By Michael Diaz
Landlords must take on a significant amount of responsibility if they hope to make a profitable return on their real estate investment. In addition to finding and keeping a sufficient number of tenants, landlords are also responsible for making sure rent is paid and for the continual upkeep of their rental property.
As a result, many landlords do not take the time to learn about the numerous tax benefits associated with rental income. This is a mistake. According to the IRS, a landlord can deduct almost all of the expenses associated with renting her property. However, without a thorough understanding of the tax deductions available to landlords, you could end up missing some of these deductions and overpaying on your taxes. Therefore, if you are landlord, there are several important tax deductions that can save you a lot of money when tax time rolls around.
Here are nine important tax deductions that landlords can take advantage of during tax season.
You can deduct the cost of all repairs made to your rental property. Common repairs that are eligible for the deduction include repainting, fixing the floors or gutters, fixing leaks, fixing broken windows, fixing the roof and plastering.
Keep in mind that the costs of improvements or repairs that increase the value of your rental property are not tax deductible. Repairs maintain the current value and condition of your property while improvements increase the value. See the IRS website for examples of improvements that do not qualify.
The depreciation deduction is a way for landlords to get a tax break on the actual cost of the rental property. The IRS has a depreciation formula which reduces the tax value of your rental property each year. The annual depreciation amount is fully deductible.
For example, if you paid $900,000 for an apartment complex, the IRS would make an annual calculation to determine the tax value of the property. If they determined that the tax value was $895,000, then you would be able to deduct $5,000 from your taxable income as a depreciation expense. Keep in mind that the depreciation expense will change each year.
You can deduct the mortgage interest on your rental property. Keep in mind that you are often able to deduct the costs of securing a mortgage as well (i.e. the closing costs). You can also deduct the interest on a loan used to fund renovations and improvements. You may also be able to deduct interest from credit cards that you used to fund rental property expenses.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Your regular maintenance and repair fees are tax deductible. These fees can include landscaping, plumbing, cleaning, pest control, trash removal and equipment rental. The cost of your monthly utilities is also tax deductible.
If you hire employees to work at your rental property, you can deduct the cost of their wages. The same deduction also applies to independent contractors who work for you.
You can deduct the insurance premiums you pay for insurance pertaining to your rental property. This includes fire, flood, hurricane, landlord liability and theft insurance. If you have employees that work at your rental property, you can also deduct the cost of their health and workers’ compensation insurance.
Legal And Professional Fees
If you pay a tax professional to do tax work related to your rental property, the costs of that work is tax deductible. Legal fees pertaining to your rental property are also deductible. Finally, expenses used for advertising your rental property are tax deductible.
If you travel for purposes related to your rental activity, you can deduct your travel expenses. For example, if you drive to your property to speak with a tenant about a complaint, you can deduct your gas expense. Long distance travel expenses including airfare and lodging are also deductible. Make sure to hold onto all of your receipts.
If your building is damaged by a natural disaster or a fire, you might be able to deduct a portion of the damage costs. The exact amount will depend on the amount of damage and the amount of insurance you have for the property.
Keep In Mind
Almost all of the expenses associated with your rental property may be tax deductible. Consult a tax adviser if you are not sure if a particular expense is eligible.
The tax deductions discussed in this article are only applicable to landlords who have no personal use of their rental properties. There are different tax rules that apply to rental income from property that is used partially for personal use.
Generally, your deductions for rental expenses must be made in the same year in which you pay them.
Keep track of your receipts, checks, and bank statements that show your deductible transactions. The IRS might want to see them at tax time.
Being a landlord is a difficult job. Don’t make it harder on yourself by missing out on important tax breaks. Getting educated on landlord tax deductions could save you thousands of dollars at tax time.