Today TaxMama hears from Eric in the TaxQuips Forum, who is a new landlord. “During periods of vacancy (in between tenants), are mortgage and utility bills tax deductible at all? Also are the costs of replacement furnace filters and pest control items, etc. purchased and used by me (the landlord) deductible as operating expenses?”
Congratulations on becoming a new landlord.
Yes, the costs of the mortgage and operating the property, between tenants are deductible. The filters and other costs would be either repairs and maintenance, or supplies.
To qualify, the property must be a rental property. You must have it on the rental market – and be able to prove you are actively trying to rent it. It can’t just be a disguised family vacation home, or guest-house.
So keep copies of your ads, especially paid ads for rental. Just posting for free on Craigslist…and sitting back and waiting and not getting it rented out for months will look lame to IRS. Posting it on Craigslist AND doing everything else you can to rent it out (and keeping records), listing it everywhere, running paid ads (like Pennysaver or local papers or…wherever people get tenants from these days) and posting the vacancy with human resource departments of local businesses, etc. and still not getting it rented because this is a terrible rental market…that’s a different story.
Good luck with your first experience.
And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about rental deductions and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.[Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]
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