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  • Writer's pictureRoger Reed

Tax Tips That First Time Home Buyers Need To Know

TLDR: First time home buyers can deduct certain expenses such as real estate taxes, interest expenses, certain insurance and other credits/ funds

Buying the first home is one of the biggest steps in life for many people. Whether a fixer-upper or dream home, homeownership is a milestone that can come with a learning curve. When spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their home, first-time homeowners should make themselves familiar with authorized tax deductions and IRS programs that can assist with both home ownership and the use of housing allowances to minimize your tax bill.

When it comes to home ownership, the IRS considers a home to be a house, condominium, cooperative apartment, mobile home, houseboat or house trailer that contains a sleeping space, toilet and cooking facilities.

Most home buyers take out a mortgage loan to buy their home and then make monthly payments to the mortgage holder. This payment may include several costs of owning a home. The following costs are deductible for homeowners:

  • State and local real estate taxes, subject to the $10,000 limit

  • Home mortgage interest, within the allowed limits

  • Mortgage insurance premiums

Taxpayers must file Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Income Tax Return for Seniors, and itemize their deductions to deduct home ownership expenses. However, taxpayers can’t take the standard deduction if they itemize so be sure to check with your tax professional to determine your best course of action.

Non-deductible payments and expenses Generally, any consumptive expenses are not eligible for deduction. More specifically, homeowners can’t deduct any of the following items:

  • Insurance, other than mortgage insurance, including fire and comprehensive coverage, and title insurance

  • The amount applied to reduce the principal of the mortgage

  • Wages you pay for domestic help

  • Depreciation

  • The cost of utilities, such as gas, electricity, or water

  • Most settlement or closing costs

  • Forfeited deposits, down payments, or earnest money

  • Internet or Wi-Fi system or service

  • Homeowners’ association fees, condominium association fees, or common charges

  • Home repairs

Certain Deductible Credits and Funds

There are also certain credits and funds that first time homeowners can take advantage of to lower their tax bill, including:

Mortgage interest credit

The mortgage interest credit is meant to help individuals with lower income afford home ownership. Those who qualify can claim the credit each year for part of the home mortgage interest paid.

A homeowner may be eligible for the credit if they were issued a qualified Mortgage Credit Certificate from their state or local government. An MCC is issued only for a new mortgage for the purchase of a main home. The MCC will show the certificate credit rate the homeowner will use to figure their credit. It will also show the certified indebtedness amount and only the interest on that amount qualifies for the credit.

Homeowners Assistance Fund

The Homeowners Assistance Fund program provides financial assistance to eligible homeowners for paying certain expenses related to their principal residence to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and also displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020.

Minister's or military housing allowance

Ministers and members of the uniformed services who receive a nontaxable housing allowance can still deduct their real estate taxes and home mortgage interest. They don’t have to reduce their deductions based on the allowance.

Homeownership can be overwhelming and exhausting, but we are here to help easing some of that burden.

If you have any question, or are unsure about the first time homeownership deduction, give the team at RP Financial Services a call at (720) 712-7724 or book a FREE consultation using the link:

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