March 28, 2024

HOL-Life: Part 3

Unlocking the Tax Advantages of Homeownership

Buying a home is a significant milestone for many individuals, marking a pivotal moment of financial stability and investment. Beyond the emotional and financial security it provides, homeownership comes with a range of tax benefits and considerations that can significantly impact your finances. Understanding these perks is crucial to making informed decisions in the homebuying process.

 

Mortgage Interest Deduction

One of the most notable tax benefits for homeowners is the deduction on mortgage interest paid throughout the year. Homeowners who itemize their deductions can typically deduct the interest paid on mortgages up to $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately) or $1,000,000 ($500,000 if married filing separately) for interest on mortgages incurred before December 16, 2017. This deduction can significantly lower taxable income, especially in the early years of a mortgage when interest payments are higher.

 

Mortgage Points Deduction

Homebuyers often pay mortgage points, or prepaid interest, at closing to lower their interest rate. These points can be deductible in the year they were paid, reducing the tax burden in the year of purchase.

 

Property Tax Deductions

Homeowners can also deduct property taxes paid to local and state governments. This deduction is currently part of the $10,000 cap set by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act along with local and state income taxes. However, your new state and local property tax can help you reach this limit both when you buy your home and for as long as you own it, reducing your tax burden. This cap is not set in stone and may be removed or increased in the next few years.

 

Home Office Deduction

For those who operate a business or work from home, a portion of home-related expenses, such as mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, and repairs, may be deductible as part of the home office deduction. However, specific criteria must be met to qualify for this deduction. As found on IRS.gov Website, “Generally, there are two basic requirements for the taxpayer's home to qualify as a deduction:

  • There generally must be exclusive use of a portion of the home for conducting business on a regular basis. For example, a taxpayer who uses an extra room to run their business can take a home office deduction only for that extra room so long as it is used both regularly and exclusively in the business.
  • The home must generally be the taxpayer's principal place of business. A taxpayer can also meet this requirement if administrative or management activities are conducted at the home and there is no other location to perform these duties. Therefore, someone who conducts business outside of their home but also uses their home to conduct business may still qualify for a home office deduction.”

 

Capital Gains Exclusion

When it's time to sell your home, another substantial tax advantage emerges. For married couples filing jointly, up to $500,000 in capital gains from the sale of a primary residence is exempt from taxes, provided certain ownership and residency criteria are met. For individuals, the exclusion is up to $250,000.

 

While these tax benefits are enticing, there are considerations and limitations to keep in mind. For instance, the recent tax reforms have adjusted certain deductions, such as limiting the mortgage interest deduction to the first $750,000 of the loan. Additionally, the standard deduction might sometimes outweigh the combined benefits of itemizing deductions for some taxpayers. There is also the inevitability that changes could be made to these benefits by future tax laws.

 

Owning a home brings both financial and emotional rewards, and understanding the tax implications is an essential part of making an informed decision. While the tax benefits can be significant, it's crucial to consult with a tax professional to grasp the full extent of these advantages and how they align with your specific financial situation  Buying a home not only provides shelter and a sense of belonging but also opens doors to various tax benefits that can positively impact your financial health.

 

Please remember that tax laws and codes tend to change annually. Stay updated to ensure compliance and take advantage of any new opportunities or adjustments. Keeping up of these changes can help make tax season smoother and more beneficial for you for your whole life. If you're already a client, please reach out to your current contact as we will be happy to discuss this topic further with you. If you're not already a client, please call 724.934.4880 and we'll be happy to discuss your situation further to determine how we can best help.

Article written by Andrew Pierini

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