any rental income you receive will be tax-free, too, if you stay within the two-week limit.

If you rent out the house for longer than that, you’ll have to report the rental income to the IRS. But you can still deduct some of the mortgage interest and rental expenses, such as insurance and utilities, for the portion of the time that you rent out the house. Calculating the deduction gets complicated because you’ll need to determine how much of those costs should be allocated to when you were leasing out the house and when you were personally using it.

For more information about deducting mortgage interest on second homes and the rules for deducting rental expenses, see Tax Planning for Owning a Second Home and Buying a Vacation Home. Also see IRS Publication 530, Tax Information for Homeowners.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In
places to live

The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

Take a look at our list of American cities with the lowest costs of living. Is one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. right for you?
October 13, 2021
Gen X: How to Make Sure Your Future Self Remains Funded
personal finance

Gen X: How to Make Sure Your Future Self Remains Funded

If you’re a Gen Xer, like me, now might be the right time to talk to a financial professional to learn more about how to adjust your retirement planni…
October 20, 2021

Recommended

Airbnb Host Tells What It's Like
Business Costs & Regulation

Airbnb Host Tells What It's Like

This Denver pharmacist began booking her ski condo a few months after the pandemic hit.
October 28, 2021
Is Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?
Long-Term Care Insurance

Is Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?

If you hate the idea of paying for long-term care insurance you may never use, a hybrid policy could be for you. The money you paid in premiums doesn’…
October 28, 2021
Is Your Home as Protected as You Think? It’s Time for a Policy Review
home insurance

Is Your Home as Protected as You Think? It’s Time for a Policy Review

It’s better to find out your coverage falls short before something happens rather than after. Here’s how to get started and what to look for as you re…
October 27, 2021
Charitable Givers Dodge Draconian Parts of the Biden Tax Plan (So Far)
tax planning

Charitable Givers Dodge Draconian Parts of the Biden Tax Plan (So Far)

Still, here’s what you need to know about charitable giving, as well as potential changes to capital gains tax rates and estate taxes, under several p…
October 24, 2021