Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Tax Credit Program Overview
- MCC Program Overview
- Review our Mortgage Tax Deduction Overview
- MCC Program Example
Assumptions Mortgage Amount $250,000 Interest Rate 4.0% First Year Mortgage Interest $10,000 MCC Credit (%) 25% MCC Credit ($) $2,500 No MCC With MCC Taxable Income $50,000 $50,000 Mortgage Interest Deduction 10,000 7,500 Taxable Income After Deduction $40,000 42,500 Federal Tax Bill (@ 15% Bracket) $6,000 6,375 Less MCC Credit NA 2,500 Federal Taxes Owed $6,000 $3,875 Tax Savings from MCC Program $2,125
- The MCC Program, Debt-to-Income Ratios and Mortgage Affordability
- Use our LENDER QUALIFICATION CALCULATOR to understand how mortgage debt-to-income ratios apply to you
- Example: How the MCC Program Enables You to Qualify for a Larger Mortgage
No MCC With MCC Borrower Monthly Gross Income $3,500 $3,500 Amount Borrower Can Spend on Monthly Housing Expense and Debt 1,505 1,505 - Borrower Monthly Debt 300 300 + Monthly MCC Tax Credit Benefit ($1,750 Annual Credit / 12) NA 145 Amount Borrower Can Spend on Monthly Housing Expense 1,205 1,350 Mortgage Amount Borrower Can Afford $186,000 $214,000 Difference with MCC Program $28,000
- FREEandCLEAR recommends that you consult your local housing commission and lender to determine the mortgage and home you can afford using the MCC Program
- MCC Program Eligibility
- Use the FREEANDCLEAR LENDER DIRECTORY to find lenders in your state that offer low down payment mortgage programs
- Click STATE PROGRAMS to contact your local housing commission and learn more about the MCC program
- Related FREEandCLEAR Resources
The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program provides qualified borrowers a federal income tax credit based on a percentage of their annual mortgage interest expense. The MCC tax credit reduces the borrower's federal income taxes which improves your ability to qualify for a mortgage. The amount of the tax credit ranges from 15% to 50% of annual interest expense depending on the borrower's city and state, gross income level and if the property is located in a federally designated targeted area. Lower income individuals and individuals purchasing properties in targeted areas are eligible to receive the higher MCC. Please note that some MCC programs cap the amount of tax credit that borrowers can receive.
MCC programs are administered by state and local housing commissions or agencies in conjunction with participating lenders. Borrowers apply for the MCC program through their local housing commission and apply for their mortgage with traditional lenders such as a bank, mortgage bank or mortgage broker. The MCC program requires the lender to prepare an MCC application, which requires additional work on the part of the lender. Some lenders may not want to do the additional work. If you have any issues with uncooperative lenders you should report them to your housing commission. It is your right to be able to be able to access the MCC program.
Depending on your tax bracket, a tax credit is typically better than a tax deduction because it reduces the borrower's tax bill on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For example, a borrower with a $10,000 federal tax bill and $2,500 MCC tax credit only pays $7,500 in federal taxes. Like any other mortgage, the borrower can deduct the portion of annual interest expense that is not covered by the MCC from his or her income gross income for federal income tax purposes, which provides an additional tax benefit.
Participating borrowers receive the MCC tax credit for the life of the mortgage as long as they occupy the property as their principal residence. You do not need to re-apply for the MCC after you have received it and your mortgage closes. Please note that borrowers may be subject to recapture tax if they sell the property for a profit within nine years, which basically means the borrower has to pay back some of the benefit they received from the tax credit. Payment of the recapture tax depends on the borrower's gross income for the year in which the property is sold.
The example below compares a mortgage without an MCC tax credit to a mortgage with an MCC credit and demonstrates how the MCC Program reduces a borrower's federal taxes. The example assumes the borrower has a $250,000 mortgage with a 4.00% interest rate which means the borrower pays approximately $10,000 in interest expense for the first year of the mortgage. In the case where the borrower receives an MCC tax credit, the example assumes a 25% MCC which means the borrower receives a $2,500 credit ($10,000 in interest expense * 25%) that is subtracted from his or her federal tax bill. The remaining $7,500 in interest expense is deductible against the borrower's gross income. As illustrated by the example, the borrower saves $2,125 in federal taxes by using the MCC Program. Please note that the example below outlines one scenario and the tax benefits of the MCC Program vary depending on the interest rate, MCC rate, possible limits on the MCC credit amount and your tax bracket.
Borrowers should consider reducing their federal income tax withholding to account for the benefit of the MCC tax credit. Reducing your tax withholding enables you to increase your net income or take-home pay. FREEandCLEAR highly recommends that borrowers consult a tax specialist to ensure that any changes to your tax withholding are done correctly.
One of the main benefits of the MCC program is that the tax credit is deducted from your total monthly housing expense (mortgage payment plus property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance and other applicable housing-related expenses) to calculate your debt-to-income ratio which is used to determine what size mortgage you can afford. A debt-to-income ratio represents the maximum acceptable percentage of a borrower's monthly gross income that can be spent on total monthly housing expense (MHE) plus other monthly debts such as credit card, auto and student loans.
Most lenders apply a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43% - 50% to determine what size mortgage borrowers qualify for which means you can spend 43% - 50% of your monthly gross income on total housing expense plus other debt. With the MCC program, lenders subtract the tax credit from your monthly housing expense which reduces your debt-to-income ratio. A lower debt-to-income ratio is positive because it enables you to qualify for a larger mortgage amount.
The example below demonstrates how the MCC program enables borrowers to qualify for a larger mortgage amount. The example uses a borrower with $3,500 in monthly gross income and $300 in monthly debt and applies a 43% debt-to-income ratio to determine what size mortgage the borrower can afford. In this example, the borrower can afford a $214,000 mortgage with the MCC tax credit as compared to a $186,000 mortgage without the MCC credit. This is because the $1,750 MCC tax credit (20% of interest expense) offsets the borrowers's total housing expense by $145 per month, which enables the borrower to afford the larger mortgage.
Assumes 20% MCC tax credit. Based on 43% debt-to-income ratio and 30 year fixed rate mortgage with a 4.00% interest rate. Figures are rounded.
Please note that the mortgage amount you can afford using the MCC program varies depending on the interest rate, MCC credit, debt-to-income ratio, borrower qualification guidelines as well as other potentially applicable housing expenses such as mortgage insurance and homeowners association (HOA) fees. Additionally, to home buyers are required to pay for the down payment, closing costs and potentially maintain savings in reserve after the purchase closes, which can be significant expenses. Although the MCC Program makes buying a home more affordable, what price home you can afford depends on your ability to qualify for a mortgage and pay for these other costs.
The borrower must meet credit score, income and mortgage requirements of the lender and complete a HUD-certified homebuyer education course prior to loan closing. The borrower must be a first-time homebuyer (no ownership in a principal residence within the last three years) and occupy the home as a principal residence. Exceptions to the first-time home-buyer requirement include if the property is located in a federally designated targeted area and if the borrower is a qualified veteran under the Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008. The MCC applies to purchases of single family properties including detached homes, condominiums or townhouses. FHA, VA or conventional loans with fixed or adjustable rates are eligible for the MCC program.
The borrower's gross income must be below the MCC program maximum household income limits. Maximum household gross income is defined as a percentage of the area median income (AMI) with the income limit varying depending on the number of people in the borrower's household. For a typical MCC program, an eligible borrower can have a maximum household gross income of 140% of the area median income although borrowers with lower incomes (~80% or less of the area median income) qualify for higher MCC tax credits.
The sales price of the property must be less than the allowable maximum purchase price in the county in which you are purchasing the property. The maximum property purchase price varies depending on if the property is in a federally designated targeted area, with properties in targeted areas having the highest maximum purchase price limit. Properties located in targeted areas are also eligible for the higher MCC amount.
The income and purchase price limits vary by county so contact your state or local housing agency or commission to determine the details of the MCC program available to you.