When it comes to real estate, there are plenty of people out there that are unaware of the many tax advantages available for real estate investment properties. One of the most popular ones is that of the 1031-Exchange. For those of you unfamiliar with this, the 1031 Exchange is actually a section within the United States IRS Code which states that certain eligible properties may be exchanged for properties of equal or higher value without having to pay any taxes on the transaction.
This tax treatment of trading properties for larger ones is an absolute god-send for the serial real-estate investor. Imagine having the ability to regularly trade up one investment property for a larger one every time you had the resources to be able to upgrade? Well, that is very well possible thanks to this very important IRS provision! Larger properties mean generally higher rents allowing you to increase your annual cash flow, so it is definitely a good idea to trade up for bigger properties whenever you get a chance.
Other tax advantages for rental property owners include tax deductions on interest expenses, depreciation expenses, repairs, travel expenses, and insurance costs.
Any interest expense on a rental property is tax deductible. This means deductions for mortgage interest payments, and interest on credit cards for expenses that were used in a rental capacity.
As a real estate investor, you have the opportunity to claim depreciation on your property as a deductible expense by deducting a portion of the value of your property over the span of a couple of years. While this tax deduction provides the investor with immediate benefits, this benefit is eventually returned to Uncle Sam when the property is sold. This benefit is lost primarily because depreciation serves to reduce the total cost basis for the property, so any capital gains are taxed from the lowered cost basis. This concept is known as depreciation recapture.
Any repairs on your investment property are a deductible expense in the year that you pay for the repair. This means things like painting rooms, and replacing faulty lighting. Any improvements to the property, on the other hand, are not deductible.
Real Estate owners are eligible for tax deductions every time they have to travel for their rental activity. This deduction could be broken down one of two ways: either as actual expenses (receipts may be required), or the standard mileage deduction (which is currently 56.5 cents per mile for the 2013 fiscal year).
From the above deductions, it should be clear that there are plenty of tax advantages available for real estate investors! If you haven't already, it's definitely a good idea to start claiming all the above deductions you are eligible for. They may very well make a difference between losing money on a property versus earning a profit.
By: Ketul Kothari