We know, we know. You raced to the post office just in timeto meet the deadline to send your tax forms to the IRS, bemoaning those receipts you just couldn't find anywhere and cursing your procrastination which led to the last-minute crush again. So while you still have taxes on your mind, why not prepare ahead so you're sitting pretty by the time you file in 2018? Here's a roundup of homeowner tax breaks you should prep now, so you can take full advantage of them next yearandavoid the last-minute scramble.
1. Set up your home office
If you're working on a La-Z-Boy in the living room, it might be time to clear out the guest room and assemble that Ikea desk. That way, you can take thehome office tax deductionin 2017. The "simple method" allows you to take $5 per square foot for a total of $1,500. You could also go for a more complicated deduction: a percentage of your home's electric bills and other expenses.
Keep in mind that you have to use the room “regularly and exclusively” for business, says Dave Du Val, a tax expert and chief customer advocacy officer at TaxAudit.com. If you're an employee, the office must be for the convenience of the employer (e.g., you're a salesperson in New York for a company whose only office is in California). Last but not least, you'll need to tabulate your expenses as you make them in 2017, so keep a logbook and save those receipts.
2. Consider a HELOC for home improvements
Is 2017 the year you want to finallydo that kitchen remodel or bathroom addition, but money still feels too tight? Then you might want to consider taking out ahome equity line of credit, or HELOC. The interest on a loan up to $100,000 is tax-deductible, says Du Val. That means those upgrades just got a whole lot cheaper.
3. Install solar panels
Alas, the clock ran out on most tax credits available to homeowners who wentgreenat the end of 2016. However, there isoneremaining energy-efficiency credit still available to homeowners: solar energy.
"You can take a credit of up to 30%, with no cap, on the equipment and installation costs of solar energy panels and solar water heaters you purchase in 2017," saysJacob Dayan, partner and co-founder of CommunityTax.com.
There's good reason to go solar this year in particular. In addition to this major credit being set to reduce to 0% over the next five years, the president can easily eighty-six the credit entirely before the Dec. 31, 2021, expiration date by signing a bill into law.
Just keep in mind that to qualify, the equipment must be used to generate power or heat water in your primary or second home. It can't be used for a swimming pool or spa.
4. Pay property taxes early
Got a big tax bill coming in 2017? One way to offset that is to prepay your property taxesin order to reduce your tax burden. How would it work? Say you receive a tax notice in December 2017 with a due date of Jan. 31, 2018. You could go ahead and pay it in December if you want to deduct the amount from your current year's income instead.
This move is best for those who expect their income and tax burden to be higher in 2017 than in 2018.
"If you're expecting the opposite, then you should defer the tax payment until after Dec. 31 so you can deduct it the following year," says Du Val.
5. Keep meticulous home improvement records
All homeowners should keep a detailed record of improvementsto their homes. These improvements—like a new roof, new furnace, or bathroom addition—increase a home's value. When it comes time to sell, the amount you spent on improvements or renovations can seriously reduce thecapital gainstaxes you'll pay, according to Du Val.
6. Pay points
If you plan to buy a new home in 2017 orrefinancethe loan on the place you're in already, this is an opportunity to save on taxes in terms ofpoints. Also known as a loan origination fee, loan discount, or discount point, it is basically prepaid interest that persuades lenders to give you a lower interest rate on the loan.
There are tax benefits, too: You can deduct those points for the same year you buy a home. If you refinance, you can deduct them over the life of your new loan. Either way, it's a good thing.
Author:Elizabeth Leland Phone: 931-572-7811 Dated: April 19th 2017 Views: 110 About Elizabeth: Hey there! I'm Elizabeth but you can call me Liz! I've had the pleasure of spending 20+ years in an...
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