• Mortgage News: Tax Benefits of Homeownership

  • The tax benefits of buying a home include:

    • Home mortgage interest deduction: The interest paid on a mortgage or mortgages of up to $1 million for a principal residence and/or second home is deductible as an itemized deduction. In the early years of a home loan most of the payments consist of interest, so this deduction is particularly substantial during the first years of home ownership. Depending on the state a home buyer lives in and his tax bracket, this deduction can reduce the cost of borrowing by one-third or more.
    • Home equity loan deduction: Home owners can borrow up to $100,000 against the equity in their home and deduct the interest as an itemized deduction. The money can be used for any purpose, such as paying off high-interest credit card debt. In contrast, the interest on credit card debt is not deductible.
    • Property tax deduction: Home owners also get to deduct from their federal income taxes the state and local property taxes they pay on their home. This is another itemized deduction that renters don’t get!
    • Deductible home buying expenses: Various closing costs ordinarily involved in a home purchase are also deductible as itemized deductions, including loan origination fees (points), prorated interest on a new loan, and prorated property taxes paid at settlement.
    • $250,000/$500,000 home-sale exclusion: Perhaps the greatest tax benefit of owning a home comes when a person sells it at a profit. Home owners who lived in their home for two of the prior five years prior to its sale need pay no income tax on a substantial amount of their profit — $250,000 for single home owners and $500,000 for married home owners who file jointly. This exclusion can be used once every 24 months.
    • 14 days of free rental income: Another little known tax benefit of owning a home is that the home owner can rent it out for up to 14 days during the year and pay no tax at all on the rental income. In contrast, a renter who sublets his or her rental must pay income tax on all the rental income he or she earns.
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