Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

An image of pennies on a wooden backdrop to depict the tax benefits of owning a home.

If you own your home you might not be aware of some of the benefits that come along with it. Of course there is the increased satisfaction of home ownership. We know that we appreciate the benefits of owning our own space.  We can paint the walls the colors that we like.  Decorating choices are are our own. When we want to make improvements like new carpet or hardwood instead of carpet the choice is ours. There is also the benefit of appreciation that we get the benefit of when it is time to sell. But what are the tax benefits of owning vs. renting? This week we wanted to highlight the tax benefits of owning a home. Here are seven that you should remember come tax time!

Mortgage Interest Deduction

The number one benefit of owning is that you are able to deduct the mortgage interest at tax time. The more recent your mortgage the greater your tax savings.  This deduction is itemized.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Property Taxes

Another benefit is that you are able to deduct your property taxes. Taxes are built in to most people’s monthly mortgage payment so you may not even know how much you are paying in taxes.  You will be receiving a statement at the end of the year that will tell you and this amount can be written off.

Mortgage Insurance

Did you know that your private mortgage insurance is also tax deductible?  It is!  If you were not able to put down 20% when you purchased your home you are paying PMI or private mortgage insurance. That amount can be tax deductible.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Energy Efficiency

Have you made any energy efficient upgrades to your home?  You can receive a tax credit for solar electric and solar water-heating equipment.

Work From Home

Many of us have had to work from home at points during the last several years. If working from home is a requirement for your job you may be able to deduct for a home office.  That deduction can be as much as $5 per square foot up to 300 square feet or office space.  If you are a W-2 employee, sorry you can not use this deduction.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Home Improvements

Many of us are trying to decide if we are better off buying a place that fits our needs long term, as we age or if we are best staying where we are and making changes so that our current home works for us.  Did you know that home improvements that are done to help you age in place may be tax deductible.  The total cost must exceed 7.5 % of your adjusted gross income.  You must also prove that the changes were medically necessary with a letter from your doctor.

Home Equity Line of Credit

Another deduction to consider is the interest on a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Interest is deductible only if used to buy, build or improve the property.

As a home owner these are the tax benefits of owning a home for you to think about now and remember when it is tax time.  Make sure that you are prepared so that you are not missing anything that can save you money! If you are a renter and would like to enjoy some of these deductions for yourself.  Contact us and let’s explore home ownership!

Capital Gains When Selling A House

Capital gains when selling occurs when you sell real estate for more than you paid for it. The difference between the original sales purchase price paid and the new sales price is the gain. In other words:

New sales price, minus purchase price of the property, minus the cost of sale = the amount of gain on the property.

This calculation can mean that most all sellers that are selling their home in Northern Colorado would show a gain on their property. Our market has seen nice appreciation of property values in recent years and this can lead to nice gain when it comes time to sell. It is great to sell your home for top dollar, but the IRS may want a piece of the gain that you receive.

What situations do you have to pay capital gains when selling?

The government allows you to exclude $250,000 in gain for an individual home seller and exclude $500,000 in gain for a married couple. For example, lets say that you bought a property 10 years ago for $250,000 and sold the property for $850,000. You are a married couple, filling your taxes jointly, selling your home that you have lived in the home for all of the last 10 years. First, you subtract the $250,000 from the $850,00 and the number is $600,000. You are allowed by the IRS to have $500,000 in gain so you will only pay taxes on the $100,000 which is over the $500,000. How bad might the taxes on that $100,000 in gain be. There are factors that the IRS takes into account when figuring but for a rough estimate the tax could be between 10 and 20 %.

In order to be able to exclude the gain, like in the example above you need to have:

  1. Lived in the home for at least 2 of the last 5 years.
  2. The home needs to have been your primary residence.
  3. You can not have claimed that you sold a primary residence in the last two year period.
  4. If you are selling your home in less than two years, but moving due to work, health or an unforeseeable event, you still might qualify!
  5. You also may be able to minimize your capital gains tax if you are able to show receipts for home improvements.
    If this sounds complicated it really might be. This might be the year to have a CPA do your taxes. The money spent to have a professional review your tax situation might be small in comparison to the amount you save in taxes paid.

Contact us if you have specific questions about capital gains when selling a house.