Unmarried people can ONLY file separately---you cannot file a joint return unless you are legally married. If you are both on the deed or mortgage then you can each enter the amounts of interest and property tax you paid on your own tax returns. It might not make any difference since it is so hard for people to have enough itemized deductions to exceed their standard deduction.
Go to Federal> Deductions and Credits> Your Home to enter mortgage interest, property taxes, private mortgage insurance (PMI) and loan origination fees (“points”) that you paid in 2020. You should have a 1098 from your mortgage lender that shows this information. Lenders send these in January/early February.
It is very hard for a lot of people to use itemized deductions now that the standard deduction is so much higher. Your home ownership may not have any effect on your tax due or refund, especially if you purchased the house late in the year.
Your itemized deductions have to be more than your standard deduction before you will see a change in your tax owed or tax refund. The deductions you enter do not necessarily count “dollar for dollar;” many of them are subject to meeting tough thresholds—medical expenses, for example, must meet a threshold that is pretty hard to reach. The software program uses all the IRS rules that apply to the expenses you enter, and it tells you if you have enough to use your itemized deductions or if using the standard deduction is more advantageous for you. Under the new tax laws, some deductions have been capped—there is a $10,000 limit to the itemized deductions for state, local, property and sales taxes.
2020 Standard Deduction Amounts
Single $12,400 (+ $1650 65 or older)
Married Filing Separate $12,400 (+ $1300 if 65 or older)
Married Filing Jointly $24,800 (+ $1300 for each spouse 65 or older)
Head of Household $18,650 (+ $1650 for 65 or older)
There is not a first time home buyers credit on a Federal return. That ended in 2010. If your state has such as credit, you will be able to enter it when you prepare your state return.
Buying a home is not a guarantee of a big refund. Your deductions for homeownership combined with your other deductions (if any) must exceed your standard deduction to change your tax due or refund. If you purchased your home late in the year, you do not even have a full year of home
Your closing costs on your new home are not deductible except for prepaid interest, prepaid property tax or loan origination fees. There are no deductions for appraisal, inspections, title searches, settlement fees. etc.
Your down payment is not deductible.
Your homeowners insurance for fire, hazard, flood, etc. is not deductible for your own home.
Home improvements, repairs, maintenance, etc. for your own home are not deductible.
The wise option is for only one person to claim all the deductions so that one person can itemize and the other use the standard deduction ... usually the person whose SS# is on the 1098 form will be better and have a less chance for the IRS to question it but it is not required. Or you will each claim what you actually paid if you are not paying out of a joint account for this matter.
Which is why they need to tax plan wisely so IF the IRS ever asks you can prove you made the payments ... opening a joint bank account where both parties can put their portion of the expenses is one way ... planning so one person pays the taxes and interest and the other pays for the insurance, utilities and repairs may be another.