Money Monday: 6 Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Don’t miss out on the six ways that Uncle Sam makes owning a home more financially feasible.

Posted: 06/17/2013 08:00 AM EDT

Thinking about buying a home or unsure about the tax benefits on the property that you already own? Here are six tax breaks to discuss with your accountant or tax preparer.

Mortgage Interest Deduction. Homeowners who itemize their tax deductions can deduct the interest paid on a mortgage that carries a balance of up to $1 million. Taxpayers in all tax brackets qualify for this interest deduction, which can be particularly valuable during the first few years of homeownership (when the bulk of a monthly mortgage payment comprises interest).

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Deduction. When you purchase a home and make a down payment of less than 20 percent of the sales price, you’ll have to pay PMI on a monthly basis. If your mortgage was originated after Jan. 1, 2007, and if you’re paying PMI, then you may be able to deduct it. Note that this deduction phases out (10 percent per $1,000) for taxpayers whose adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) are between $100,000-$109,000, and that those taxpayers whose AGIs exceed that level do not qualify for the deduction.

Mortgage Points/Origination Deduction. The term "points" is used to describe certain charges paid to obtain a home mortgage. Points are prepaid interest and may be deductible as home mortgage interest, if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A. If you can deduct all of the interest on your mortgage, you may be able to deduct all of the points paid on the mortgage. If your loan exceeds $1 million or if your home equity debt exceeds $100,000, you cannot deduct all the interest on your mortgage and you cannot deduct all your points, according to the IRS. 

Property Tax Deductions. As a homeowner, if you itemize deductions on your tax return you’ll be able to deduct the amount of property tax that you pay to your local municipality for the year. Depending on where you live, this may be a significant deduction that you don’t want to overlook. To be deductible, the tax must be imposed on you and must have been paid during your tax year, according to the IRS.

The Homeowner Energy Efficiency Tax Credit. Homeowners who’ve completed residential energy efficiency projects over the past year, or are planning to complete one in 2013, are eligible for this one-time credit of up to $500. The energy efficiency tax credit applies to some types of water heaters, furnaces, insulation, windows, roofs, heat pumps, boilers and central air conditioning units.

Home Office Deduction. If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes. For taxable years starting on, or after, Jan. 1, 2013 (filed beginning in 2014), you can multiply a prescribed rate by the allowable square footage of the office (in lieu of determining actual expenses, such as mortgage costs, utilities and repair bills).

The IRS tax code is never easy to navigate, nor is it especially clear or straightforward. Be sure to use the links included in this article to learn more about the deductions covered here and always consult with a qualified tax professional to clear up any issues regarding taxes, payments, deductions and credits. 

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. The accuracy and completeness of this information is not guaranteed and is subject to change. Since each individual’s financial situation is unique, you need to review your financial objectives to determine which approaches might work best for you.

 

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