Time is running out to boost to your 2011 federal tax refund. All you have to do is make your January 2012 mortgage payment while it's still December.
It's a simple tax strategy that works because of how mortgage interest is paid, and of how the U.S. tax code is written.
Different from rent which is paid for the month ahead (i.e. "you're paying January's rent"), mortgage payments are made only after mortgage interest has accrued (i.e. "you're paying for money you've already borrowed from the bank").
This is called "paying interest in arrears" and U.S. tax code states that the mortgage interest is tax-deductible in its year paid, subject to limitations.
By making the January 2012 mortgage payment in December 2011, therefore, homeowners who itemize…