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2019 US tax year end planning: Mortgage redemptions

Beware of a potential tax trap for those US taxpayers who have a non-US (i.e. UK) mortgage and are about to sell their property and redeem the mortgage.

Last updated: 13 November 2019

This tax trap includes US taxpayers with UK mortgages who have a mortgage contract about to expire (i.e. a 2 year fixed rate deal) and are considering transferring to a different mortgage.

Generally, the British pound is down against the dollar compared with the last decade, which means it costs less in dollars to relinquish a mortgage than it did when the pound was stronger. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) unfortunately tax this dollar gain as income which can surprise a lot of people, in particular when the actual value of the property may have gone down in dollar terms as a result of the British pound devaluation. It is possible to harvest excess foreign tax credits in such a situation, so we would encourage you to seek advice and plan against any nasty surprises.

What should you do?

Consider the foreign exchange position before changing mortgage contracts.

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