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Hands on a ClockApril 15th is sneaking up on us day by day. That means it’s time to start gathering your tax documents now!

Just remember that being a homeowner qualifies you for certain tax breaks. You will need to itemize your taxes to be able to grab these deductions and take advantages of them. This means you’ll need to take some extra time with your taxes but it will be worth it in the end.

Let’s take a look at some of the tax breaks we’re talking about:

Mortgage interest paid at settlement

Let’s take a closer look at your closing statement. An item that’s generally listed there is home mortgage interest. On a mortgage of up to $1 million, you can deduct the interest that you pay at settlement if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This amount should be included in the mortgage interest statement provided by your lender.

Property taxes

As long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property, you can deduct your state and local property taxes. However, if your money is being held in escrow for the purpose of paying property taxes, you cannot claim this deduction until the money is actually taken out of escrow and paid. If you do this, check your Form 1098 for the amount you may deduct. Be aware that if you receive a partial refund of your property tax, the amount of the deduction you can claim will be reduced.

Selling costs

If you sold a home in the past year, you may be able to reduce your income tax by the amount of your selling costs. These costs can include things such as repairs, title insurance, advertising expenses and broker’s fees. The IRS only allows the deduction of repair costs associated with selling if the repairs were made within 90 days of the sale. It’s also crucial that the repairs were made with the intent of improving your home’s marketability. Selling costs are deducted from your gain on the sale.

Home office

If you use a portion of your home exclusively for the purpose of an office for your small business, you may be able to claim a deduction on your taxes for costs related to insurance, repairs and depreciation. You may only claim this deduction if the space within your home is used exclusively and regularly as either your principal place of business or a place where you meet and deal with customers or patients. You may also be able to take advantage of this deduction if a portion of your home routinely is used for storing items (product samples, inventory, etc.) used in your business.

Mortgage insurance premiums

You may be able to deduct the premiums paid for private mortgage insurance for your principal residence and for a non-rental second home.

The deduction begins to phase out once your adjusted gross income reaches $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately). You can deduct the premiums paid for the current tax year only. A qualified tax professional can provide information about rules for mortgage insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Rural Housing Service.

Home improvement loan interest

If you’ve taken out a loan to make improvements on your home, you may be able to deduct the interest on this loan. Qualifying loans are those taken out to add “capital improvements” to your home, meaning the improvement must increase your home’s value, adapt it to new uses or extend its life. New carpeting or painting are not considered capital improvements, while adding a garage, installing a water heater or building a deck are all examples of capital improvements.

Construction loan interest

If you take out a construction loan to build a home, you may qualify to deduct the interest. The IRS only allows a deduction for mortgage interest if the loan relates to a “qualified” home, which means it must either be your principal residence or a vacation home that you will use for personal purposes. You can only use this deduction for the first 24 months of the loan, even if the actual construction takes longer.

Tax codes can be really confusing. You may want to head on over to the IRS website for information concerning deductions and credits. As always, consider meeting with a tax professional to ensure you’re not missing out on any deductions for which you qualify.


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Evelyn Bruder
Evelyn Bruder Las Cruces Real Estate Dream Team
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