Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Don't Miss Home Tax Breaks This Year! - Part 2

Today we bring you part 2 of our tax tips for homeowners. We hope you find it helpful, and as always, check back with SR Real Estate Group for the latest in up-to-date real estate information!

Energy tax credits
The energy tax credit of up to a lifetime $500 had expired in 2011. But the Feds extended it for 2012 and 2013. If you upgraded one of the following systems this year, it’s an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.
Some of the eligible products and systems are capped even lower than $500. New windows are capped at $200 — and not per window, but overall. Read about the fine print in order to claim your energy tax credit.
  • Determine if the system is eligible. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered. And talk to your vendor.
  • The product or system must have been installed, not just contracted for, in the tax year you’ll be claiming it.
  • Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof.

Vacation home tax deductions
The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.
  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Those expenses get deducted using Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than 14 days and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and divide them proportionate to how often you used and how often you rented the house.

Home buyer tax credit
There were federal first-time home buyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
  • If you claimed the home buyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest.
  • If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, within 36 months of the purchase date, you also have to pay back the credit. Example: If you bought a home in 2010 and sold in 2012, you pay it back with your 2012 taxes.
  • That repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who get sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence.
Members of the armed forces who served overseas got an extra year to use the first-time home buyer tax credit. If you were abroad for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, and you bought your home by April 30, 2011, and closed the deal by June 30, 2011, you can claim your first-time home buyer tax credit.
The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

Property tax deduction
You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.
If you bought a house in 2012, check your HUD-1 Settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.

These tax tip excerpts brought to you by You should not treat any opinion expressed here as a specific inducement to follow a particular tax strategy, but only as an expression of opinion.  SR Real Estate Group does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind.  All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only.  Nothing herein should be construed as expert tax advice.  You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any decision. SR Real Estate Group and Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in this blog.

Rahul and Smitha Ramchandani are a licensed real estate Broker-Salesperson/Sales Representative Team with Keller Williams in New Jersey. They are Buyer Specialists and a Home Marketing Experts. You can reach Smitha and Rahul and their team online at:,, and

Their team specialize in North Central New Jersey including towns such as Boonton, Chatham, Chester, Convent Station,Denville, East Hanover,Florham Park, Hanover, Harding Twp., Mendham, Montville, Morristown, Morris Plains,Morris Twp., Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Randolph,Rockaway, Whippany