How is rental income taxed when you have a mortgage?

How is rental income taxed when you have a mortgage?

How is rental income taxed when you have a mortgage?



When you own a rental property and have a mortgage on it, understanding how rental income is taxed becomes essential. The tax treatment of rental income can vary depending on various factors, including the type of property, the mortgage interest, and any expenses incurred. In this article, we will explore how rental income is taxed when you have a mortgage, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Taxable Rental Income

Definition: Taxable rental income refers to the amount of money you receive from renting out your property that is subject to taxation. It includes both the rental payments received and any additional income from the property, such as fees for services provided.

Calculation: To calculate your taxable rental income, you need to subtract the deductible expenses associated with the property from the total rental income. These deductible expenses may include mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and property management fees.

Deducting Mortgage Interest

Eligibility: If you have a mortgage on your rental property, you can usually deduct the mortgage interest paid as an expense when calculating your taxable rental income. However, there are certain criteria that must be met. The mortgage must be a valid debt secured by the property, and the funds must have been used to purchase, improve, or maintain the property.

Limitations: The amount of mortgage interest you can deduct may be subject to limitations. For example, if the mortgage is over $1 million or if the loan is not secured by the property, you may have restrictions on the deductibility of the interest. Additionally, if you use the property for personal purposes, such as renting it out for only a portion of the year, the deductible mortgage interest may be prorated.


Definition: Depreciation is the process of deducting the cost of the property over its useful life. It allows you to account for the wear and tear of the property and is considered an expense when calculating taxable rental income.

Calculation: The depreciation deduction is calculated based on the cost of the property, excluding the land value, and the property’s useful life. The cost is spread out over several years, typically 27.5 years for residential rental properties. The annual depreciation expense can be deducted from the rental income, reducing the taxable amount.

Passive Activity Loss Rules

Definition: The passive activity loss rules are designed to limit the ability to deduct losses from passive activities, such as rental real estate, against other types of income.

Application: If your rental activity is considered a passive activity, the losses generated from the rental property may be subject to the passive activity loss rules. These rules restrict the deduction of losses to the extent of your passive income. However, there are exceptions for real estate professionals and for individuals with modified adjusted gross income below a certain threshold.


Understanding how rental income is taxed when you have a mortgage is crucial for rental property owners. By considering deductible expenses such as mortgage interest, depreciation, and the application of passive activity loss rules, you can effectively manage your tax obligations and maximize your rental income. It is advisable to consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with the tax laws and to optimize your tax strategy.


– Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
– Investopedia:
– Nolo: