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Tax Q & A

Tax Questions Answered by Your San Francisco Tax accountant

September 2017

Mortgage Interest|Check Refund from overseas|Bogus IRS calls|Married non-resident

Home mortgage interest

Question: My dad bought a house for me and paid the downpayment. Since my credit is not good enough, the loan is under his name. However, I am living there and making all the mortgage payments. Can I deduct the mortgage interest?


Answer: IRS regulation states that even you are not directly liable for the debt, if you are considered as an equitable owner, you can deduct the interest. State law governs what constitutes equitable ownership but generally, it's someone who assumes the benefit (living in the house) and liability(paying and maintaining the house) of the ownership like you do. Therefore, you should be able to deduct the mortgage interest.

Check Refund from Overseas 

Question:  I am US citizen living overseas. I received a notice from the IRS  informing me that I was due a refund check.  But after one month, there is still no check. What should I do? 

Answer: To check the status of your refund, go to Where’s My Refund. If after 45 days of stated mailing date, call the International Call Center 267-941-1000. 

Bogus IRS Emails/calls

Question: I have received multiple phone calls saying that I owe IRS money and they sent certified letters to me but they were undeliverable. They demand money to be paid right away using a wire transfer.   I am very worried. What should I do?



Answer: The message sounds like a scam to me. The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.  All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties. IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.


If you are not sure you owe money or not, you can go to IRS website: to check for yourself. If you do owe money, Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to get the payment option. 


Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.  Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.

My wife is a non-resident, how to file our taxes?

Layoff,divorce and home sale exclusion

Question: I just got married to a British girl and we both are still living and working in England. We plan to move back to the States next year. What do I do with our taxes? 



Answer: You have two choices:

Married Filing Jointly –File a joint return, you must include and pay U.S. taxes on the worldwide income of both of you. Therefore, you will need to include your wife's income from the UK on the tax return. However, you can also include the income tax paid by her in the UK as a tax credit to avoid double taxation.

Married Filing Separately – You can file a married separate return without the income of your wife and pays U.S. taxes on only your worldwide income.


Once your wife obtains a green card or live in the US and meet a “substantial presence test” that is based on time spent in the U.S, she is considered as U.S. Resident alien for tax purpose. A resident alien is treated the same as a U.S. citizen and is taxed on worldwide income.

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Circular 230:The articles are for general information only. In accordance with IRS Circular 230 they are not considered tax opinions for purposes of relying on such statements in any challenge of the reporting of the above transaction by the IRS. If a full tax opinion is required certain procedures must be met . Also there is a significant cost for a full tax opinion to meet the requirements of Circular 230.

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