5 Big Tax Breaks For Homeowners

Dated: 12/04/2017

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Mortgage interest

The interest paid on a home loan is typically the largest potential deduction for middle-class Americans, said Greene-Lewis. For instance, a 30-year mortgage on a $300,000 at current rates will run you more than $12,000 in interest payments your first year. If you happen to own a second home, too, you can also deduct the mortgage interest on that, as long as it isn’t a rental property.

Points

If you recently purchased a home but paid “points” to the bank in order to get a better rate, that expense is tax deductible in the year you paid them. A point is typically 1% of your loan amount so, on that $300,000 home, you would get a $3,000 tax break for paying down one point. Points on refinance loans and home equity loans are also deductible but must be spread over the life of the loan instead of all in one year’s return, so those are less lucrative but can still ad up.

Energy credits

“If you make expenditures that improve the energy efficiency of your home, you may qualify for a tax credit,” said Neil Krishnaswamy, a certified financial planner at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Frisco, Texas. “These include items like insulation, windows, doors and roofs.”  A tax credit is even better than a deduction, because they are dollar-for-dollar savings instead of simply saving you whatever tax you paid based on your income bracket. For instance, if you’re in the 28% tax bracket, then a $1,000 deduction lowers your tax bill only $280, while a credit lowers your tax bill by $1,000 regardless of your effective tax rate. There are limits on energy credits depending on what you purchased, but the dollar-for-dollar savings make them very valuable.

Property taxes

State taxes levied on your primary residence is deductible, too, and can add up in a hurry depending on where you live. For instance, the Tax Foundation found, in 2015, that New Jersey residents typically pay almost 2.4% in property taxes – almost twice the national average, and about $7,000 on a $300,000 home. Deducting this big local tax bill can save you a lot on your federal return.

Casualty losses

If you suffered property damage and weren’t reimbursed by an insurance company for repairs, you may be eligible for a big deduction. Whether it’s a flooding or a fallen tree or even vandalism, sometimes damage to your home can cost you thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Your casualty loss deduction must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, so don’t bother writing off small-time repairs. But if you incur significant expenses repairing your home after an unfortunate event, document everything and tap into this tax break to ease some of the pain.

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