When people ask me about my career in the mortgage business as an underwriter, the questions comes up “well what do you actually do?”.  The best way I can describe the job is “jack of many trades, but master of none”! While working as an underwriter you learn to become good at topics such as title work, condo HOA’s, multiple forms of assets, basic CPA skills, and tax returns just to name a few.

Today’s blog is how my “partial CPA knowledge” in the area of reading and understanding tax returns helps in underwriting. Full disclaimer, I am not a CPA, and only play one on TV, so consult a real CPA if you have questions from a tax standpoint on this topic!

One of the biggest changes people will notice this year on their tax returns is that the standard deduction has basically doubled for most categories.  Instead of my basic understanding here is a blog that better explains the standard deduction , credit to “The Balance” for this information  BLOG HERE

For years underwriters have been required to consider and deduct unreimbursed business expenses from the borrower’s income. Depending on which agency and year we are talking about this income reduction was applied to borrowers with qualifying income that was commission based of 25% or greater, or for any borrower claiming URBE’s which was the case on older guidelines for conventional and government-based loans.  Of course, lowering a borrowers income would either increase the risk of a DTI decline OR actually decline a borrower due to DTI issues.  I can personally tell you have I have seen deductions of $1,000- $3,000 per month of income due to the URBE’s, which resulted in declines.

One of the “trade offs” made by the government doubling the standard deduction was removing the ability for an employee to right off unreimbursed expenses (among other items).  Due to this discontinuation of this tax policy, Fannie Mae in SEL 2018-09 dated 12/04/2018 has removed the requirement to deduct URBE’s from the borrower income.

At this time we do not see any other agencies change their policy about URBE’s, but I would expect that to change since this tax concept is now “expired”.

That is all for this week, until next time.