What Deductions Can I Take as an Owner of Rental Property?

If you receive rental income from the rental of a dwelling unit, there are certain rental expenses you may deduct on your tax return. These expenses may include mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, depreciation, and repairs.

You can deduct the ordinary and necessary expenses for managing, conserving and maintaining your rental property. Ordinary expenses are those that are common and generally accepted in the business.

Necessary expenses are those that are deemed appropriate, such as interest, taxes, advertising, maintenance, utilities and insurance.

You can deduct the costs of certain materials, supplies, repairs, and maintenance  that you make to your rental property to keep your property in good operating condition.

You can deduct the expenses paid by the tenant if they are deductible rental expenses. When you include the fair market value of the property or services in your rental income, you can deduct that same amount as a rental expense.

You may not deduct the cost of improvements. A rental property is improved only if the amounts paid are for a betterment or restoration or adaptation to a new or different use. See the Tangible Property Regulations – Frequently Asked Questions for more information about improvements. The cost of improvements is recovered through depreciation.

You can recover some or all of your improvements by using Form 4562 to report depreciation beginning in the year your rental property is first placed in service, and beginning in any year you make an improvement or add furnishings. Only a percentage of these expenses are deductible in the year they are incurred.

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