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Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Deductions For Homebuyers

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If you’re a homeowner, or looking to buy soon, here’s what you need to know about your tax burden for 2016.

Let’s face it: The last thing you want to worry about after that second glass of eggnog during this year’s holiday festivities is what you might need to deal with during next year’s tax season. But it’s well worth paying attention to real estate tax deductions now so that you can save later.

In the summer of 2015, a Senate committee approved many tax extender bill provisions into 2016. The bill extended a collection of tax-related deductions and credits that had expired, and this could give taxpayers a break through the end of 2016 if the bill is fully passed by Congress before the end of the year.

This act amends sections of the IRS tax code and can change what you’ll owe come April. Yes, the extenders bill is packed with many tax breaks targeted to special interests, such as the research and development credit, so you may be tempted to think the changes don’t apply to you — but they do!

If you own a home or are hoping to close on a home for sale in Santa Fe, NM, your tax picture for 2016 may look different than it did previously. Here are a few of the breaks up for consideration in Congress that could help lower your federal tax bill.

Mortgage debt forgiveness

When a mortgage lender writes off all or any part of a forgiven debt, the amount that is forgiven is “passed back” to the borrower as taxable for federal income tax purposes. The rule applies to all debt, including home mortgages. However, in 2007, in the midst of the housing crisis, Congress pushed through the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which allowed for an exemption.

Under the rule, qualifying homeowners who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or qualified for some kind of repayment adjustment don’t have to pick up the forgiven debt as income on their tax returns. The rule was intended to be temporary but has been renewed several times, and Congress is currently debating whether it will renew this rule for 2016.

Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums

In a tough market, lenders are a bit more cautious. Buyers who financed homes in the last few years found that many lenders required private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect the lender in the event of a default.

But here’s the rub: Even though the lender required you to purchase PMI as a condition of getting a mortgage, you couldn’t write it off. Unlike the interest paid on your mortgage, mortgage insurance payments are generally not deductible for tax purposes.

It was possible to claim and deduct PMI payments in 2015. If the tax extenders bill is approved and enacted through 2016, those who qualify and itemize may now claim a tax deduction for the cost of paying PMI for their homes.
– Read more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/2015-real-estate-tax-deductions/#sthash.VD5ghDIL.dpuf

Source: Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Deductions For Homebuyers – Money Matters – Trulia Blog

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