Don’t miss any 2013 tax breaks available to home owners

This is a re-post of an article by Tom Kalinski on Thursday, March 13th, 2014. The full article can be found here

Don’t miss any 2013 tax breaks available to home owners

Tax season is upon us but, before filing those returns, make sure that they include any and all benefits available for home owners.

Bradley K. Tuttle’s Real Estate Update offers these tips for maximizing deductions as they relate to owning a home, so gather all paperwork pertaining to your home and get ready to find deductible expenses. For those who didn’t keep good records last year, now is the time to start: it’ll pay off in 2015 when tax time returns.

  •  The biggest savings comes in the form of the mortgage-interest deduction; especially in the early years of a loan, it can save the most money. Home owners can claim it on both and secondary homes, granted that a home is valued at less than $1 million and the tax return is itemized.
  •  Property taxes are deductible for as long as the home is owned and can be included as an itemized expense on the Federal tax return.
  •  Improving a home, such as adding a room, installing a new roof or general improvements to increase the home’s value, can reduce tax liability. Find all paid invoices pertaining to remodeling or improvement projects to include on your tax return.
  •  Home owners who have installed energy-efficiency appliances or upgrades can offset their tax bill to the IRS, dollar-for-dollar for up to 10 percent of the amount that they spent on specific home energy-efficiency upgrades, such as energy-efficient water heaters or insulation. The cap on this deduction is a mere $500, though sometimes it’s less, and it may disappear after this round of income tax returns is complete.

As more people work from home, the home business office is not only convenient but also a tax write-off. A new 2013 tax deduction allows homeowners who have a business office in their house to claim $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet (a simpler formula than previous tax years). So an 8-foot-by-10-foot home office can save the homeowner $400.

To make sure you’re taking advantage of all home ownership tax breaks, compile all of the home’s documents and receipts from the previous year and take them to your tax accountant. If you’re not sure what qualifies, your accountant will.

Also, the IRS’s Publication 17 is a 292-page guide contains thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly get answers to their questions regarding their 2013 tax returns. Other publications which may help include: No. 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer;” No. 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses;” No. 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals;” No. 523, “Selling Your Home;” and No. 530, “Tax Information for First Time Homebuyers.”

A complete list can be found at www.irs.gov. Click on Forms and Publications.

 

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