Second Houses Can Trigger Tax Relief
If you rent your vacation home to friends and family at a cost that’s less than what is considered to be a fair rental price during the weeks you are not using it, it’s considered personal use property, which allows you to deduct real estate taxes and mortgage interest as itemized deductions on your personal tax return.
There will come a point in your dental career when you will have finally paid off your student loans, updated your equipment, remodeled your practice and have secured a large, dependable customer base. This will be a pinnacle moment in your life and certainly cause for celebration. Oftentimes, dental professionals choose to celebrate such an accomplishment by making a large purchase – a tangible representation of their professional success. For many, a second home not only becomes a symbol of their achievement, it can be a useful (and potentially lucrative) investment that can bring added tax benefits.
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I frequently field questions from clients who want to know more about their tax implications with regard to purchasing a vacation home. Below are some common scenarios to consider, based on the insight I have provided to dental professionals in the past.
Change The Scenery
If you rent your home 14 days out of the year or less and use the home for personal use for 14 days or more, the property will be classified as personal use property, which allows you to deduct your real estate taxes and mortgage interest as itemized deductions on your personal tax return. In addition, if you rent your home out to your dental practice for meeting space a few times a year (fewer than 14 days), your practices can take a deduction for the expense of renting the property. Just make sure that the business purpose of the space is clearly defined.
Generate Extra Income
Rather than buy a vacation home that sits empty for the majority of the year, you may find that it makes sense to rent it out to others while you aren’t using it. If you do decide to go this route and rent it for more than 14 days of every year, remember that all income generated as a result of this transaction is taxable. That being said, a portion of the mortgage interest and real estate taxes may be deductible as rental expenses while some of your other expenses could qualify as itemized deductions. You might be able to take depreciation on the property as well. Furthermore, rental losses are limited based on your adjusted gross income and are carried forward during the years in which the loss cannot be taken. This whole process can get confusing. Therefore it’s important to sit down with your tax advisor to ensure that Uncle Sam gets his cut.
So you aren’t really on board with the prospect of renting your vacation home to strangers while you are away, but you really don’t like the idea of letting the house sit empty either. In this case, you might consider renting the property to friends and family. If you take this route and rent it at a cost that’s less than what is considered to be a fair rental price during the weeks you are not using it, it’s considered personal use property, which once again allows you to deduct real estate taxes and mortgage interest as itemized deductions on your personal tax return.
Four Interesting Facts To Know Before You Buy
If you are struggling to figure out which state you should consider as the location of your second home or whether investing in a piece of land, timeshare or even a mobile home is more favorable to your specific situation, consider these interesting tax facts.
- If you decide to invest in a portion of land on which to build your home then, for whatever reason, change your mind and decide to sell the property prior to personal use, the gains or losses would receive capital gain or loss treatment. On the other hand, if you buy the land, build a home, and, after a while, decide to sell it at a loss after having used it personally, you will not be able to claim the loss on your tax return.
- Ever wonder if that boat, mobile home or house trailer qualifies as a second residence for purposes of the mortgage interest deduction? Good news – it does! That is, it qualifies for the deduction as long as it includes sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities.
- Looking to purchase a vacation home far from the obligation of state income taxes? Then look no further than Florida, Texas, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, New Hampshire or Tennessee. These states don’t have a state income tax, which could lower the tax impact on your rental income and any gains realized from the sale of a piece of property.
- Listening to a salesman pitch the benefits of owning a timeshare can be terrifying, but taking the plunge and making the investment doesn’t have to be – at least from a tax standpoint. Timeshares can be considered second homes for the purpose of deducting interest expenses. However, if you decide to rent the timeshare to a third party, you may end up forfeiting the mortgage interest deduction. Another common misconception about timeshares is that letting a charitable organization stay there for a period of time will qualify as a charitable contribution. This is not the case. The only way to get a charitable deduction for your time share is to donate the entire property to a charity.
Want to find out if owning a vacation home is right for you? Email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates today.
By Alan Hill, CPA (Mentor office)
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