Tax season is here! And that means it’s time to see returns on your big investment and how it has saved you money throughout the year. But before you file those returns, you’ll want to make sure that you’re accounting for every possible deduction you can when it comes to your home. To get started, see this list of deductions from the team at Realtor.com.
1. Mortgage interest
This is the big kahuna: All of the interest you pay on your mortgage is tax-deductible for loans up to $1 million, says Mark Jaeger of TaxAct. You do have to itemize deductions to take it, but it’s almost always worth it, especially with a new loan. Most mortgages are structured so that you pay the interest first. So if you have a $300,000 fixed-rate 30-year loan at 4% interest, in your first year, you’d be deducting $10,920.
2. Private mortgage insurance
If you couldn’t make a 20% down payment on your home, most lenders require that you pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). The upside is, it’s tax-deductible as long as your adjusted gross income is less than $100,000. (For each $1,000 you make after that, you can deduct 10% less of your PMI, up to $109,000.) PMI is generally between 0.3% and 1.5% of the loan amount annually, so on a $300,000 loan, you’d be deducting between and $900 and $4,500.
If you bought or refinanced a home in 2016, you may have paid points—fees that you pay when you get your loan, either to lower your interest rate or to cover origination fees. Each point is 1% of the loan amount, so a $300,000 loan with two points would mean a $6,000 deduction for you.
Refinance points, however, have to be amortized over the life of the loan. So for that same $300,000 loan, if you’re refinancing with a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’d be deducting $200 a year for the next 30 years (or until you sell the property).
4. Home improvement loan interest
In addition to deducting the interest on your mortgage, if you take out a HELOC or a home equity loan that you spend improving your home, you can deduct up to $100,000 of interest on that loan. A $50,000, 15-year home equity loan at 7% interest will give you a $3,157 deduction in the first year.
5. Property taxes
Every cent you pay in property taxes has an upside: It’s deductible! Property tax rates vary in the U.S. from 0.28% to 2.38%. On a property assessed at $300,000, you’d be deducting between $840 (in Hawaii) and $7,140 (in New Jersey).
6. Energy-efficient upgrades
Get some green for going green: The IRS wants to give you a 30% tax credit for installing eligible solar panels, fuel cells, solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and wind turbines. There is no upper limit to this credit, so if you dropped $30,000 this year on some sweet solar panels, you can take a $9,000 tax credit.
Another kind of energy efficiency credit is to take 10% of the cost of qualifying roofs, insulation, doors, windows, and skylights (up to $200 for windows and skylights). Qualifying energy-efficient biomass stoves, central air conditioning units, air source heat pumps, and water heaters are good for a $300 credit.
Furnaces and hot water boilers get you a $150 credit, and the right air circulating fan is worth $50. Just keep in mind that there’s a lifetime limit of $500 for this credit, so just make sure you haven’t maxed out already.
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