Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Mortgage Interest Deduction is available to homeowners for up to $1,000,000 of acquisition debt on the combination of their first and second home. They can also deduct interest on up to an additional $100,000 of Home Equity debt. While Acquisition Debt is used to buy, build or improve a principal residence, the Home Equity Debt can be used for any purpose. It can be used for educational or medical expenses, to purchase a personal car or boat, consolidate debts or pay off credit cards. A homeowner with $15,000 of credit card debt at 19% and sufficient equity in their home could replace it with a home equity loan at much lower interest rate. Not only would the interest rate on the home equity loan be about 1/3 of the rate paid on the credit card, it’s would now be tax deductible. If the taxpayer was in the 28% bracket, the net interest on a 6.5% loan would be 4.68% after tax benefits are considered. Shifting personal debt to Home Equity debt can result in an interest deduction and probably, a lower interest rate. For more information see IRS Publication 936 page 10 and consult your tax professional.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Some homeowners, who were not able to sell during the recession, chose to rent their homes instead. In some cases, they didn't need to sell their home at the depressed prices and opted to rent it until the market recovered. It's a valid strategy but there are time restrictions that could have serious tax implications for some homeowners. The section 121 exclusion for gain in a principal residence requires that the home is owned and used as a main home for at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the sale. This allows a homeowner to rent their home for up to three years and still have some part of the exclusion available. The sale of a home with a $200,000 gain that qualifies as a principal residence would result in no tax being paid by the owner. Comparably, a rental property with the same gain could have a $30,000 or higher tax liability depending on the length of ownership and tax brackets of the investor. The housing market has dramatically improved in the last year. If you have a gain in a home that has been your principal residence and it has been rented less than three years, you might want to consider selling it while you qualify for the exclusion. If you are considering a sale on your principal residence that has been rented, consult with your tax professional for advice on your specific situation. For additional information, see IRS Publication 523.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
It's estimated that 10% of the homes sold in 2013 will be to buyers who lost a home in the past five years. Approximately 500,000 buyers who may have thought they wouldn't own a home anytime in the near future will be homeowners again. It's estimated that several million of these previous homeowners will purchase again in the next eight years. This kind of activity will contribute significantly to the housing recovery. Some people thought that the housing crisis would cause a shift in values placed on owning a home but the boomerang buyers definitely don't support that theory. Having a home of your own, where you can raise your family, share with your friends and feel safe and secure is still part of the American Dream. The rising rents, increasing prices and low, low mortgage rates are also influencing buyers into the market. In many cases, it is cheaper to own that to rent. All new buyers, including those who have experienced foreclosures or bankruptcies, must have good credit history and the ability to repay the loan. It just may not take as long to reestablish the credit as some would-be buyers might have thought. Read more about Bidding Wars This Spring, Spring's Wild Card and Boomerang Buyers.
See also http://AnnapolisHomesInfo.com
Monday, April 1, 2013
One of the drawbacks to low mortgage rates is that the total interest and property taxes paid for the year may be lower than the standard deduction. A little planning might be able to help you at least every other year.
Most homeowners know they can deduct their qualified mortgage interest and property taxes on their Schedule A of their 1040 tax return or to take the standard deduction if it is greater. See Your Deduction...Your Choice. Deductions are taken in the year that they're actually paid. If a homeowner paid their 2012 property taxes in 2013, they would not be deductible on their 2012 tax return. Then, if the 2013 property taxes were paid in 2013, both the 2012 and 2013 taxes could be deducted on the 2013 Schedule A.
By delaying the payment of the 2012 taxes until 2013, the combination of the 2012 and 2013 taxes might exceed the 2013 standard deduction and provide a higher deduction.
Other Schedule A expenses such as charitable contributions and medical expenses may be bunched also. From a practical standpoint, since most mortgage payments are due monthly, the mortgage interest would not be bunched.
This information should be discussed with your tax advisor to see how it might apply to your individual situation. The key is you must be aware of the strategy early to be able to use it.