Home mortgage interest deductions make homes more affordable and save taxpayers thousands of tax dollars each year. Now, if you are single, a new IRS decision creates the possibility for added savings—perhaps double—if you co-own a home or vacation property.
The tax law offers several ways to reduce or eliminate U.S. income taxes or foreign-sourced earned income. Picking the correct tax-reduction strategy based on your situation is the key to minimizing your U.S. income tax liability. In this article, you see common scenarios and options that show you how to pay the least amount of U.S. income tax on your foreign-sourced earned income.
Planning on leaving the U.S.? If so, you have two choices from a tax perspective, but neither is painless. The tax law that applies to foreign living and expatriation can be tricky, so it’s essential that you depart the country correctly.
The government taxes rental income just like any other income. However, a little-known loophole in the tax law may allow you to completely exclude some rental income from your income taxes. The requirements to qualify are simple, but there are some issues that could complicate your ability to use this loophole.
Your government offers a very generous subsidy, a 30 percent tax credit, if you install solar equipment at one or more of your residences. And if you live in the right area of the country, you can come out well ahead on this deal. But this is tax law, and as you would expect, there are some tricky rules that you need to follow to qualify for the credit.
Take advantage of the government’s tax-free $250,000 home-sale-profit exclusion ($500,000 if married) by selling your home to an S corporation that you establish. This gives you two things: (1) tax-free income and (2) a step-up in basis for the rental house.
Your business motor home is either a lodging facility, like a hotel, or a transportation vehicle. As a vehicle, it can qualify for Section 179 expensing, but you likely want to avoid that and take the easy road with MACRS depreciation.
Few things can rock your world like the prospect of losing your home. In a foreclosure, the lender sends you one or two Form 1099s that will worry you too. The 1099s could show that you have cancellation of debt income (that’s taxable income). And then, just to pile on, the foreclosure that took away your home might trigger a taxable gain. That’s all bad news. But when you know the rules, you’ll see that you can make some or all of the bad-news tax problems go away.
If you sold your home using seller financing, you likely don’t look forward to your buyer defaulting on your loan. Here’s a twist: It may not be a bad thing in the end. Under the right circumstances, you could walk away with more cash in your pocket—and you could make some or all of that cash tax-free! But there’s one big trap that you need to avoid.
If you want to rent one, two, or twenty bedrooms in your home, you need to avoid one big trap and navigate two sets of rules to obtain the tax benefits you likely were hoping for when you thought of this rental activity. This is an area where tax knowledge is power. Without the knowledge, you could create a very unsatisfactory tax result.
Stay with family and friends when traveling for business. And then create tax deductions by paying them for your business lodging. You have a choice: deduct the cost of staying at the big hotel downtown, or deduct the cost of staying with your friends or family. Either way, the choice of location does not change the fact that you are on a tax-deductible business trip. The side benefit is that doing this right creates tax-free income for your friends and relatives.
A Roth IRA is not your average retirement plan. It’s a retirement savings, boondoggle savings, down payment savings, college savings, and emergency savings plan all wrapped into one. But to realize the benefits, you need to know how to avoid taxes and penalties when you take the money out. The good news: do this right and you can tap that Roth IRA and pay ZERO taxes and ZERO penalties.
If you have to sell your personal home at a loss, tax law gives you a deduction for the portion of your home you use as a home office or that you use for some other income-producing activity. This is a nice silver lining to an otherwise unpleasant financial situation. It puts money in your pocket.
What happens if you live in a house and make mortgage payments, but someone else owns the property? Can you still get a tax benefit? Absolutely! By proving that you have legal or equitable title to the property, you can deduct up to 100 percent of the mortgage interest you pay. For one subscriber, this generated an extra $18,000 per year of deductions she did not know she could claim.
Twenty years after the Tax Court approved a strategy that grants you extra deductions for your second home, the IRS would like you to forget it ever happened. Even though the case remains current law, you won’t find any mention of this strategy in IRS guidance to taxpayers. Unless you just happened to know old cases—or read this article—you might never have known how you could save thousands in taxes on your second home.
If your doctor recommends that you buy equipment for your health, pay attention. First of all, you should follow your doctor’s orders. But just as important, you may be able to deduct some or all of the cost. This article explains how the one-owner businessperson is in the best possible position to deduct the cost of medical equipment.
You normally would not expect to have more money in your pocket after you pay your tax bill. However, with this new ruling from the IRS, you could end up with just that—a negative tax on the sale of your home! Read this article to find out how a taxpayer sold her home for a $100,000 before-tax profit and turned that into a $110,000 after-tax value.
When you buy a house with less than 20 percent down, your lender will almost always force you to buy mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in case you default. Tax law used to help a lot people with the cost of mortgage insurance by allowing a deduction to certain taxpayers. That selective help on personal homes expired in 2013, but there’s hope for an extension, and existing deductions continue for your rentals and office in the home.
If you are looking for creative ways to get rid of a house that won’t sell, consider the lease-option. This strategy only works with the right tenant and your correct use. But get this right and it’s a nice deal for everyone involved. Make sure you avoid the traps that blow up the deal and add extra taxes to your tax bill. After all, your real purpose with the lease-option is to increase your cash flow and keep your taxes to a minimum.
When a situation outside of your control forces you to sell your house, you will have a lot of things on your plate, not the least of which are tax concerns about the sale. Fortunately, there is a friend you can turn to—the IRS. In one of its rare moments of sympathy, the IRS may lend you a helping hand and lower your tax burden if you can show that you are in a difficult situation.
You may not expect to sell your current home or vacation property any time soon, but you should take these (easy) steps right now to prepare for—or better yet, avoid—the tax burden when that day ultimately comes. If you plan to rely on the home sale gain exclusion to shield all of your profit, don’t do that. We’ll tell you why not in this article. We’ll also show you how certain records can substantially reduce the taxes you owe on the sale of your home.
Tax law treats the built-in desk as either personal or real property depending on where you locate the desk. The personal location, such as your home, can make the built-in desk real property whereas the commercial location, such as your home office, makes the built-in desk personal property. In business, you want the personal property classification so that you can get the vastly quicker write-offs.
Do you have a vacation home rental? Do you use it for both rental and personal purposes? If so, you need to know the rules on what makes a repair day. Why? Repair days do not count as either personal or rental days. And that’s only part of the story.
Depending on how you operate your business and where it’s located, the federal income tax terms “personal home” and “tax home” can have a big impact on your business vehicle deductions. And then there’s the difference between the federal income tax terms “business travel” and “business transportation” and how one rule applies when you are inside the area of your tax home.
This article answers six questions about the big tax benefits to the sole owner of the S corporation who rents his personal residence to his solely owned S corporation for 14 days or less. The answers deal with (1) the need for a 1099, (2) how to report the 1099 on the 1040, (3) multiple corporations, (4) events for independent contractors, (5) events for employees, and (6) proof of fair rent.
Last month we explained how an S corporation could rent the sole shareholder’s personal residence for 14 days or less, obtain a tax-deduction for rent, and create tax-free income for the shareholder. An enrolled agent raises six issues that he thinks could negate this free-rent strategy. Learn what the issues are and why the strategy works.
Do you operate your business as an S or C corporation? If so, have you considered renting your home to your corporation for corporate meetings and perhaps the annual holiday party for employees? You should. Why? If the rental is done right, the corporation deducts the rent, and you receive the rental income tax-free.
When you use a motorhome for business travel, what tax rules do you trigger? For example, is the motorhome for lodging or transportation? Lodging has one set of rules. Transportation has a different set of rules.
The tax law definition of your tax home can jump up and bite you when you have a business operation away from your personal residence. Since tax law does not govern where you live, it treats your decision on where to locate your home as a personal decision that gives you a personal location. When your tax home is not near your personal home, you can lose both (a) overnight business travel deductions and (2) business mileage from an office inside the home to a regular office outside the home.
Your timeshare can qualify as a second home for the mortgage interest deduction easily if you don’t rent or attempt to rent it. Once you introduce rent into your timeshare equation, you trigger two tough rules: (1) a special mortgage-interest-deduction rule for the personal part of the timeshare and then (2) the dreaded vacation-home rental rules for the rental part.
The days when you could convert your rental property or vacation home to a principal residence and then use the full $250,000/$500,000 home-sale exclusion to avoid taxes are gone. Today’s law requires an allocation that keeps part of your rental as a rental so you have to pay taxes on that allocated part.
The home-office deduction lives in the world of false myths. One such myth is depreciation recapture. In most cases, the benefits of depreciation deductions far outweigh the recapture. Further, with a little planning, you can easily defer and even avoid the recapture tax altogether.
Could you use your timeshare for business lodging and other business purposes? If so, why should you consider it? Business deductions usually produce better tax benefits than personal deductions do, that’s why. Further, you need to know those special tax rules that can make your timeshare a rental property, personal residence, or business lodging facility.
Learn how this IRS Revenue Procedure allows you to avoid taxes on the sale of a personal residence in which you had a home office or that you used as a rental property. The procedure lays out the methodology, which includes using the $250,000 ($500,000 if married) home-sale exclusion in unison with a 1031 tax-deferred exchange to avoid the taxes and enhance your deductions on the replacement home.
You likely hate tax-law surprises. Foreclosures, short sales, and mortgage modifications can both reward and punish you, sometimes during the same transaction. You may not have a problem with your home’s value or its mortgage, but you may have a relative, friend, or client who faces this situation. If so, you may want to know how tax law treats the principal residence foreclosure, short sale, or loan modification.
You might qualify for an office downtown, an office in your main home, and an office in your vacation home. Wow! Three offices. And tax law might make all three offices principal offices. (Of course, three principal offices is an oxymoron, but hey, this is tax law, so three principal offices is a true possibility.)
You would think that tax law could make deducting mortgage interest straightforward. Perhaps that’s too logical; for certain, it’s not true. The rules on deducting mortgage interest contain a number of twists and turns that you that need to know to make sure your mortgage-interest payments qualify as tax deductions.
Keeping your home until death has advantages. At death, your estate avoids both capital gains and recapture taxes, and passes the home to your heirs at a stepped-up fair market value basis. This combination triggers a good number of income tax planning strategies.
Stay with your mom and dad on a business trip, and create tax deductions by paying them for business lodging. You have a choice: deduct the cost of staying at the big hotel downtown or deduct the cost of staying with your parents. Either way, the choice of location does not change the fact that you are on a tax-deductible business trip.
Learn how to avoid payroll tax problems when you hire a nanny or other household worker. Your best bet is likely a payroll service that specializes in “nanny tax” compliance.
Repairs to your home give you zero tax benefits. Improvements to your home add to your basis and reduce your taxes. Thus, don’t repair your home. Improve it!
The IRS has issued a new revenue ruling granting bigger deductions than the courts have granted on home mortgage interest deductions for alternative minimum tax purposes.
For 2011, you can qualify for the uncapped and unlimited 30 percent tax credit for installing qualified solar, wind, and geothermal in your home, vacation home, or other residence.
When the bank forecloses on a home, tax law comes into play in some surprising and often beneficial ways, especially this year. Tax law treats recourse and nonrecourse mortgages in completely different ways, but with a personal residence, the end result can be pretty much the same.
The cabin at the ski hill could be a hotel, a residential rental property, or a personal residence. It depends on your personal use of the property; the length of rental periods; and documentation of your time, others’ time, expenses, and activities.
Should you buy or rent your home? What gives you the best quality of life and monetary value? Here is what you need to consider.
Is this the right time to buy a home? Tax credits make the home purchase more appealing. Learn if the home purchase is right for you or your relatives. Use the home analyzer software, free, that’s linked inside this article.
Distributing the assets of an estate needs a tax plan to ensure the favorable results embedded in the tax law.
You can be a dealer with respect to some properties and an investor with respect to others. You can also subdivide lots and obtain tax-favored capital gain treatment, but you need the right numbers and a good plan.
Learn the federal income tax rules on business mileage to increase vehicle deductions. The four questions and answers in this article give you a clear roadmap of the rules along with the strategies you need to pocket more cash from your business.
If you operate one business with two operations in separate states, you need to know the rules to tax deduct overnight business travel between the two locations. You also need to know these tax deduction rules if you have two businesses in two states.
You may claim a tax deduction for the business portion of your home security system regardless of your qualification for the office in the home deduction.
Your home equity loan can give you a full, partial, or no deduction for your interest. If you will get zero or a reduced benefit, make the necessary changes to protect your tax benefits.
If you are using home equity loan proceeds for your rental property LLC, you need to pay attention to both the legal and tax aspects of that transaction. The legal part is needed for liability protection. The tax part is needed to ensure your tax deductions.
This new law gives you 30 percent uncapped and unlimited tax credits for installing qualified solar, wind, or geothermal energy improvements in your home, vacation home, or other residence.
Tax credits are best. They reduce your taxes dollar for dollar.
Now, you can pocket a 30 percent tax credit of up to $1,500 when you install qualifying energy approved windows, doors, HVAC, insulation, water heaters, roofs, and similar property in your principal residence.
With net business income less than $115,647, the sole proprietor with two qualifying children and a stay-at-home spouse can hire the spouse and pay a wage of $6,000 to create a $1,200 child care credit with no change in their joint income taxes—other than realization of the $1,200 credit.
You do not need a tax deductible office in your home to deduct the cost of business furniture and equipment in your home
Higher inflation could be good for that home you buy today—and if you buy today, you will have today’s low interest rate. That’s a pretty good combination. Then add the 2009 tax credit and get the government to pay you $8,000 for taking the chance. Sounds like you hit the trifecta doesn’t it?
Before this new housing rescue law, the savvy taxpayer could convert his old rental or vacation home into a principal residence, live in it for two years, and then sell it to take advantage of the $250,000 and $500,000 exclusion of gain rules. Now, you need to make revisions to that old tax plan to cope with this new law.
The new housing rescue law (1) creates a $7,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers; (2) creates up to a $500 property tax deduction for the taxpayer who does not itemize deductions; (3) destroys some or all of the $250,000 tax-free exclusion for sales of vacation homes and rentals converted to principal residences; and establishes 1099-style reporting to the IRS of gross income from credit card receipts.
If you have a land easement on the property you are selling, you can get up to $250,000 tax-free. We show you how to do it with a home sale exclusion
Your son may not deduct the interest on the mortgage payments he makes on your behalf. You need to reconsider and restructure this arrangement.
At what point is a home destroyed so that it is eligible for the “involuntary conversion rules and the $250,000 ($500,000) exclusion of capital gains rules? In this chief counsel advice, the IRS gives some clarity.
Tax law treats foreclosure as a sale of your home. If you sell your home, you have a gain or loss. Most gains are taxable. Losses on a foreclosure or other sale of your personal home are not deductible.
The $250,000 home-sale exclusion is a major tax break. To qualify for the exclusion, you must have owned and lived in your home for two of the past five years. You can get out of the “two out of five year” rule by unforeseen circumstances, like, say, marriage.
To rent or to buy? That is a question. Use this easy software that comes with this article to find what’s best, after taxes—no guesswork. Identify 12 reasons why renting is best. Identify 11 reasons why buying is best. Consider everything in just a few minutes.
If you make repairs to your home for the purpose of making the home a rental property, you may deduct them, if you do it right. You cannot, for example, deduct repairs made to your home (not rental property). You might also consider filing the improvements as capital expenditures.
When the seller does not transfer legal title to the buyer, the buyer can still be the owner when the buyer passes the beneficial ownership tests.
The $250,000 exclusion on the sale of this home is complicated by the mother and daughter owning this home together.
The tax rules make your vacation home either a personal residence or a rental property. When you qualify the vacation home as a rental property, you then may use the Section 1031 rules to defer taxes and build more net worth.
When you have your corporation reimburse your home office as an employee business expense, you treat the home as if you had claimed the office-in-the-home deduction personally.
The corporate reimbursement of the owner-employee for office-in-the-home expenses includes condo fees and mortgage payments.
The corporate reimbursement to you, the employee, for the business use of your home office requires that you recognize the depreciation component of the reimbursement as if you had claimed the office in the home on your personal tax return.
Wow! In one day, the IRS released three private letter rulings that provide a roadmap to the $250,000 (single) and $500,000 (married) home-sale profit exclusions for taxpayers who fail, because of hardship, the 2-out-of-5-year tests for ownership and use.
Interest paid on a life insurance loan to buy a home does not count as deductible mortgage interest.
To deduct mortgage interest, (1) you must have title, (2) the mortgage must be in your name, (3) the home must secure the mortgage, and (4) you must make the mortgage payments from your money.
Historic rehab tax credits can put you in Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed favorite spot. Tax credits often exceed the cash you invest in the project making the historic rental or office building a “nothing down” deal for you. Add nonrecourse financing to the package and you have no personal risk. None of your cash in the deal and no personal risk—this is Mr. Trump’s favorite spot. You might do as many Congressional leaders do: Donate your personal home’s historic facade to charity so can realize big tax credits.
The couple in this court case did not keep the right records to prove the improvements they made to their home. This failure to keep the records probably saved them some personal time, but it cost them taxes on $101,907 of capital gains. What do you suppose the hourly cost of this failure—considering that the time spent to keep these records has to be very few hours? You really do need the right tax records and it takes very little time when you know what to keep.
You do not need to be married during the 24 months of residential use to claim the $500,000 exclusion of profits on the sale of your home.
This taxpayer takes out a $4 million mortgage and makes the interest on $1 million of the mortgage deductible as home-mortgage interest and the interest on the remaining $3 million of the mortgage deductible as investment interest.