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Navigating Tax Benefits for Homeowners: Maximize Your Savings

Owning a home can be a significant financial commitment, whether you're already a homeowner or planning to buy a new home this summer. However, understanding the available tax benefits can help alleviate some of the costs associated with homeownership. Reviewing tax deductions, programs, and housing allowances can lead to substantial savings.

Deductible Home-Related Expenses

Most homeowners finance their homes with a mortgage and make monthly payments that may include various homeownership costs. Here are some of the key expenses that are tax-deductible:

  • State and Local Real Estate Taxes: Up to the $10,000 limit.

  • Home Mortgage Interest: Within the allowable limits.

To claim these deductions, homeowners must itemize their deductions on their tax returns.

Non-Deductible Home-Related Expenses

It's important to note that several common home-related expenses are not deductible, including:

  • Insurance (fire, comprehensive, and title insurance)

  • Principal mortgage payments

  • Domestic help wages

  • Depreciation

  • Utility costs (gas, electricity, water)

  • Settlement or closing costs

  • Forfeited deposits, down payments, or earnest money

  • Internet or Wi-Fi service

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

  • Home repairs

Mortgage Interest Credit

The Mortgage Interest Credit is designed to help lower-income individuals afford homeownership. Qualifying homeowners can claim this credit annually for a portion of the mortgage interest paid. Eligibility requires a qualified Mortgage Credit Certificate from the state or local government, issued for a new mortgage on a primary residence.

Housing Allowances for Ministers and Military Members

Ministers and members of the uniformed services who receive a nontaxable housing allowance can still deduct their real estate taxes and home mortgage interest. This deduction does not need to be reduced by the amount of the housing allowance.

By staying informed about these tax benefits and understanding what expenses are deductible, homeowners can effectively reduce their taxable income and save money. Always consider consulting with a tax professional to maximize your deductions and credits based on your specific situation.

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