Statement of U.S. Mortgage Insurers on House Tax Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) President and Executive Director Lindsey Johnson issued the following statement on H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the comprehensive tax bill released by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee yesterday:

“USMI is encouraged by efforts in Congress to simplify the current tax code for everyday Americans and to promote economic growth. Comprehensive tax reform holds the promise of allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, modernize the tax code to help working families and spur economic growth.

“The House Republican proposal represents an important start towards putting the American tax system on a more simple and sustainable path, but USMI is concerned that the current draft excludes the premiums paid by borrowers for mortgage insurance as part of the definition of ‘mortgage interest.’ Since 2007, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums has provided helpful tax relief for millions of middle class homeowners with low and moderate incomes. IRS data from 2015 show the mortgage insurance deduction was claimed on 4.1 million tax returns that year—the vast majority of those returns had incomes ranging between $30,000 and $100,000. This is clear evidence that this specific tax deduction should be preserved because it helps make homeownership more affordable for Americans who value and need this help the most. So long as mortgage interest remains tax deductible, as is the case in the House legislation, so too should mortgage insurance.

“We understand comprehensive tax reform is as challenging of an undertaking as it is important—and we know there are difficult choices that have to be made throughout the process. USMI supports many of the stated objectives of tax reform, but is concerned that current and prospective low- and moderate-income homebuyers will lose an important deduction that they have come to build into the cost of their mortgage. Therefore, USMI will continue to work with House and Senate leadership to ensure the final tax reform package includes this important provision aimed at helping bring down borrowing costs for responsible taxpayers who need it most.”

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U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) is dedicated to a housing finance system backed by private capital that enables access to housing finance for borrowers while protecting taxpayers. Mortgage insurance offers an effective way to make mortgage credit available to more people. USMI is ready to help build the future of homeownership. Learn more at www.usmi.org.

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