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You are getting good advice from the others, but I can add another angle to this. Mortgage interest is typically reported on Form 1098. Form 1098 would show all of the mortgage interest for a particular loan. The potential problem comes into play because only one social security number is shown on the Form 1098. So the husband's social security number may be on the Form 1098, but not the wife's. When the IRS matches the mortgage deduction against their 1098 file, the wife would appear to have none. This could be fairly easily explained in a letter. The IRS will likely be agreeable as long as no one deducted more than their share. It should be noted that state law may come into play in terms of who is entitled to the deduction. To deduct mortgage interest, a taxpayer needs to 1) be liable for the debt, and 2) have paid the interest. Whether the taxpayer paid the interest may be determined by state law (i.e. community property laws). Of course, the facts and circumstances are important.
W. Robert Smith, CPA, CMA
Tax Preparer Learning Systems, LLC
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