April is approaching! 6 tax tips for homeowners

tax tips for homeowners

1.) You've got to itemize. If you're looking to get tax deductions for a home you bought, something you did to your home, or something that happened ot your home, you're going to have to itemize your deductions, rather than taking the standard deduction. Fortunately, if you're filing through TurboTax or another credible online program, you can itemize everything and then see whether or not you've topped the standard deduction, saving you a lot of complicated math-doing. 

2.) Home improvements: Good for resale value, and for taxes. If you installed new, energy-efficient appliances, doors, windows, or other systems in your home and haven't exceeded the consumer energy efficient credit in previous years, you can save up to $500 (or even more), just for going green! Check in with Energy Star to see if you (and your new 'fridge) qualify. 

3.) The interest paid on your mortgage might be good for a tax break. If you paid interest on your mortgage in 2012, it may be deductible. The IRS has a some pretty useful information to find out whether or not this is the case, but basically, if you are itemizing deductions and you are filing a 1040, and your home loan qualifies, you can write off some or all of the interest you paid.

4.) Ditto for property taxes.  Property taxes are sort of all over the map in the U.S., but a lot of areas offer tax breaks on property taxes as incentives for homeowners. HouseLogic has a great roundup of some of the ones you may be elligible for. Here in King County, you can property tax deductions for doing home inprovement work, if you're a veteran, or if you're a sole propietor and the head of a household, among other things (get a full list here). But, again, you have to itemize deductions. 

5.)...Even if your home isn't finished yet! According to the IRS, "You can treat a home under construction as a qualified home for a period of up to 24 months, but only if it becomes your qualified home at the time it is ready for occupancy. The 24-month period can start any time on or after the day construction begins. As a qualified home, the interest paid within certain limitations may qualify as deductible mortgage interest."

6.) Foreclosure? There's a tax break for that, too.   As the economy lumbers toward recovery, plenty of Americans are still struggling with foreclosure and mortgage debt. If your motgage debt was forgiven (partially or fully) in 2012, you may qualify. The IRS has more information