Form 1098 and Your Mortgage Interest Statement

“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.

The sun also rises, 

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960
Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood ChicagoIL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Are Your California Property Taxes On Supplements?

Are you one of the 77% of U.S. adults who takes some form of nutritional supplement?  If so, you’ve contributed to the estimated $31 billion dollars of revenue that this industry generated in 2018.  So it stands to reason that California counties would want in on the supplemental action and they’ve figured out just the way to do it…

Seriously, taking on home ownership for the first time is a big responsibility.  And since many first time buyers are coming from a background of paying rent, it’s important that we, in the mortgage industry, educate them about how making a monthly rent payment differs from coming up with the new housing payment once the home is yours.  Specifically, buyers are no longer just responsible for their “payment,” meaning the rent or mortgage payment, but once owners, they also shoulder the responsibility of  homeowners insurance premiums and property taxes.  We’re going to focus on the tax piece and we’re going to take it a step further and detail what you need to know about supplemental property tax bills in California.

(Trying to) Keep It Simple

When you buy a home in California, your property tax rate will be determined, in part, by the price you pay for the home.  If you’re buying a previously owned home, this was also true for the seller, though the seller’s tax basis will almost certainly be different than yours.  Supplemental taxes effectively adjust the seller’s tax basis to yours, as the buyer, and a separate bill is often issued to “catch up” the new basis with the previous one.  Let’s use a rudimentary example.  If the seller paid $800,000 for the home five years ago and had a 1.25% property tax rate, his annual tax bill is $10,000.  If you buy the home for $1,000,000 and the tax rate is the same, your annual taxes will be $12,500.  Again, being overly simplistic, a $2500 supplemental bill will be issued to you, the new buyer, in the first year.

When Is a New Buyer Billed for Supplemental Taxes?

“When” is not easy to predict and will depend on the individual county.  After your purchase, the County Assessor will appraise your property and advise you of the new supplemental assessment amount.  Bear in mind that the assessed value is usually neither the same as your lender’s appraisal value nor the price you paid for the home, though the latter is part of what drives the tax basis going forward.  Before the supplemental bill is issued you can appeal the Assessor’s assessment and, if you will occupy the home, apply for a Homeowner’s Exemption, which will lower your basis slightly.  The bill, once issued will indicate the amount owed and the date the taxes will become delinquent.

When and How Do I Pay My Supplemental Taxes in California?

All supplemental taxes are payable in two equal installments.  The taxes are due on the date the bill is mailed and are delinquent on specified dates depending on the month the bill is mailed as follows:

  1. If the bill is mailed between July and October, the first installment becomes delinquent on December 10th of the same year.  The second installment becomes delinquent on April 10th of the next year.
  2. If the bill is mailed between November and June, the first installment becomes delinquent on the last day of the month following the month in which the bill is mailed.  The second installment becomes delinquent on the last day of the fourth calendar month following the date the first installment becomes delinquent.

A very important item to note is that supplemental taxes are most often the responsibility of the homeowner EVEN IF the owner has an impound/escrow account for their “regular” property taxes.  So all those who have a VA or FHA loan, take note.  Yes, your loan’s servicer may contact you regarding the supplemental bill and may provide options on how to pay them most efficiently given your servicing arrangement, but barring any notice or contact, the supplemental taxes are your responsibility and are IN ADDITION to your regular property taxes being handled through your mortgage payment.  And remember, supplemental taxes are only applicable to the first year of ownership.  Thereafter, the basis correction is factored into the regular tax bills and you will only continue to receive those.  In CA, the regular bills are issued in October, technically due November 1 for the first installment, with a late date of December 10.  The second installment is due February 1 and late April 10 and you can find more information about paying your “regular” property tax bill HERE.

If you find your property taxes on supplements, get in touch any time if you need to cut through the noise and better understand your responsibility as a new homeowner.

Pass the broccoli, Barry, 

 

Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709

*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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

What Is an Impound or Escrow Account?

When renters desire to become home buyers, they quickly learn once in the mortgage process that their single rent payment will morph into “PITI” or “principal, interest, taxes and insurance,” or a “total monthly housing payment.” So, yes, there are additional monthly expenses to consider when you become an owner. Historically, ownership has bestowed tax benefit on the buyer and that’s been an offset to the higher cost of ownership and because of this, the “rent vs. own” calculation has been used to more fairly compare the cost of putting a roof over one’s head. Rent may be simpler, but ownership is more comprehensive, if more expensive.

Let’s assume that our buyer has done the comparison and decides to move forward with purchasing a place of his own. At some point, his or her mortgage lender will offer a choice (or maybe not…) about how they will pay their property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. There will be two options:

  1. Waive impounds. The owner foots the property tax bill and insurance premium when due.
  2. Impound or “escrow” taxes and insurance.  The lender creates an account through which the borrower pays 1/12th of the tax and insurance bills along with the principal and interest payment (P&I) each month. When the bills come due, the lender pays them instead of the borrower.

What does this mean, how does it work and which is better? Let’s look at all three in plain language.

What Is an Impound Account?

As outlined above, “escrows” or “impounds” are a financial account where your loan’s servicer can collect, hold and disburse your property tax and homeowner’s insurance payments. The servicer maintains this account and documents it on your monthly statement. Escrow accounts are required on government loans, such as FHA and VA, but are elective in many other cases. Here in California, escrow accounts are required on a loan-to-value (LTV) of 90% or greater. Interestingly, in most states across the country, escrow accounts are customary (if not required). But here in CA, it is more common not to have an escrow account. Go figure…

How Does an Impound Account Work?

Escrow (aka, “impound”) accounts are “pre-funded” at the time of purchase and thus can make your settlement more costly. Why is this? Let’s look at California’s property tax year. It runs from July 1 through June 30. Let’s say you close on your home purchase on June 30. You will live in the house from July 1, forward, but you won’t make your first payment on the mortgage until August 1 because unlike rent, mortgage is paid in arrears. Our first installment of taxes is due November 1 and for a six month installment (July through December of the fiscal year). But note that if your mortgage payments start on August 1 and you have to pay your first installment on November 1, you will have only made three payments by the time the tax bill is technically due for six. Unless the servicer “pre funds” at least three months at close, it cannot cover your installment. This is why you’ll see a number of months of taxes and insurance added to your closing when you have a loan with an impound account. It’s important to note that even though your ongoing mortgage payments continue to add a fraction of your total tax and insurance bills each month, your servicer does not pay the county or the insurer monthly. They pay when the bill is due, just like those borrowers who waive an impound account.

Which Is Better, Taking or Waiving Impounds?

As mentioned, some loan types require impounds. Where that happens, buyers must carefully consider and accept the payment requirement. If there is a choice, it comes down to personal preference and budgetary discipline. Those who waive an impound account do have a smaller monthly expense to cover because they are only paying the principal and interest portions of their total monthly housing expense. When their insurance and tax bills inevitably come due, they have to be prepared to pay them in full, and that requires budgetary discipline on their part throughout the year — just as if the loan servicer was requiring allocations for these expenses. So like with most things in the mortgage industry, there are pros and cons but there is no free lunch. No matter how you opt to pay it, your tax and insurance bills will be the same and must be paid in full at the end of the day.

If you have additional questions about escrow accounts for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, get in touch any time. As you can see, there are instances where using or foregoing an escrow account comes down to a choice. If you’re wrestling with the best fit for your situation, it often helps to remove the myths and emotions from the decision making process. We can help you do that and get the facts and math straight, and from there, the choice to take or waive escrows often becomes so much more clear.

Paid in full, 

 

Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709

*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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Will My California Property Taxes Go Up if I Refinance?

I would be willing to bet that each year, good financial benefit gets left on the table by those who want to refinance their mortgages but are afraid that by doing so, they may see their California property taxes go up. Is this concern founded? Can that really happen?

In short, no.  California property taxes are not reassessed when a homeowner refinances his or her mortgage. And the simple reason for this is that there is no transfer of title that would trigger the tax basis to be reassessed by the County Assessor. When an owner of real estate refis the mortgage, the title vesting usually stays the same and the only thing that changes is the lender that encumbers the title with its mortgage.

So for the vast majority, if a refinance makes good financial sense, then there will likely be no ramifications to the amount of property taxes owed. Always ask and always check with your loan professional, and certainly keep these property tax facts in mind here in California:

Property Tax Bill Information and Due Dates

Secured property tax bills are mailed in October and payable in two installments:

  • First installment due date: November 1
  • Second installment due date: February 1

“Now hold on a minute!,” you say. “I was told I could pay in December and April!” Well, technically, you can.  The late dates for the installments are December 10 and April 10, respectively. And what I’ve noticed after a long career in home finance is that most county residents pay just before these late dates. In fact, if you really want to people watch at the post office and you can’t make it on any given April 15, your next best viewing opportunity is very likely December 10. Late penalties are 10% of the installment amount, so it’s not just a slap on the wrist. State law extends the deadlines above to the following Monday if December 10 or April 10 fall on a weekend, but postmark determines the payment date. If you’re late and don’t include the penalty, the county will send back your original payment.

“What If My Lender Pays My Taxes?”

If you have an escrow or impound account through which your mortgage lender pays your taxes, your property tax bill will state, “a copy of this bill was sent to a paying agent at their request.” If you are unsure of whether or not your lender has paid your tax installment, you should clarify this with your servicer. They are the folks who send you your monthly mortgage statement. I always advise my clients to let me know if they need help with this — I just feel it’s a service any good mortgage professional should provide, and we handle the “straightening out” of countless, anxiety-inducing property tax questions throughout the course of any year. Note that if you pay your mortgage in full or refinance during the course of any year, you may become responsible for your tax payments even if you’ve impounded all along. Again, call us if we can assist.

What About Supplemental Tax Bills?

Your County issues a supplemental assessment when a change in ownership occurs. This bill reflects the difference between the seller’s basis and your new and ongoing basis and you’ll only receive it in that first year of the purchase. Afterwards, the correct tax amount is entirely reflected on your regular bill. The Assessor’s office provides owners with new, previous and supplemental values and you can always call them for specifics.

Refinancing can make sense in any market and at any time of year. If you’ve harbored a concern that a change in your property taxes could make a refi costly or inefficient, think again and let us know if you have any questions at all.

Read my lips, 

 

Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709

*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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283