First Time Home Buyer Tax Credits and Deductions

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Is There a Tax Credit for Buying a New House?

New Home Buyer Tax Credits

There is no specific, broad federal tax credit in the United States solely for buying a new house.

Tax credits and incentives related to homeownership can vary over time and may depend on specific circumstances, such as being a first-time homebuyer or making energy-efficient improvements.

Here’s an overview of tax credits many first-time homebuyers can claim.

10 Tax Breaks You Have as a New Homebuyer

Tax credits and breaks for first-time home buyers can be an attractive incentive that makes purchasing a home more affordable.

These credits are designed to support new buyers and stimulate the housing market.

The details and availability of such credits can vary widely depending on the country, state, or even city, as well as the specific time period.

1. Residential Clean Energy Tax Credits

Energy tax credits are incentives provided by governments to encourage individuals and businesses to make energy-efficient choices.

These tax credits can help offset the costs of implementing energy-saving technologies and practices.

By doing so, governments aim to reduce energy consumption, decrease reliance on fossil fuels, promote the adoption of renewable energy sources, and mitigate environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some common types of energy tax credits:

  • Energy-Efficient Home Improvements: Homeowners may receive credits for making energy-saving improvements, such as installing energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, and certain roofing materials.
  • Renewable Energy Systems: Credits might be available for installing renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal heat pumps.

2. Interest on Your Mortgage

Most people don’t realize that within certain limits, you can deduct your mortgage interest.

The way it works is if you bought your home before December 15, 2017, you’re entitled to deduct interest payments up to $1 million in loans that you used for purchasing a home, building a house, home improvement, or buying a second home.

However, if you purchased after this date, there are changes. First, the amount you can claim has been reduced to $750,000. This runs until 2025, when the $1 million limit will return.

There are no differences between filing separately or jointly. However, married couples filing separately will see the overall amount cut in half.

3. Private Mortgage Insurance Deduction

You’ll usually have Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if you borrowed an amount worth 80% or more of the total purchase price.

PMI premiums that were taken out following 2006 were tax deductible for homeowners who have itemized for more than 20 years.

This deduction expired in 2016 and was extended to 2017. After 2018, PMI premiums aren’t tax deductible any longer.

If there’s an extension, the amount you can deduct depends on your household income. It begins to be phased out after $100,000.

Married couples filing separately will see the phase-out start at $50,000. After $110,000, there’s no deduction.

Married couples filing separately will see the deduction removed if they earn more than $55,000 per year.

4. The Points Deduction

The ‘Points’ system is a fee charged by mortgage lenders. Of the loan principal, one point equals 1%.

Unfortunately, most home loans have between one and three points, which inevitably leads to thousands of extra dollars you must find from somewhere.

If you have a mortgage, you can fully deduct the value of the points from your tax.

If you have a refinanced mortgage, you can also deduct the points. This can only be done over the full term of the loan, though, rather than all at the same time.

If you refinance your mortgage, you can remove the balance from the old loan and begin with the new points on your refinanced loan.

5. Interest on Home Equity Loans

Before 2018, the interest could be deducted on home equity loans up to a $100,000 limit.

After that, the money could be used for anything you wanted, and you’d still get to take advantage of the deduction.

For example, a homeowner could deduct interest from a home equity loan and then use it to pay for a college education or to pay down credit card debt.

That deduction has been removed from 2018 up to 2025.

However, one piece of good news is that the deduction is still active if you use the money to buy, build, or improve a home/second home.

Your primary or secondary home must also secure this loan.

So now, you can take the deduction if you want to add another room to your home or to refit your kitchen.

Take note that this deduction counts towards the interest deduction limit on mortgages listed in the first part of this guide.

6. Property Tax Deduction

One of the most significant introductions of the TCJA was a $10,000 annual cap on how much you can deduct from property, state, and local taxes.

Previously, there was never any cap. Now, this cap lasts from 2018 to 2025.

Now, you can only deduct up to $10,000 from property tax, state income tax, and state/local sales taxes.

There’s no index for inflation, and both single and married taxpayers have the same limit.

If your lender demands that you set up some form of escrow or impound account, you can’t deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is used to pay them.

Any city or state refund on property tax is deducted from the possible Federal reduction.

7. Tax Deductions for Home Offices

Are you using part of your home to run a business on an exclusive basis?

You may be able to deduct a portion of the costs, such as part of your insurance, any repair costs, and general depreciation.

8. Selling Costs

Whenever you decide to sell your home, you have to consider taxable capital gains. But you can take a reduction on this taxable amount.

There are exclusions, so you may not have to worry about this at all if the amount is low enough to fall within that zone.

You’ll find that there are a variety of selling costs involved when it comes to selling your home, such as inspection fees, title insurance, real estate commissions, legal fees, and more.

Every selling cost can be deducted from your total gain. The gain is the selling price minus closing costs, selling costs, and what’s known as your tax basis.

On a side note, your tax basis is calculated by taking the original purchase price and adding on the cost of capital improvements minus depreciation.

9. What is Capital Gains Exclusion?

As mentioned before, capital gains exclusion could reduce the amount of tax you have to pay when you sell your own home.

Married couples who file jointly will be able to keep $500,000 in profit when they sell their primary residence (if they lived in it for two of the last five years).

Single filers can keep $250,000, with the same limit applied to married couples who decide to file separately.

10. Mortgage Tax Credit Deductions

There’s a program called the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) designed for low-income homebuyers who are purchasing for the first time.

It provides a 20% mortgage interest credit of up to 20% of interest payments. The size of the credit does depend on the area of the country you happen to live in.

The cap on this tax credit is $2,000 per year if the certificate credit rate exceeds 20%.

To claim this credit, you must apply to your local or state government to obtain the certificate.

This credit is available every year that you have the loan and for every year that you live in the house, you purchased with the certificate.

In addition, any credit will be automatically subtracted from the income tax you owe.

These deductions are a general overview of what you can claim. There are more complex laws regarding when and how much of credit you can claim.

To find out more information about the credits you can claim, visit the official IRS website.

Online Tax Filing for Help at Tax Time

When you turn to online tax filing for help, it will be like an interview. They will ask easy-to-answer questions while filling in the correct tax forms for you behind the scenes.

The answers you provide will enable them to help you claim the home buyer tax credits and deductions you qualify for.

If you are unsure how to answer a question, there are tax experts readily available to help you.

Tax filing online provides you with easy importing of your w-2 information and step-by-step instructions to ensure that you get every Homeowner tax deduction and credit that you are eligible for.

Online tax filing ensures that you get the largest refund possible.

They even have a free tax refund calculator available that allows you to know the amount of money that you will be getting back.