The Variation of Homeowner Tax Preferences by Income, Age and Leverage
35 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2007
It is well known that owner-occupied housing has long received favorable tax treatment in the U.S. federal income tax system relative to a system in which all income, regardless of its source, is subject to taxation. As a result, many economists have argued that the United States overinvests in owner-occupied housing relative to the investment that would result from a neutral income tax system. In addition, the distribution of the subsidy is often viewed as inequitable because high-income households receive the largest subsidy per dollar of housing. This article uses the 2005 American Housing Survey, conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to perform a microlevel analysis of the current magnitude and distribution of homeowner tax preferences. We then assess how the magnitude and distribution of tax preferences would be altered by replacement of the mortgage interest deduction with a 15% credit.
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