Five tax breaks for homeowners

Owning your own home is a big responsibility and at times it can be a lot of work. Fortunately, there are some great tax advantages for owning, in addition to having a place of your own.

1.Mortgage Interest Deduction: This has long been one of the most valuable deductions for homeowners, especially with a new mortgage where the payments consist of mostly interest.

2.Home Improvement Loan Interest: The same way your mortgage interest is deductible, so can be the interest on a home improvement loan. Consult your tax advisor because some wear and tear items such as carpet and paint may not qualify.

3.Mortgage Points/Origination Charges: These charges are treated similar to interest on the loan, making them deductible. Consult your tax advisor because the deduction is treated differently depending on if the charges were for a refinance or a purchase.

4.Energy Efficiency Upgrades: Up to 10 percent of the improvement cost can be applied as a tax credit, which is a direct reduction in the amount of tax you owe. There are a wide variety of items such as energy efficient appliances, furnaces, insulation, and windows. Be aware that this credit does max out at $500.

5.Capital Gains Exemption: If you were to sell a home and realize a profit you can claim that profit tax-free. Be aware there are many requirements for the exemption, such as the home must have been your primary residence for 2 out of the last 5 years.

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