Real Estate Tax Breaks For Your Home

It is always beneficial during tax season to own real estate, which gives you many annual deductions. If you purchased residential real estate during this year, however, you can look forward to even more generous savings at tax time.

Mortgage Interest
Though there are several real estate deductions you will be able to take this tax year, the largest is the interest you paid on your mortgage. According to Kiplinger’s (August 31, 2006), you may write off up to $1 million in mortgage interest for your primary or secondary home (does not apply to third home real estate, unless it is a business or rental property). This can be an enormous tax savings, especially within the first years of ownership with most of your monthly payments going to interest.

Property Taxes
Each year, you may deduct the property taxes you paid. If you recently purchased your home real estate, you also may deduct any taxes the seller paid in advance that were applied to your property tax debt. This applies even if you did not reimburse the seller for these real estate taxes.

Points Paid for Mortgage
Even if the seller paid your points, you may deduct them on your tax return within the year of purchase of the real estate. Each point is worth one percent of the real estate mortgage. For a loan principal of $250,000, you may deduct $2,500 for each point. For a loan face value of $500,000, you may deduct $5,000 per point.

If you refinanced your real estate, you also may deduct these points paid. However, the deduction must be spread over the life of the loan. If you sell the real estate or pay off the loan early, then the remaining deduction may be taken within the year of sale or loan payoff.

Home Equity Debt
You are allowed to deduct up to $100,000 of home equity debt each year, regardless for what you used the money. This makes home equity loans low-interest alternatives for purchasing cars, paying student tuition, underwriting your dream vacation, and so on.

Home Business Use Deductions
If you run a business out of your home or use the real estate for business purposes, such as rental property, you have many deductions for the use of this space. For home offices, the percentage of space you actually use may incur the same percentage in deductions for mortgage payments, utilities and home insurance. Improvements made to accommodate the business, such as bringing the real estate up to standard as rental property or installing a private bathroom when renting out a room, may qualify for a deduction against your profits.

Property Damage
If you incurred uninsured real estate damage due to a qualifying disaster (especially within a presidential declared disaster area), you may qualify for a tax deduction. There are limitations, however, and the deduction generally must be taken within the year the disaster occurred.

What You Cannot Deduct
If you recently purchased or sold real estate, you incurred many costs but not all may be deducted from your taxes. Examples of nondeductible expenses are closing costs, major home improvements to attain a higher sales price, title insurance, appraisal and inspection fees, or attorney fees.

Don’t forget, deductions that lower your federal tax debt also decrease your state tax obligation! As with all financial advice, always check with a qualified accounting professional.

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