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Purchasing a home brings about significant changes in your life. It grants you more freedom, ample space, and, sometimes, additional funds to indulge in your passions. You can garden, dabble in home improvement, or expand your music collection. It’s because buying, selling, renovating, or owning a home entitles you to various tax benefits.
Exciting, isn't it? Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or not, clearly understanding the home-buying process saves you money and allows you to report your income accurately. The same principle applies when understanding how various home loan products impact your taxes. Here's all the essential information you need to know.
Top Tax Benefits Associated With Home Ownership
Numerous tax benefits are associated with purchasing a home, but it's essential to comprehend them thoroughly to make a financially advantageous decision. Let’s examine the various deductions and benefits available.
You can deduct the interest on a new mortgage from your federal income tax return this year. However, there are some restrictions to consider. For instance, the mortgage amount must be below $1 million. This amount should have been used to finance your primary residence or another eligible home. Consequently, if you own multiple properties, you can only claim this tax deduction for some of them.
Navigating mortgage tax can be complex, given the many specific requirements. If you have any inquiries, it's advisable to seek advice from a tax professional or accounting expert. You can also use a mortgage calculator to better understand what you owe. These two steps can help you manage your taxes and real estate payments more efficiently.
Typically, first-time homebuyers or individuals with an annual income below a specific threshold are eligible for a mortgage interest credit. This benefit results in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their tax liability.
The IRS specifies that you must possess a mortgage credit certificate to qualify for this credit. If you have inquiries regarding this process, reach out to your state government to get the necessary certificate.
When itemizing your deductions, you can claim the mortgage interest on your federal income tax return, depending on the affordability of your home. Not all paid interest is deductible. However, as long as the mortgage amount doesn’t go beyond $750,000, the interest will likely qualify as a tax deduction.
You may have already realized that obtaining a mortgage comes with associated costs, such as contract-making, property appraisal, and lender fees. The good news is that most of these expenses can be deducted from your federal tax return. Additionally, certain closing costs may also qualify for deductions.
Depending on your situation, you can deduct the entire lump sum of your mortgage points in the tax year when you obtain the mortgage. Alternatively, you might need to spread the deduction of some points over the loan's lifespan.
It's best to seek guidance from a tax professional to know the most suitable approach for deducting these points from your federal tax return.
Another advantage of having a mortgage is mortgage insurance. One frequently asked question by lenders and tax professionals is whether mortgage insurance is tax-deductible.
Technically, the answer is yes, but it might only be for a little longer. The tax benefit allowing homeowners to deduct private mortgage insurance and similar premiums ended in 2017. However, in 2019, Congress extended this tax provision through 2021. As of now, the guidelines for the 2023 tax have yet to be determined.
Unless there's another extension, 2022 will likely be the last year for homeowners to claim a deduction for mortgage insurance on their taxes.
Paid interest on home equity debts
You can still claim the interest paid on home equity debt if the funds are utilized to "substantially improve, build, or buy a taxpayer's home securing the principal loan." However, the equity used for this purpose can be, at most, the cost of the home.
On the other hand, if you use home equity debt to pay off other loans, credit card debt, or to purchase a second home, you cannot claim it as a deduction on your taxes.
Home improvements that enhance the value of your home can also be eligible for deductions. However, it can be challenging since repairs that maintain the home's integrity generally cannot be claimed on your federal tax return.
Specific qualifying home improvements include:
- Adding an extension to your home
- Creating a recreation room in an unfinished basement
- Erecting a fence
- Installing a central air conditioning system
- Installing new wiring or plumbing systems
- Paving the driveway
- Replacing the entire roof
- Rewiring your home
The costs associated with these improvements, including expenses related to surveying and labor, can be included in your deduction.
Expenses for home office
For self-employed individuals or those working remotely from their homes, there are opportunities to deduct certain expenses. To simplify the process for qualified taxpayers, the IRS allows them to multiply the standard rate by the authorized office square footage instead of calculating the actual expenses.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use the previous method for deductions, you will need to keep track of the actual expenses related to your home office. These expenses may encompass mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation.
In any case, it is crucial to substantiate that you use your home as your principal place of business and that you regularly and exclusively use a portion of your home for business purposes.
Manage Your Mortgage by Maximizing Your Tax Benefits
Some say buying a house is a dead investment since there's no return on investment. However, this isn't true when you consider these tax benefits. To maximize the advantages, it's best to educate yourself on the subject. Better yet, consult an accountant who can explain and assist you in applying these offsets.
Pro Tip: Please refer to a few investment newsletters for more tax benefits and investment options.