Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tax breaks are available to homeowners

Buying a home comes with some tax perks if you’re willing to file the IRS long form

April 15 may seem like a long time away, but if you’ve just bought a home, you can make tax time less stressful now. Proper tax planning now may reap deduction benefits next year. Tax breaks are available for property owners, but only if you itemize your deductions instead of filing the short form.

Tax breaks for property owners include:

  • Mortgage interest­–For most homeowners, the biggest portion of your house payment goes to interest. All of the interest is tax-deductible. In the beginning of your loan, a much smaller part begins repaying the debt.
  • Real estate taxes­–Also known as property taxes, this is the annual tax that most state and local governments charge on the assessed value of your real property.
  • Points–These are lender fees associated with getting a mortgage. Each point equals 1% of the loan principal. Points can add up to thousands of dollars, with one to three points common on most home loans. You can deduct points in the year you paid them if the loan is to purchase or build you main residence.
  • Moving expenses–You could deduct moving expenses if you are self-employed or an employee, if your move is related to starting work at a new job location.

You also have a new address and to make life a lot simpler before tax time, you need to notify several agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service and your employer. If you’ve had a name change too, notify the Social Security Administration so that your Social Security number will match when you file your tax returns.

The IRS requires that you file Form 8822. That form is downloadable at IRS.gov or by calling 800.829.3676. If you’ve had a name change, it’s necessary to filed Form SS-5, which is an application for a new Social Security card. That form is returned to your local Social Security office.

With a bit of advanced planning, tax deductions can make your home sweet home sweeter than ever!

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