Double Mortgage Deduction

Today TaxMama hears from CL in the TaxQuips Forum, who is upset. “We rented out our home and I used TurboTax for our taxes. Due to the questions posed on TurboTax, i.e., “Do you own a home?”  “What is your mortgage interest?” Then moving on in Turbotax in Rental Properties, the question is asked again to submit mortgage interest on the rental. Check. Did it.  The end of the TurboTax program they check for errors. See none.  Submit. Accepted.  Two years later…IRS says, “Why do you have two mortgage interests entered?  Do I call them and explain.  From checking online – many others have come across the SAME situation because of the TurboTax questions.  Also, there are subsequent years of renting this home that the double interest went in. Although, IRS is ONLY asking about 2009.  What to do?”  

 Dear CL,

For 2009, pay the additional tax.

For 2010 – you will need to file an amended tax return to correct the duplicate interest deduction. Contact Support at TurboTax. I am sure they will help you.

Also, I will let them know about this error. It’s clearly a misunderstanding in the terminology. I will bring this to their attention and suggest a way to avoid this in the future.  When someone writes questions and answers for tax software, even after doing it for many years, it’s really hard to anticipate this kind of confusion.

The folks who write this software expect you to know the difference between owning your HOME and owning rental property when you take the responsibility to prepare your own tax return. 

They also give you several ways to contact them and ask questions when something is confusing. Don’t just brush aside a bit of confusion. Contact them. TurboTax in particular lets you use their online community, email and telephone. They even pay a whole team of people to answer your questions at Ask an Expert. (In fact, they are hiring right now.)

YOU are responsible for reading your own tax return and looking at it before you finalize it. Just as you would be if a tax professional prepared it. In fact, that’s what that it says in that paragraph above your signature on the tax return.  

I don’t mean to sound preachy. You’re hurting and that’s the last thing you need right now. But I do want you to avoid unpleasant surprises like this in the future. And I will alert TurboTax about this area of confusion, so others can avoid this particular trap.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about IRS notices, software errors and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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