CPA Blog

CPA & Accounting Topics for Business
3 minutes reading time (551 words)

Home is Where the Tax Breaks Are

 homeowner tax breaks

Are you a homeowner? Take a look at the following list of tax breaks. There may be some here that you don’t know about. Questions? Ask us.

Mortgage Interest. If you own a home with an unrelated taxpayer, you are now each entitled to a mortgage interest deduction of up to $1 million of mortgage principal for funds used to purchase, construct or improve a home and an additional $100,000 of principal for a loan secured by the home but where the funds are used for other purposes. Why? In 2016, the IRS changed the way mortgage interest deduction is calculated. This also creates another marriage penalty in the Tax Code since, if the two taxpayers get married, then they are just entitled to a mortgage interest deduction up to the $1.1 million limit.

Energy-Related Tax Deduction. There is a residential energy efficient property credit for items such as solar and wind installations that currently extends through 2021 but is subject to phase-downs over its final years.

Capital Gains Exclusion. If you've owned and lived in your principal residence for at least two of the last five years, then an exclusion for gain on its sale is available. The exclusion is up to $250,000 of gain for a single taxpayer and up to $500,000 of gain for joint filers.

Inheritance of Property. When you inherit an asset, the cost basis of the asset is "stepped up to value" on the date of death, which helps you avoid capital gains taxes on that property. Here's how it works: Let's say your grandfather just died, leaving a home to you and your siblings. The home is valued at $500,000 at the time of your grandfather's death, but the original price paid for the home, the basis, when he bought it 30 years ago was $100,000. While you and your siblings may have to pay estate or inheritance taxes depending on the size of the estate, you won't have to pay capital gains taxes on $400,000 in gains on the house.

Stepped-up basis on death remains available for a principal residence, as well as other taxpayer assets on death. However, with discussions about eliminating the estate tax and shifting to carryover basis, it is not clear how much longer current law will remain in effect. Stepped-up basis means that the inheritor of the residence who then sells the residence would likely have minimal taxable gain because their basis would be stepped-up to the date of death value of the residence.

Home Office Expenses. If you use part of your home for business operations, you may be able to deduct some of your business expenses. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which provides details and a full explanation of the requirements to claim this deduction on its website.

Moving Expenses. If you move because you change jobs or your business relocates, or if you start a new job or business, you may be eligible to deduct your moving expenses. The IRS explains that you must meet the following criteria in order to qualify.

  • Your move closely relates to the start of work
  • You meet the distance test
  • You meet the time test

Again, if you have questions relating to any of this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Follow These Rules For Your IRA
Classifying Workers: A Taxing Situation