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If I make 12 mortgage payments this year, I'll have made about $4200 in interest payments. But come december 2002, can I pre-pay several months worth of mortgage payments and count the interest as having been paid in 2002, to get me above the standard deduction amount? In effect, making 14 or 15 payment in 2002.

No, you can't. You can prepay your January payment in December and claim the interest portion of that payment. Any additional prepayments will be applied to reduce your principal and will not include any interest component.

You don't state whether you are single or married. If you are single, you are close enough to the standard deduction amount that your state income taxes (if you have any), real estate taxes and any charitable contributions should put you over the top. If you are married, you still have a ways to go.

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