Ask Questions before Claiming a Home Improvement Tax Deduction

A home improvement deduction may fall under any of several different topics, so it is important to explore the situations that are right for you. For example, if a mortgage has been refinanced to pay for a project, the owner of the home may qualify for a legitimate deduction. Likewise, deductions may be claimed if the home is being redesigned to make it handicapped accessible.

A home tax deduction for medical or handicapped purposes may create a substantial tax savings, but only a qualified professional can best counsel you regarding these situations. In addition, it may also be possible to claim a deduction if you are building or improving a home office inside, or attached to the main residence.

Victims of Hurricane Katrina may qualify for a special tax deduction but should consult the IRS regarding the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act. In brief, it increases the permitted qualified home improvement loans. Again, a tax specialist can help determine if these victims can claim a special home improvement tax deduction based on their individual situations.

Publications

There are a wide range of publications from the IRS that should be consulted, in whole or in part, before planning to claim a deduction. These include: Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deductions; Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, which will discuss accessibility-related situations of a home improvement tax deduction; Publication 530, Tax Information for First-Time Homeowners; and Publication 554, Older Americans’ Tax Guide. All of these may address a deduction based on individual circumstances and your family financial consultant or accountant can help determine the rest.

It is possible that a deduction may fall within several areas on the same form, whether some of it is written off under a refinanced mortgage, handicapped accessibility, or flood damage. It is better not to figure these out yourself, unless you have advanced knowledge of the tax laws and/or are ready to be held personally accountable when a deduction is found to be inconsistent with current laws.

You may call the IRS with additional questions regarding a deduction at 1-800-829-1040 for live assistance, toll-free at 1-800-829-4933 for business assistance, and 1-800-829-4059 for TTD assistance.

Do not wait until the construction is over to determine whether you have a qualified home improvement tax deduction. Good record-keeping throughout the project will make it easier to decide whether your deduction is legitimate, or if additional information and/or authorization is required.

One Last Tip

To some people this might sound like a no-brainer but it’s important and quite a few people think that it doesn’t apply to them. If you’re going to try and get a deduction for imporvements made on your home please be sure that it’s valid. Don’t try to get something out of the government by lying or stretching the truth about costs involved or anything else to do with the deduction. Sooner or later you’ll be found out.

Will King is the webmaster for Home Improvement DYI where you find many resources and other articles on just about everything related to home improvement.

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