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Who Cares About Mortgage Interest Deductibility?

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  • Martin Gervais
  • Manish Pandey

Abstract

We use the US Survey of Consumer Finances to measure the change in federal tax liability that would result should mortgage interest no longer be deductible from taxable income. We argue that the elimination of this housing tax provision would lead households to reshuffle their balance sheet, thereby lowering the amount of interest income taxes collected. We find that the cost of this tax provision is between 36 and 66 percent of the estimates produced by the US Office of Management and Budget, depending on the types of assets one assumes would be used to lower mortgage debt following the removal of the provision. Furthermore, since mostly rich households would be in a position to reshuffle their balance sheet following such a change in tax policy, the distributional effects of this program are much smaller than conventionally believed. While the focus of this paper is on the elimination of mortage interest deductibility in the US, the results of this study shed some light on the impact and distributional consequences to expect should mortgage interest deductibility be introduced in Canada.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 34 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-24

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Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:34:y:2008:i:1:p:1-24

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References

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  1. Kevin Milligan, 2004. "Life-cycle Asset Accumulation and Allocation in Canada," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 122, McMaster University.
  2. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
  3. Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Housing taxation and capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1461-1489, October.
  4. James Berkovec & Don Fullerton, 1993. "A General Equilibrium Model of Housing, Taxes, and Portfolio Choice," NBER Working Papers 3505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2002. "The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction," NBER Working Papers 9284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  7. Jonathan Skinner & Daniel Feenberg, 1990. "The Impact of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Personal Saving," NBER Working Papers 3257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Maki, Dean M., 1996. "Portfolio Shuffling and Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(3), pages 317-29, September.
  9. Sule Alan & Søren Leth-Petersen, 2006. "Tax Incentives and Household Portfolios: A Panel Data Analysis," CAM Working Papers 2006-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  10. Richard K. Green & Patric H. Hendershott & Dennis R. Capozza, 1996. "Taxes, Mortgage Borrowing and House Prices," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 96-06, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Christian A. L. Hilber & Tracy M. Turner, 2010. "The mortgage interest deduction and its impact on homeownership decisions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 31759, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Sule Alan & Søren Leth-Petersen, 2006. "Tax Incentives and Household Portfolios: A Panel Data Analysis," CAM Working Papers 2006-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  3. James M. Poterba & Arturo Ramirez Verdugo, 2008. "Portfolio Substitution and the Revenue Cost of Exempting State and Local Government Interest Payments from Federal Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 14439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sami Alpanda & Sarah Zubairy, 2013. "Housing and Tax Policy," Working Papers 13-33, Bank of Canada.
  5. Poterba, James M. & Sinai, Todd, 2011. "Revenue Costs And Incentive Effects Of The Mortgage Interest Deduction For Owner-Occupied Housing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(2), pages 531-64, June.
  6. Cho, Sang-Wook (Stanley) & Francis, Johanna L., 2011. "Tax treatment of owner occupied housing and wealth inequality," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 42-60, March.
  7. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Martin Gervais, 2009. "Why has home ownership fallen among the young?," Working Paper Series WP-09-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Jim MacGee, 2010. "Not Here? Housing Market Policy and the Risk of a Housing Bust," e-briefs 105, C.D. Howe Institute.
  9. James M. Poterba & Todd M. Sinai, 2008. "Income Tax Provisions Affecting Owner-Occupied Housing: Revenue Costs and Incentive Effects," NBER Working Papers 14253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cole, Adam J. & Gee, Geoffrey & Turner, Nicholas, 2011. "The Distributional And Revenue Consequences Of Reforming The Mortgage Interest Deduction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(4), pages 977-1000, December.

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