Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best: “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” When tax time rolls around each year, many homeowners find themselves wondering which expenses they can claim for tax breaks. Luckily, there are many tax deductions for homeowners that could amount to several thousand dollars.
Read on to learn more about homeowner tax deductions, how to use them, and whether they might be a way for you to lower your tax bill.
Standard vs. Itemized Deductions
Before exploring which expenses are deductible, it only makes sense to talk about standard versus itemized deductions. Both types of deductions can lower the amount you owe in taxes, but they work in different ways.
The Internal Revenue Service sets a standard deduction available to everyone who files taxes each year. The standard deduction breakdown for 2022 is as follows:
Single and married filing separately: $12,950 (up from $12,550 in 2021)
Married filing jointly and surviving spouses: $25,900 (up from $25,100 in 2021)
Heads of household: $19,400 (up from $18,800 in 2021)
The standard deduction is the simplest way to reduce your taxable income on your tax return each year. Rather than tracking expenses, saving receipts, and completing additional tax forms, you can claim a flat dollar amount on your return, as defined by your taxpayer status.
Of course, you can also track and itemize your qualifying deductions and claim this amount. If you are considering taking advantage of any homeowner tax deductions, make sure the total amount of your itemized deductions is larger than the current year’s standard deduction. Otherwise, it makes more sense financially to take advantage of the standard tax deduction.
8 Tax Benefits for Homeowners
The IRS has specific rules about the tax breaks available to homeowners. Let’s take a closer look at eight tax breaks you should know about if you own a home:
Mortgage interest. If you pay a mortgage on your home, you can take advantage of the mortgage interest tax deduction. Previously, homeowners were allowed to deduct the interest paid during the tax year on the first $1 million of their mortgage debt for a primary residence. However, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limited this deduction to $750,000 for single filers or married couples filing jointly. If you are married but filing separately, the deduction limit is now $375,000 for each party. Read IRS Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction to learn more.
Home equity loan interest. A home equity loan is a lump sum that you borrow against the equity you’ve built in your home. If you used these funds to pay for a home renovation, you may be able to deduct the interest paid during the tax year.
Discount points. If you purchased discount points to lower the interest rate on your mortgage, you could deduct the cost of discount points. However, keep in mind that loan origination points are not tax-deductible, as these fees don’t affect the interest rate of your mortgage loan.
Property taxes. As a homeowner, you pay property taxes at both a state and local level. As a married couple filing jointly, you can deduct up to $10,000 of your property taxes. If you are single or filing separately, you can deduct up to $5,000 in property taxes.
Necessary home improvements. The trick here is what qualifies as “necessary.” If you choose to upgrade a fully functional kitchen or bathroom, that may not be eligible. However, if you made permanent changes to your home to make it more accessible or for medical reasons, such as installing a ramp or widening doorways or hallways, these home improvements could qualify.
Home office expenses. If you work from home, you may deduct your home office expenses of maintaining an office space. The size of the deduction is based on the percentage of your home that is dedicated to your office space. The IRS requires that you use your home office regularly and exclusively for business purposes to qualify for the deduction.
Mortgage insurance. Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, is an expense paid to the lender by many homeowners to help offset the risk of possible mortgage default. Your PMI payments can be deducted on a tax return each year.
Capital gains. Capital gain tax comes into play anytime you sell a home for a profit. It is determined by calculating the difference between the original purchase price and the amount you sold the home for. If you used the home as your primary residence for at least 2 of the last 5 years, you may be allowed to keep some of the profits without any tax obligations. As a married couple filing jointly, you can keep up to $500,000 in capital gains without a tax obligation. If you are a single filer or filing separately, each party can keep up to $250,000 tax-free capital gains.
Are There Any Homeowner Expenses That Are Not Deductible?
Some expenses do not qualify as tax deductions. These types of costs include:
Homeowners insurance premiums
Your mortgage principal
The cost of utilities, such as electricity, gas, or water
Homeowner association fees
Transfer taxes or stamp taxes
Forfeited deposits, down payments, or earnest money
As a homeowner, you can’t deduct all of the expenses related to your home. If you have any questions about what is deductible and what is not, it is always best to consult with your tax professional.
If you’re ready to take the leap to homeownership, take the next step and get in touch with a Reali expert today.
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