Thinking of Buying
As a US taxpayer, if you own a property abroad and pay the principal on your foreign mortgage, you may still be subject to taxation on any gains earned from the property. This can include rental income or gains from the sale of the property.
The tax laws and regulations for foreign property ownership can be complex, but in general, you may be able to deduct the interest paid on your foreign mortgage, which could lower your taxable income. However, if you sell the property for a gain, you may be subject to capital gains tax, which could include gains from the mortgage principal payments.
Foreign Currency Gains
Internal Revenue Code Section 988 is a tax law provision that deals with the taxation of foreign currency transactions. This section applies to individuals, businesses, and corporations that engage in transactions involving foreign currency, including foreign currency contracts and forward contracts.
There are two different types of foreign currency transactions that are covered by Section 988: those that are related to business activities and those that are not. For business-related transactions, the gains and losses are included in the net income or loss of the business and are subject to the usual rules for calculating business income or loss. For non-business transactions, such as personal foreign currency transactions, the gains and losses are treated as capital gains or losses.
There are some exceptions and special rules that apply under Section 988. For example, there is a de minimis exception for gains or losses of $200 or less, and there are specific rules for hedging transactions and transactions with related parties.
Your Mortgage Repayments
If you pay interest on the foreign mortgage, you may be able to deduct that interest as an expense on your US tax return. However, any gains or losses related to the foreign currency used to pay the mortgage principal will be subject to Section 988 rules. For example, if you pay a foreign mortgage in Euros, and the exchange rate between the Euro and the US dollar changes, any gains or losses resulting from that change will be treated as ordinary income or loss and taxed at the ordinary income tax rates. Losses are not deductible.
Don’t plan to fail
It’s important to note that Section 988 applies to all types of foreign currency transactions, not just those related to mortgages. As such, taxpayers need to be aware of the potential tax implications of foreign currency transactions, including any gains or losses resulting from currency fluctuations.
The taxation of foreign mortgage gains will depend on the specific tax laws and regulations of the country where the property is located, as well as any tax treaties that may be in place between that country and the US. It’s recommended that you consult with a tax professional or accountant who is familiar with both US and foreign tax laws to ensure that you are in compliance with all relevant tax laws and regulations.
In addition to potential taxation on foreign mortgage gains, as a US taxpayer, you may also be required to report any foreign income or assets on your US tax return, regardless of whether or not they are subject to taxation. This includes reporting foreign bank accounts, investments, real estate, and any income earned from those assets.