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Can Unreimbursed Business Expenses Affect Your USDA Loan Qualifying?

October 9th, 2015 by Sean Stephens

Commonly known as a 2106 unreimbursed business expensesexpense, due to the associated IRS tax form, this is a frequent question and one that can have a major impact on the USDA loan qualifying process. As a quick reminder, today’s topic relates strictly to the mortgage qualifying process and not about tax advice.  If you have any questions about eligible deductions, please consult your tax professional.

So, how can unreimbursed business expenses affect your USDA loan qualifying?

Per the IRS: Generally, you can deduct on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 21, unreimbursed employee expenses that are:

  • Paid or incurred during your tax year,
  • For carrying on your trade or business of being an employee, and
  • Ordinary and necessary.

“An expense is ordinary if it is common and accepted in your trade, business, or profession.  An expense is necessary if it is appropriate and helpful to your business.  An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.”

Unreimbursed business expenses affect your USDA loan qualifying in two different ways.

  • First off, depending on the type of expense claimed for the deduction, it can reduce the income calculated for loan qualifying, otherwise known as repayment income, thus lowering the eligible loan size or sales price a homebuyer can qualify for
  • However, in the case of a USDA loan, we also have to consider county income limit calculations

These same 2106 expenses can also be deducted from that, to help reduce the annual income calculation. I know it sounds complicated so let’s review the following example to help illustrate:

  • unreimbursed business expensesThe potential homebuyer claimed $6,000 in unreimbursed business expenses related to uniforms, meals, travel, and education that were all work related
  • Pay Stubs & W2 forms in the file support  a salary of $80,000 per year, which was also their annual income
  • The USDA income limit for their household size is $75,650
  • The unreimbursed business expenses are reviewed and then DEDUCTED from the income used to qualify for the loan, but
  • Also deducted from the annual income, bringing this income calculation back in line and now eligible!
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