last minute home owner tax primer

Posted by Leslie Bauer on Sunday, March 30th, 2008 at 10:57pm.

Last-Minute Home Owner Tax Primer
As April 15 approaches, here’s what home owners need to know about the deductibility of mortgage interest and property taxes.

Taxpayers may deduct on Schedule A of Form 1040 mortgage interest on the purchase or home equity debt on two residences, their primary home and another dwelling, including a boat or a mobile home. These dwellings must have sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities to qualify for a loan interest deduction. Interest paid on vacant land isn’t deductible.

Real estate taxes are deductible on all properties owned by the taxpayer not just the first two. The deduction must be taken in the year the taxes are paid. Taxes placed in escrow are deductible when they are paid to the taxing authority, not when the money is put in escrow. Penalties and interest on late tax payments aren’t deductible.

Also, in order to deduct taxes and interest, the taxpayer must itemize instead of taking the standard deduction.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Shannon Buggs (03/27/08)

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