Being a homeowner definitely has its advantages, and saving money on your taxes each year just might be at the top of the list. Make sure you're taking advantage of these common tax perks as a homeowner:
1. Mortgage Interest
One of the most common tax perks, you can deduct mortgage interest for your primary residence, and for a second home as long as you mean certain conditions.
2. Equity Loan Interest
If you have a line of credit or home equity loan, you may be able to deduct some of the interest within IRS limits.
3. Property Taxes or Real Estate Taxes
State or city property taxes are fully deductible from your income. Your mortgage lender may have required you to set up an escrow account, and in this case, you can only deduct escrow money held for property taxes when the funds are used to pay the property taxes. Keep in mind that if you receive a refund on city or state property taxes, this will reduce your federal deduction.
On your fee schedule from your lender, you'll probably notice some different charges. One charge is called, "points" and one point equals 1% of your loan principal. It's common for home loans to have 1-3 points and you can deduct all points associated with a home purchase mortgage. If you have refinanced loan points, you can also deduct these, but only over the life of the loan, and not all at one time. If you refinance, you can deduct the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new right away.
5. Costs Associated With Moving for Work
If you moved to a new home for a new job, you might be able to deduct some of your moving expenses. There are some stipulations to qualification, like your new job has to be at least 50 miles away farther from your old home than your previous job was. Some of the moving expenses you might be able to deduct include costs for storage, transportation, and lodging.
6. Home Improvement Loan Interest
If you've completed some home improvements that are considered a "capital improvement" and took out a loan to cover the upgrades, you can deduct the interest on it, with no upper dollar limit. The home improvements can't be for ordinary repairs like drywall repair, painting, fixing gutters or patching a roof--they need to be renovations that contribute to increasing the property value of your home. Items such as a new roof, pool, a garage, addition, landscaping, or insulation would all likely qualify.
7. Home Office Deduction
If you work from home and have a dedicated home office that you use exclusively for your work, you may be able to deduct a portion of your home costs such as a percentage of depreciation and insurance.
8. Selling Costs
If you sell your home, you might be able to reduce your taxable capital gain by the amount of your associated selling costs. Some of the selling costs that you can deduct from your profit include legal fees, inspection costs, title insurance, broker's commissions, and title insurance.
9. Capital Gains Exclusion
If you're married, file taxes jointly, and sell your home, you can keep up to $500,000 in profit on the sale of a home as long as it was your principal residence for at least 2 of the past 5 years. Married couples filing separately, as well as singles, can keep up to $250,000 each, tax-free.
10. Buying a Home for the First Time
If you're a first-time homeowner, you might be able to withdraw up to $10,000 from a traditional IRA without a penalty to help cover the costs of purchasing a home.
Work with a tax professional to help maximize all the tax breaks for your unique situation. Need a recommendation for a tax professional or have questions?