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Mortgage Real Cost Calculator,  or  "Should I pay off my mortgage?"

Thinking of paying off or prepaying your mortgage?  This tool will help you decide.

Most people calculate the true cost of their mortgage as their interest rate, less any tax savings from an interest deduction on their tax return.  They may think, "Well, my mortgage rate is 5%, and I'm in the 25% tax bracket, so my true rate is 3.75%" (the federal government lets them write off the interest, with a 25% tax savings, so their net cost is 75% of their rate.  Essentially, they think the Federal Government pays 25% of the mortgage).  Well, that thinking is not entirely accurate.  Because the federal government gives every taxpayer the option of taking a Standard Deduction, whether they are a renter or have a mortgage, their actual tax savings may not be the 25% (or whatever their marginal rate is).   Even if they pay off their mortgage, they still get the Standard Deduction.  And, with the new 2018 tax reform, the Standard Deduction is higher than ever, meaning many will no longer deduct the interest on their mortgages.

Furthermore, taxpayers earning over $155650 may have their Itemized Deductions limited, so their tax savings are also less than anticipated.  If your income reaches a certain level, you may not get to write off your mortgage at all!

In fact, the tax savings you receive from your mortgage interest are dependent on your income, age, filing status, and a number of other variables (including some not accounted for here).   This calculator attempts to account for some of these issues, estimating your actual tax savings from mortgage interest.

There are several numbers from your tax return needed to make the calculations.   Please refer to your last year's 1040 tax return, or estimate the values for the coming year. Leave the line blank if it does not apply.

NOTE: In order to receive an interest deduction, you must Itemize your deductions (fill out Schedule A), and file Form 1040 with the IRS.  If you filed (or plan to file) Form 1040A or 1040EZ, or you do not expect to Itemized your deductions, leave the fields that do not apply blank

IMPORTANT!: The calculations are NOT deemed reliable! For informational purposes only.  Not to be used for tax advice.  Consult your tax adviser before making any decisions based on these figures.  These figures may not be accurate for your situation. Tax laws are complex, and this calculator may not have accounted for every detail on your return, or calculated the taxes correctly. Use at your own risk!

Known Exceptions:
  • This does not calculate the effect of the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT calculation has become a rat's nest of convoluted logic (shame on our politicians for not fixing this!), so we do not go through every possible calculation. Thus, the AMT alert may not be accurate. *Check with your tax advisor.
  • If you have amounts on Lines 18 or 19 on Schedule D, your tax amount may be incorrect.
  • If you get a foreign tax credit, have tax from Form 4972, file Form 2555 or 2555-EZZ, or use Schedule J to calculate your taxes, the AMT alert below may not be accurate.
  • Values not accurate for estates or trusts.
  • Does not consider additional 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (ACA or Obamacare Tax).
  • These are best estimates of Tax Year 2018 figures.
Mortgage considered
Average balance of mortgage this year $      Deductible limit $      Interest Rate (APR) %      Est Interest paid this year $
NOTE:  Mortgage interest is deductible only up to the first $1M in mortgage balances ($500k for Married filing separately).  For mortgages bound after 12/16/17, this cap lowers to $750k ($375k Married filing separately)  Please enter your deductible limit above.
Enter the following amounts from last year's 1040 tax return (or estimate this year's)
Filing Status Single
Married Filing Jointly
Married Filing Separately
Head of Household
Qualifying Widow(er)
Qualified Dividends (1040, Line 9b) $
Capital Gain (1040, Line 13) $
Adjusted Gross Income (1040, Line 37) $
Total Tax Credits (1040, Line 55) $ (Include only those you expect to be ongoing)
Other Forms (leave blank if not applicable)...
Long Term Capital Gain (Sch D, Line 15) $
Long & Short Term Capital Gain (Sch D, Line 16) $
Long Term Capital Gain (Form 4952, Line 4g) $
From Schedule A (leave blank if not applicable)...
Medical & Dental (Sch A, Line 4) $ (NOTE: This was reduced to a floor of 7.5% of AGI for 2018, from 10% in 2017.  Please double-check.)
Taxes Paid (Sch A, Line 9) $ WARNING!  This is now generally limited to $10000 ($5000 married filing separately).  Double-check this!
Investment Interest Paid (Sch A, Line 14) $
Total Interest Paid (Sch A, Line 15) $ (Include up to $ interest on above mortgage.)
Gifts to Charity (Sch A, Line 19) $  (Cash limit increased from 50% to 60%. Please double-check.)
Casualty/Theft Losses (Sch A, Line 20) $  (Eliminated, except for federally-declared disasters. Please double-check.)
Job/Other Expenses (Sch A, Line 27) $  (Many of these deductions have been eliminated. Please double-check.)
Misc Deductions (Sch A, Line 28) $     Portion of Line 28 that is due to Gambling or Casualty/Theft Losses $
Itemized Deductions allowed (calculated) $
Limited because of your income
Standard Deduction taken, as it is greater than Itemized
Itemized Deductions with Mtg paid off (calculated) $
Limited because of your income
Standard Deduction taken, as it is greater than Itemized
Your Income Tax
Taxable Income (calculated) $
Taxable Income with Mtg paid off (calculated) $
Federal Income Tax (calculated) $
Your marginal rate %
Marginal rate, cap gains & divs %
Alternative Minimum Tax unlikely*
AMT possibility! Use AMT worksheet.   Rate:%
Federal Income Tax with Mtg paid off (calculated) $
Your new marginal rate %
Marginal rate, cap gains & divs %
Alternative Minimum Tax unlikely*
AMT possibility! Use AMT worksheet.   Rate:%
Note:  If the AMT alert is checked, it does not mean you owe the Alternative Minimum tax.  It means you must check the AMT worksheet to verify.

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