Taxpayers’ Use of Mortgage Break Dropped 7.3% in 2011

Taxpayers claimed 7.3 percent less in mortgage interest deductions in 2011 compared with 2010, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Declining home values and lower interest rates may have contributed to the decline, the tax agency said in a report today. In 2011, 36 million taxpayers deducted $358.8 billion in home mortgage interest, down from 2010, when 36.9 million taxpayers deducted $387.1 billion.

U.S. taxpayers can generally deduct mortgage interest on indebtedness up to $1 million and $100,000 in home equity loans on their primary and secondary residences. The break is available only to the 31.8 percent of taxpayers who itemize their deductions.

Use of the mortgage interest deduction declined even as income and other deductions increased during the economic recovery in 2011.

Adjusted gross income rose 3.1 percent to $8.3 trillion. Use of the student loan interest deduction increased by 5.7 percent, to $9.8 billion. Use of the deduction for charitable contributions increased 1.4 percent, to $160.3 billion.

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