I recently mailed out settlement statements to my clients who bought or sold homes in 2013, to help them prepare for tax filing. It got me thinking about the benefits of homeownership and how they apply to income tax. I’m not qualified to give you tax advice, that’s a job for your accountant or tax preparer, so here are just a few things worth talking to them about to reduce your taxes while enjoying homeownership.
Mortgage Interest Deduction
This is the big one. Since mortgage payments are mostly interest in the early years, the combined savings for American taxpayers is estimated at 100 million annually.
Home Improvement Loan Interest Deduction
Similar to above but with a catch—the money must be used for “capital improvements” like adding square footage or repairing damage from natural disasters. Common cosmetic improvements may not qualify.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Deduction
If you put less than 20% down when buying your home, you might be paying mortgage insurance, which can be deductible if your mortgage was originated after 1/1/2007.
Mortgage Points Interest Deduction
If you paid a percentage based fee to originate your purchase loan, you may be able to deduct the total of the points you paid in that same year.
Home Office Deduction
If you have space in your home that you use exclusively for business, you can deduct a portion of mortgage, utilities, and repairs. Rumor has it that this deduction can attract audits, so consult your accountant for advice on how to structure this.
Property Tax Deduction
A tax-deductible tax! You don’t have to pay income tax on money that is spent paying taxes.
Energy Efficient Upgrades Deduction
This is actually a credit, which reduces your total tax bill, for using energy efficient materials and appliances. Many items qualify, but the limits seem to change almost yearly. Get specific advice for the tax year.
Profit On Sale of Real Estate Deduction
This is about limiting your exposure to capital gains tax on the sale of your home that was a primary residence for at least 2 of the last 5 years. Individuals can claim profit of up to $250k, and married couples up to $500k— tax free!