With Thanksgiving upon us, and year-end approaching, now is a perfect time to start organizing for your 2017 finances. While you’re gathering receipts and records for your taxes, don’t forget about your home! There are several potential homeowner tax breaks you can submit for 2017 and reap yet another benefit to home ownership. This is especially important if you use any part of your home for business.

Homeowner Tax Breaks: Home Improvements

Unfortunately, if you use your home as your personal residence only – meaning you don’t conduct any business or rent out a portion of your home – then these improvements aren’t considered deductible. “Home Improvement,” for tax purposes, includes work that adds to the value of your home – adding on a room, remodeling your kitchen, re-landscaping, upgrading appliances, etc.  That doesn’t mean, however, that home improvements don’t provide you a tax benefit down the road, so don’t shy away from making improvements. Landscaping, bathroom remodels, and kitchen remodels are among the improvements you can make that give you the most bang for your housing buck.

Home Office Tax Breaks

A home office of 300 square feet for less, and you take the IRS simplified deduction, you are allowed to write-off $5.00 per square foot, up to $1,500. There are a few rules to keep in mind when determining if you are eligible to take advantage of this deduction:

  • Regular and Exclusive Use: For example, if you use a spare bedroom as your office and also as a guest room, this makes you ineligible. The space must be exclusively used for business.
  • Principal Place of Business: What this means is that the space is used exclusively for management and administrative tasks.

There are some detailed articles available on how best to determine your eligibility and actual deduction amount – we recommend NerdWallet’s excellent and thorough explanation.

Homeowner Tax Breaks 101: Interest, Property Taxes, and more!

Homeowner Tax BreaksHere are a few more tax breaks to keep in mind as you prepare your returns this year:

  • Mortgage Interest – Remember – the interest from your house payment is deductible!
  • Points – If you paid “points” for your mortgage to secure a better rate from the bank, what you paid in those points is a tax deduction.
  • Energy Credits – Those new appliances? If they are EnergyStar rated, you’re in luck, you get a tax break! Find out more about the EnergyStar program at
  • Property Taxes – Your state property taxes can be deducted. When you deduct state taxes like this, it can save you quite a bit on your Federal return.
  • Home Repairs from Damage (referred to as “Casualty Losses”) – If your home suffered damage and repairs weren’t reimbursed by your home insurance carrier, you may be eligible for a deduction of those expenses. You loss deduction has to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. It’s worth it to keep receipts and to document everything after a catastrophic event in case your out-of-pocket expenses hit this 10%.


Homeownership is good!

What we’ve done to help keep us organized for tax time is create a folder specifically for home-related expenses and receipts. We also use a tool by Intuit (the makers of TurboTax) called “It’s Deductible” which helps us track all of our deductions throughout the year. Double check with your tax adviser on these potential tax breaks – don’t miss out!


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