Tax Deductions for Frederick Homeowners 2014
Tax day is less than one month away!
There are tax advantages to home ownership. Tax deductions for homeowners have been in place for generations, because owning a home is generally considered to encourage better neighborhoods and good citizenship in many ways. Although the details change periodically, the basic tax deductions and benefits for homeowners who itemize deductions are typically these:
1. Mortgage Interest Deduction, or MID. The MID is the most well-known benefit of home ownership. The interest you pay on your mortgage is deductible (on a mortgage with a balance of up to $1 million). This includes your main home and a second home. Homeowners benefit the most in the first half of the life of their mortgage, when the bulk of the monthly payment is interest. (Consult the IRS website for the rules regarding MID)
There is a movement to limit deductions to high income earners, over $400,000, however the current deductions are still in place. Homeowners in the U.S. save around $100 million every year by deducting their MID, according to NAR (National Association of Realtors)
2. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). When the downpayment is less than 20%, there is usually Private Mortgage Insurance. This provision has been phased out for both single and married filing jointly with adjusted grossincomes over $100,000. Currently, it has not been renewed for 2015, only for 2014. The provision allows homeowners to treat mortgage insurance premiums the same as interest. This deduction only applies to mortgages (not refinances) which began after 2006.
3. Points and Origination. If you purchased in the last year you can deduct any points or origination fees. (These fees appear on lines 801 and 802, of your HUD 1 settlement sheet, they now net out in line 803.) They ) are generally deductible for the purchaser/borrower, whether or not they are paid from the borrower’s funds or the seller’s funds at settlement, so long as they meet specific tests.
If you Refinanced: These items usually must be amortized over the period of the loan (for example, 1/360 for each month of a 30-year loan). However, if you sold or refied again in 2014, you can deduct whatever amount remained from your earlier refi if you refinanced with a different lender. Unfortunately, if you refinanced with the same lender, the points must continue to be deducted over the life of the loan.
4. Home Improvement Loan Interest. The interest on a home improvement loan may be tax deductible. Typically, interest on loans used for home improvements can be totally deducted up to $1 million of combined secured mortgage debt; used for anything other than home improvements, the deductible interest is limited to that on $100,000 of combined secured mortgage debt. IRS Publication 936 provides the details. The same applies to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
5. Energy efficient repairs and upgrades may be deductible, or you may get tax credits, these provisions seem to change often over the years. Homeowners can deduct the cost of materials used for energy efficient upgrades to their homes, with various limits and percentages. There are also individual limits for certain items, like appliances, furnaces, windows, etc. Consult the IRS website, or a tax professional.
6. The cost of selling real estate is deductible. Fees, capital improvement, commissions and marketing costs. Another reason to safeguard that HUD 1 document!
7. A home office is deductible. Taxpayers have a simplified option for taking a deduction for home office expenses now. The optional deduction is $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet of home office space, to a maximum of $1,500. Taxpayers still have the alternative of the more complicated Form 8829 if they think the extra effort will provide a larger writeoff. With all the myths surrounding this deduction, be sure to consult a tax specialist.
8. Property Tax Deduction. Yes, a tax is tax-deductible:)
9. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007 has been extended just for this year. An underwater homeowner who short sells their home is does not owe taxes on the amount of debt they were forgiven. The government usually considers debt forgiveness as income in these cases, but the unprecedented situation of this mortgage meltdown has created a climate in which so many Americans are underwater and forced to sell their homes in a short sale, that further penalizing them with taxes would do even more damage to an already fragile economy.
10. Capital gains under $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married couples are not currently taxed. If you owe capital gains after selling real estate, it’s a bit complicated, so you’ll want to consult a tax professional, probably before you sell.
For an excellent article explaining capital gains, read: Real Estate Capital Gains and Your Home Sale, by Real Estate Agent Bill Gassett, Greater Metrowest MA.
Bill explains the changes that came with The Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997, the requirements and the exclusions. The actual amount takes some figuring, it’s not just a matter of your sale price.
FYI: The IRS no longer automatically sends out tax forms due to the cost and the fact that so many people file electronically. If you want paper forms, libraries, post offices and IRS walkin centers still have them. Of course, you can most conveniently get them at the IRS website, www.irs.gov. You can also call 1-800-TAXFORM (800-829-3676) to have forms mailed to you.
As a disclaimer and as good advice: Always seek the advice of a Tax Specialist concerning tax deductions for homeowners.
Maryland’s Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program
The State of Maryland has developed a program which allows credits against the homeowner’s property tax bill if the property taxes exceed a fixed percentage of the person’s gross income. In other words, it sets a limit on the amount of property taxes any homeowner must pay based upon his or her income. Read more about it.
Need A Good CPA?
Elliott CPA LLC, here in Frederick Maryland, located at 237 W Patrick St. Melinda Elliott has been helping people with tax filings for 18 years. Business Taxes, Personal Taxes, and resolving tax problems are among her services. Be sure to read Melinda’s newsletter with the latest tax information.
(Reprinted from FrederickRealEstateOnline.com)