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<< My fiance and I are house shopping. A family member has offered to "loan" us the money for a house, as long as it goes in my name (and not both of ours). How will this affect us when we file our taxes once we are married? Do we need to file separately? Because we have no mortgage interest, is there any other deductions we can make or is it possible we might be penalized? >>

OK, first let's get rid of those quotation marks and find out what's really going on. If the relative is giving you a gift of the money to buy the house, I'd recommend that you write a nice thank you letter and put the house in your name alone. You can always convey joint title down the road, handling "God forbid" transfer through your will in the meantime.

If the relative is loaning you the money, make sure that the paperwork is in order and that the loan is secured by the property. The relative is going to have interest income anyway, so you might as well get the deduction for residence mortgage interest.

There are few occasions when one is required to file married, filing separately. Separate ownership of property is not one of them.

I'm not sure what you mean by "penalized" in your last question. Even if you have no mortgage interest you'll have real estate taxes. If you don't have enough itemized deductions to make it worth your while, then you'll use the standard deduction.

You might want to do some reading in IRS Publication 936 and also take a look at the Schedule A to see what itemized deductions are available.

TMF ExRO
Phil Marti
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