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With the current $10K limit on SALT and the current standard deduction, we (MFJ) are just barely in itemizing territory for federal taxes. I'm looking at refinancing our home mortgage, and it seems likely that this would put us below the standard deduction threshold.

We own a rental property free and clear. Is it legit to take out a mortgage on the rental property to pay off the primary residence mortgage so that we can continue to get a tax benefit for the interest on the loan?


You were fine up until the last 16 words (... "so that we can continue..."). A loan taken against your rental property will be subject to the tracing rules. In other words, the deductibility of the interest depends on what you are using the loan proceeds for, not where the money came from. If you were using the loan to purchase other investment property, the interest would be deductible (subject to the investment interest expense rules). But if you use the proceeds to pay off your primary residence mortgage, the interest will not be deductible.

Ira
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