“At first you go bankrupt slowly, and then all at once.” This quote has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain and even F. Scott Fitzgerald. Indeed, it’s a great one, though fortunately I cannot personally attest to its veracity. Nevertheless, it does touch on a concept I want to cover at a particular time of year — from about mid-January to the end of February. It is during these weeks that most of us gradually give up our moorings to the previous year and then suddenly realize that we need to start planning to file our tax returns for it. Also during this time, we receive our W-2 forms, 1099s and, if we hold a mortgage, our Form 1098. With the help of one of my very capable colleagues at Guaranteed Rate, Michael Most, I’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding this document.
Q: What is a 1098?
A: The 1098, also known as the Mortgage Interest Statement, is a form issued by a mortgage servicer to the borrower which details the interest and expenses paid on a mortgage during a tax year. These expenses can be used as deductions on U.S. income tax form Schedule A, which reduces taxable income and the overall amount owed to the IRS. Tax disbursements are not included on the 1098. Contact your county tax authority for those figures.
Q: Where can I find my 1098?
A: Your annual 1098 comes from the company that services your mortgage loan (your “servicer”). Verify the lender has your correct mailing address if you are not living in the home. Most servicers allow you to access and print tax forms free of charge by logging into your account on their website. Guaranteed Rate provides 1098 copies from previous tax years upon request.
Q: When can I expect the 1098?
A: The IRS requires that tax documents are available on or before January 31st, which is the typical distribution date. The 1098 form is mailed to the address listed for the primary borrower.
Q: I have multiple borrowers on the mortgage. Do we all file the 1098?
A: 1098s are mailed solely to the primary borrower listed on the mortgage. If multiple borrowers are listed on your mortgage, you may decide among yourselves who will file the form. The form may only be filed once.
Q: Is there any way to get the 1098 myself?
A: Most long-term servicers allow you to access and print tax forms free of charge by logging into your account on their website.
Q: Can I obtain a copy of my 1098 from years past?
A: Guaranteed Rate can reprint and mail 1098 forms, which may take several business days.
Q: The 1098 I received doesn’t reflect all the payments I’ve made.
A: It is possible that you made payments to more than one servicer during the year. Please allow until February 15th to receive the 1098 from all servicers.
As always, please call or email me with any additional questions. For specific questions regarding taxation and the filing of your income tax returns, please be sure to consult your own tax professional.
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*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate. In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.
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