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Americans Give Mixed Marks To Limits On Mortgage Tax Deduction

Thursday, December 02, 2010

President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission is considering a radical overhaul of one of the most sacred of sacred cows – the income tax deduction on interest paid on home mortgages. Americans are narrowly divided when asked about possible ways to limit that deduction.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Adults favor limiting the income tax deduction a homeowner can take only to the first $500,000 of any home mortgage, but 38% oppose any such cap. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Currently, the cap for deduction purposes is $1 million.

Another alternative is to limit the mortgage income tax deduction to the size of the average home mortgage, although it is important to note that Rasmussen Reports did not put a dollar value on “average.” Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans favor limiting the mortgage deduction to the size of the average home mortgage, while 40% oppose such a limit. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

The commission is considering converting the mortgage deduction to a 12% non-refundable tax credit with a cap of $500,000, but the National Association of Realtors and others are strongly opposed to any such changes at a time when the housing market is severely depressed. The deficit commission is expected to approve final recommendations on Friday for forwarding to Congress and the president.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on November 30-December 1, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology. 

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