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Landlord Taxes

Tax Breaks for Landlords

Tax breaks for landlords
Tax breaks for landlords can help them save money.

Landlords are entrepreneurs trying to find a way to build successful businesses. Collecting rent, managing expenses, and keeping tenants happy are just a few of the many things on the landlords’ “to do” list. Believe it or not, the tax code is one way landlords can follow to try and minimize expenses. We will share a few tax breaks for landlords below. We recommend consulting with a tax professional or CPA to best handle and maximize your tax return potential.

Mortgage Interest

If you have a mortgage on your rental property, you are most likely paying interest on your mortgage payments. Landlords can deduct mortgage interest at tax time, which for many landlords, is their largest deduction.

20% Pass Through Deduction

From 2018 through 2026, the 20% pass through tax deduction allows landlords to be taxed on 80% of rental net income. This deduction is only for pass-through entities where landlords run their rental business as a sole proprietor, LLC, or S corporation.

Maintenance Expenses

Landlords can deduct the expenses related to repairs to rental property. For example, the cost to repaint the house, fix a leaking pipe, or replace a broken toilet are deductible. To make life easier, landlords can use income and expense tracking tools. A free tool designed just for landlords is RentalIncomeExpense.com.

To maximize tax breaks for landlords, please consult a tax professional or CPA.

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Landlord Taxes

20% Pass Through Tax Deduction for Landlords

20 Percent Deduction
The 20% pass through tax deduction is a great benefit for landlords.

In the United States, the tax code has been widely seen as favorable for landlords. For instance, landlords can reduce their taxes by way of depreciation, and they can offset salary income with losses. In addition, they can shelter capital gains with a 1031 exchange. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 introduced a significant benefit of a 20% pass through tax deduction for landlords. This deduction enables landlords to deduct up to 20% of net rental income from income tax.

What is the 20% pass through tax deduction?

From 2018 through 2026, the 20% pass through tax deduction allows landlords to be taxed on 80% of rental net income. Specifically, this deduction is only for pass-through entities where landlords run their rental business as a sole proprietor, LLC, or S corporation. Overall, a pass-through entity is a common business type where individuals pay their profits on their individual taxpayer rates.

Who can qualify?

The IRS has a safe harbor rule which simplifies the determination for how landlords can qualify for the tax deduction:

  1. Maintain separate records to reflect the income and expenses for each rental real estate enterprise.
  2. Perform 250 or more hours of rental services each year for each rental real estate enterprise. The safe harbor provides a list of rental services that qualify for this requirement.
  3. Keep detailed records on the hours and descriptions of all services performed.

The amount landlords can deduct depends on income qualifications. For example, landlords can deduct the full 20% if taxable income is less than $157,500 as a single filer or $315,000 if married filing jointly. However, for higher income levels, a calculation will determine the deduction amount. In other words, tax software or accounting professionals will need to perform the calculation.

To qualify, keep good records!

Well organized landlords track rental income and expenses, and good data helps landlords understand how well the rental business is doing. In conclusion, the 20% pass through tax deduction for landlords and the safe harbor provisions to qualify reinforce the importance of good recordkeeping. There are online tools that help track rental income and expenses. One of them, RentalIncomeExpense.com, is even free!

Categories
Landlord Taxes

Make Tax Time Easier with Landlord Software

Tax Time Easier
Tracking rental income and expenses with accounting software makes tax time easier.

Well, we’re approaching that time of year again. Prepping income tax returns is an annual event most people do not get excited about but must be done. As we make new resolutions at the beginning of every year, hopefully one of yours is to use landlord software to make tax time easier.

Landlord Software Tracks Rental Income and Expenses

Landlord software to track rental income and expenses makes life really easy. It can generate reports that tell you how well your rental property business is doing. For example, a profit and loss statement is a financial review of the business’ revenues and expenses over a period of time.

You have a lot of choice. For tax time, there are some excellent and free landlord income and expense tracking software such as RentalIncomeExpense.com. With RentalIncomeExpense.com, you can generate a Schedule E Helper report that mimics the Schedule E you will have to file with your taxes. Schedule E is one of the many schedules that are part of the IRS Form 1040. Taxpayers use Schedule E to report income and expenses from supplemental income. Landlords need to file Schedule E with their form 1040 to report income (or loss) from rental property.

The information and speed you will achieve with landlord software will make tax time less of a chore!

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Landlord Taxes Landlord Tips

Landlord Rental Income Expense Tips

Landlord rental income expense tips
Rental income expense tracking can make the tax reporting process easier.

In the US, landlords are obligated to report rental income received from tenants. The IRS’ Schedule E of Form 1040 captures associated income and expenses for each rental property. Most people do not get excited when it comes to preparing taxes. The IRS and many software providers provide landlord rental income expense tips and tools to make the reporting process easier.

The IRS provides guidance for landlords on how they can correctly report income and realize as many deductions as possible. Most taxpayers try to minimize what they owe to the government. Landlords can deduct expenses such as mortgage interest, property tax, and depreciation, which can be hugely beneficial. It is always good practice to seek the professional advice of an accountant with any questions or concerns.

In addition to deducting expenses, other landlord rental income expense tips include easy and complete record keeping. Landlords can use a spreadsheet to record income and expenses, but there are better tools, especially those designed specifically for the small landlord. For example, RentalIncomeExpense.com is a free tool for landlords. With this software, you can easily record expenses and generate valuable reports at tax time.

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Landlord Taxes

Understanding Landlord Auto and Travel Expenses

Okay, maybe not the right vehicle for work commutes in terms of mileage expenses!

One of the categories on the IRS Form 1040 Schedule E is for “Auto and Travel” expenses. Here is a quick explanation to understanding this expense category. By tracking and understanding landlord auto and travel expenses, you will increase your expenses and thus lower the taxes you owe.

Do You Have a Home Office?

First, it is important to understand if you have a separate office for your landlording activity or if you work from home. Working from home is more advantageous.

  • If you work from home: You can deduct any travel that you make from your home for activities related to your rental properties. In this situation, your home office must be your principal place of business and be where you do administrative tasks. If this is the case, you can deduct trips from your home office to your rental properties and back.
  • If you work from an office for your rental activity: Unfortunately, if you have an office where you do your day-to-day rental management, you are limited by the “commuting rule.” Commuting expenses are non-deductible expenses. In general, trips from your office or home to and form your rental properties are not deductible due to this rule. So understanding landlord auto and travel expenses can affect deductibility opportunities.

How Much Can You Expense?

You might think it will take a lot of effort to calculate your automobile and travel expenses. Fortunately, the IRS provides a “standard mileage” rate which is a shortcut to calculating this expense.

With the standard mileage rate, you keep track of the miles that you travel (like trips to Home Depot for rental supplies). Once you have your mileage, you multiply it against the “standard mileage” rate for the year.

You can also do the “actual expense” method. With this method, you track the actual cost of using your car. However, most people do not use the “actual expense” method because it requires more work. You would need to track gas, oil, repairs, and depreciation using your own methodology.

Landlord Auto and Travel Expenses Saves You Money at Tax Time

In conclusion, a lot of landlords do not take the time to track auto and travel expenses. However, tracking it is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve calculated your expense for a trip, you can enter it into free landlord software like RentalIncomeExpense.com so it is stored online and a report can be generated at tax time.

Categories
Landlord Taxes

Schedule E for Rental Property

Schedule E
Landlords need to file a schedule E with their form 1040 every tax year to report income (or loss) from rental property.

Schedule E is one of the many schedules that are part of the IRS form 1040. Taxpayers use Schedule E to report income and expenses from supplemental income. In contrast to earned income, supplemental income is not received through employment. Examples of supplemental income include rentals, royalties, and income from S corporations and partnerships. Landlords need to file a schedule E with their form 1040 every tax year to report income (or loss) from rental property.

Income on Schedule E

Schedule E is organized into five parts. Part I is the section focusing on income or loss from rental income. In this section, the primary income to complete falls on line 3: “Rents Received”. On this line, landlords report the rental income received from tenants for each identified property.

Expenses on Schedule E

To complete schedule E, landlords need to classify expenses based on 15 categories provided by the IRS. These expense categories include advertising, cleaning and maintenance, and insurance, just to name a few. In contrast to the simplicity of the rent reporting line, for expenses, landlords need to select a category for each expense for each property.

Completing schedule E is reasonably straightforward. In fact, it becomes very easy to complete if landlords use accounting software to track rental income and expenses. One in particular, RentalIncomeExpense.com, provides a schedule E helper report that mimics the schedule E. At tax time, landlords can provide this report to accountants for easy tax preparation. Best of all, RentalIncomeExpense.com is free!

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Landlord Taxes

Landlord Accounting Software vs Accountant

Landlord Accounting Software vs Accountant
Landlords should still track rental property income and expenses even if they use an accountant.

If I use an accountant for tax preparation, should I still use landlord accounting software? We think so. The two primary benefits are information and speed.

Information from Accounting Software

If you own property and rent it to receive income, then you are running a business. Anyone running a business should track income and expenses to understand how well or poorly the business is doing. Landlording is no exception. There are a variety of ways landlords can track rental property income and expenses. We recommend using landlord accounting software because of the powerful information it can provide for you through reports that tell you how your business is doing. For example, a profit and loss statement is a great financial review of the business’ revenues and expenses over a period of time. You may be deterred to pay for landlord accounting software when you are already paying an accountant. Do not fret because there are some excellent and free landlord income and expense tracking software such as RentalIncomeExpense.com and Avail.

Speed from Accounting Software

Maintaining good accounting records makes tax time easier. The reports you can generate from your rental property software will make your accountant’s work that much easier. You don’t have to give your accountant a shoebox full of random pieces of paper to sift through and figure out (which takes time!!). Instead, hand over a few reports that provide the details your accountant needs. For example, with RentalIncomeExpense.com, you can generate a Schedule E Helper report that mimics the Schedule E you will have to file with your taxes. And if your accountant charges by the hour, then by simply using free landlord accounting software to generate reports will save you more money because of the time savings!

The information and speed you will achieve when using landlord accounting software will complement the work your accountant does. You will make your accountant’s life easier, and they will likely thank you!

Categories
Landlord Taxes

Landlords and the 20% Pass Through Tax Break

landlords save taxes with 20% pass through tax break
For landlords, the 20% pass through entity tax break is a major deduction!

In the United States, the tax code has been widely seen as favorable for landlords. From reducing taxes via depreciation (a non-cash expense) to having losses offset salary income to being able to shelter capital gains with a 1031 exchange, there are numerous tax benefits to landlording. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a major new benefit was added: the ability to deduct up to 20% of your net rental income from your income tax (“the 20% pass through tax break”).

What is a “20% pass through tax break”?

Woah! The term “20% pass through tax break” can be confusing. What does this mean?

From 2018 through 2026 (when this tax break is scheduled to end), this tax break may allow landlords to only be taxed on 80% of rental net income; hence the “20% deduction”. This deduction is only for “pass-through entities” – these are landlords who run their rental business as a sole proprietor, LLC owner, partner or S corp shareholder. A “pass-through entity” is a common business type where individuals pay their profits on their individual taxpayer rates.

Which landlords qualify for this?

When the 2017 tax cuts were passed, qualifying for the “20% pass through tax break” was originally complicated and confusing.

Fortunately, the IRS came out with a “safe harbor” rule which simplified the determination of whether a landlord can qualify for the tax deduction:

  1. Separate books and records must be maintained to reflect the income and expenses for each rental real estate enterprise.
  2. At least 250 hours of rental services must be performed each year with respect to each rental real estate enterprise. The safe harbor provides a list of rental services that qualify for this requirement.
  3. Records must be kept regarding the hours of all services performed, description of all services performed, who performed the services, and when the services were performed.

Additionally, there are income qualifications. The full 20% is available if your taxable income is less than $157,500 as a single filer or $315,000 if married filing jointly. If your income is higher, a complicated calculation by your CPA or tax software will calculate the amount that can be deducted.

To qualify for the “20% pass through tax deduction”, keep good records!

Good landlords keep track of income and expenses. It helps you understand what kind of profit or loss you are making, and is invaluable at tax time. The “20% pass through tax break” for landlords – and the important “safe harbor” provisions to qualify – reinforce the importance of good recordkeeping.

Fortunately, for the first safe harbor provision, there are great online tools that can help you track rental income and expenses. One of them, RentalIncomeExpense.com, is even free!