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Homeowner Tax Deduction List

By owning your home, you are eligible to receive many tax benefits. As of 2023 and pursuant to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the standard deduction for federal income taxes is:

  • $13,850 for single filers and those married filing separately
  • $27,700 for those married filing jointly
  • $20,800 for heads of household

Your tax preparer or tax software can help you decide whether to itemize instead of taking the standard deduction. If you use itemized deductions on your tax return (Schedule A), you can take advantage of these real estate tax benefits on your federal income tax. Here are the Top 10 homeowner tax deductions.

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction and Mortgage Insurance Premiums

After you purchase a home, you can deduct your interest payments on mortgage debt of up to $750,000. So, even if your real property mortgage is $5 million, your eligibility is limited to the $750,000 cap.

If you are married and filing jointly, you can only deduct the interest on a lender's $750,000 mortgage. If you are married and filing separately, the limit drops to interest on only $375,000 of the loan. Higher limitations of $1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately) apply for indebtedness incurred before Dec. 16, 2017.

A first or second home must secure the mortgage debt. In other words, your mortgage payments must be for your primary residence (main home) or second residence.

If your bank requires you to buy private mortgage insurance, those premiums are sometimes tax-deductible. However, the deduction is scaled back once your income reaches $100,000 a year.

2. Points

It is common to see fees of one to three points on a home loan. (One point equals 1% of the mortgage loan's principal.) These fees are included on the income tax deductions list and can be fully deducted if they are associated with the purchase of a home.

If you are refinancing your home mortgage, points are still fully deductible but must be done over the life of the loan and not upfront. If you refinance your home, you can write off the remainder of the old mortgage points.

3. Equity Loan Interest

Some people can deduct some of the interest paid on a home equity loan (line of credit). However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limits the amount of debt that can be treated as home equity for this tax deduction. You are limited to deducting the smaller of:

  • $100,000 if filing jointly, or $50,000 for each person of a married couple if filing separately
  • Your home's total fair market value minus certain outstanding debts against the home

4. Interest on a Home Improvement Loan

The fourth item on the homeowner tax deductions list is the interest on a home improvement loan of up to $750,000.

Many people find it necessary to take out a loan to repair or improve their home. It's important to distinguish these two types of work. You can deduct only the interest on loans taken out for home improvements.

A qualifying loan is for capital improvements to your home, such as those that:

  • Increase your home's value
  • Adapt it to new uses
  • Extend its life

Capital improvements include adding a bedroom or garage, installing insulation, or landscaping.

Loans that do not qualify for interest deduction are those taken out for repairs only. Examples of repairs include painting, plastering, fixing broken windows, or replacing cracked tiles.

If you have repairs to make that can wait, you should wait until you are about to sell your home. Then you may be able to deduct these costs under the selling costs deduction.

5. Property Taxes

Local taxing authorities collect taxes from real estate owners to provide local income to cities and counties. Property taxes are deductible for homeowners that itemize on Schedule A. The property tax deduction is capped at $10,000. If your property tax bill has a higher assessment for local property taxes, you'll still be subject to the $10,000 limit on your federal taxes.

Suppose your money is held in an escrow account to pay property taxes. You cannot claim this deduction until the money is taken out of escrow (or impound account) and paid to taxing authorities. In addition, if you receive a partial refund of your property tax, this reduces the amount of the deduction you can claim.

6. Home Office Deduction

If you use a portion of your home exclusively for an office for your small business, you may be able to claim a deduction on your taxes. The deduction would be for costs related to insurance, repairs, and depreciation.

The IRS recognizes two times when you may claim a home office deduction:

  • When part of your home is used exclusively and regularly as either your principal place of business or a place where you meet and deal with customers or patients. If a separate structure is attached to your home, then the regular and exclusive use does not have to be your principal place of business.
  • You use part of your home regularly to store things used in your business, such as product samples or inventory. This includes home daycare facilities.

When you sell your home, there may be tax liabilities. If the business is within the house's four walls, then the Home Sale Tax Exclusion will apply. The Home Sale Tax Exclusion allows for profits from the sale of a home up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married couples. The business will not be taxed if the profits do not exceed those amounts.

However, capital gains tax will be realized if the business is located in a structure not attached to the home.

7. Selling Costs

After you have decided to sell your home, you may be able to reduce your income tax by the amount of your selling costs. These costs can include things like:

  • Repairs
  • Title insurance
  • Advertising expenses
  • Real estate broker's commissions
  • Inspection fees

The IRS only allows you to deduct selling costs associated with repairs if you make the repairs within 90 days of the sale closing date. The repairs must be made to improve the marketability of the home.

Selling costs are deducted from your gain on the sale, which is found by taking the selling price and subtracting the closing costs and your tax basis. (You can find your tax basis by taking the original purchase price, adding the cost of any capital improvements you made, and subtracting any depreciation.)

8. Capital Gains Exclusion

When you sell your home, you may be able to keep some of the profit as tax-free income. If you are married and filing jointly, you can claim up to $500,000 in profit from the sale of your home, provided that you used the home as a principal residence for two of the previous five years. If you are filing either as single or married but filing separately, you may keep up to $250,000 of the profit tax-free.

9. Moving Costs

If a new job requires you to move, you used to be able to deduct a portion of your moving costs from your income taxes. Now, this deduction is limited to military service members only.

Active-duty service members must be required to move because of a permanent change of station to be eligible for this deduction. Moving cost deductions include transportation, lodging, and storage fees.

10. Mortgage Tax Credit

The mortgage credit certificate (MCC) program allows qualified low-income, first-time homebuyers to deduct 20% to 40% of their mortgage interest payments from their income taxes. The percentage varies by state.

To get started in the MCC program, you must apply with your state or local government to be issued a certificate. This credit is available for each year you own your home and is subtracted directly from the income tax you owe.

Related Resources

Need Help Understanding Homeowner Tax Deductions? Contact an Attorney

A tax professional may have helped you with the tax year's sales taxes, federal and state taxes, and other accounting. But, even certified professional accountants (CPAs) are not lawyers and may not be able to advise on tax law. If you're a homeowner, it pays to be aware of the laws and how best to take advantage of the tax benefits available for homeownership. A real estate attorney with tax law experience helps taxpayers learn about deductions, exemptions, and credits to lower their tax burden.

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