Why Isn’t Rent Tax Deductible Like Home Mortgage Interest?

The short answer is Lobbying. Federal and state income tax laws in the United States give homeowners a huge tax break that is not available to tenants. Home mortgage interest, which is generally the biggest single expense for homeowners, is tax-deductible. However, rent is not tax-deductible. In other words, homeowners get to pay their mortgages with pre-tax income, but tenants have to pay their rent with after-tax income. Why is that? Well, it is simply the power of lobbying. There are very powerful and well-funded trade associations that want home mortgage interest to remain tax-deductible, including the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders. These groups have the ability to write out checks for millions of dollars to PACs (Political Action Committees) and Super PACs that back compliant and ‘morally flexible’ politicians. Tenant associations don’t have that kind of money. It now costs over $10 million, on average, to get elected to the U.S. Senate. In most industrialized nations, home mortgage interest is not tax deductible. For example, in Canada, there is no tax benefit or deduction for home mortgage interest. Why? It is because they also don’t have Political Action Committees in Canada, and lobbyists in Canada cannot legally give money to politicians.