End of year Taxes for your property

End of year Taxes for your property

End of Year Taxes:   While tax returns aren’t due until April, to minimize your tax burden the strategy of accelerating rental property expenses should be considered now, property owners, should start deducting these expenses this year could be more important than ever, especially if you’re affected by the new Affordable Healthcare Act tax. Under the Act, if your modified adjusted income exceeds $250,000 (filing jointly) then you’ll pay an additional 3.8% tax on any rental income or other passive income above that amount. Rental property expenses are deductible only in the year they are paid, so December is your last chance to pay for any rental property-related expenses that you want to deduct this year. Additionally, you can pay your expenses in advance, so consider paying in December some expenses due next year (such as a mortgage payment, property taxes, or utility bills) to offset this year’s income.   As far as rental income is concerned, don’t be tempted to defer rental income for December rents to next year. The Internal Revenue Service matches 1099s for commercial leases, and they want to see rental income match up with 1099s. While residential rental owners don’t receive 1099s from their tenants, many audits that CAP’s have been involved in where the IRS examined residential lease agreements and had issues with the rental owner declaring less than a full twelve months of income if the unit was occupied for the entire year. But what if you were on vacation for all of December and didn’t check your mailbox until mid-January? That’s still income for December.   It’s important to not make assumptions about rental income losses–several clients get burned because they thought they could deduct these losses. The problem is that rental income losses fall under the “passive income rule” which can be a complicated beast. Rental income is considered passive income, and under the rule, passive income losses can only be offset against passive income, which means you need to have another rental property that makes money or some other passive income source. The rule is different if your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. The passive income rules are very complex and everyone has a different situation, so it’s critical that you consult with your tax advisor before you act on any assumptions.   Checklist: End of Year Taxes Meet with your accountant to discuss end of year tax strategies. Consider paying now expenses due next year to offset this year’s income. Let your accountant know if you anticipate any rental losses next year, or if you’re planning on refinancing, buying, or selling rental property as these activities may have tax consequences that might be partially mitigated with informed planning. If you formed an LLC or S-Corporation to hold your rental property, order 1099s now to send to your unincorporated vendors (to whom you paid more than $600) by January 31st–it can sneak up quickly. Year-end reviews: Revisiting and evaluating insurance policies and rental regulations and laws is key to protecting your rental property investment. We recommend that rental property owners set an annual calendar reminder to review their insurance policies for proper and adequate coverage and check on new local ordinances affecting landlords. Insurance policies and their respective coverage amounts change frequently. We have seen many owners move out of their property and convert it to a rental but forget to call their insurance provider to make sure their policy is updated from a primary occupant policy to a landlord policy. If an owner does not make this policy change then it is very likely a future claim will be denied for the wrong policy classification. The classification change to a landlord policy will likely result in a premium increase but without the proper classification the property owner is not adequately insured which, in the end, will be a much bigger price to pay. City ordinances can change quickly and are difficult for distant and even local landlords to be aware of. While a local professional property manager should be able to help you with local ordinances, It is ultimately the property owner’s responsibility to make sure rental property is compliant with local city and county ordinances. In addition to local ordinances, make sure you understand federal and state laws that impact rental property, such as fair housing requirements and your state’s landlord-tenants laws. Your property manager, if you have one, will be an important resource here. If you self-manage your rental property, consider joining a state or local landlord association, as these groups often have attorneys provide updates on changing laws as well as provide other benefits. Property Managers in South Florida can join forces with www.sfpma.com   Checklist: Year-end Review Review rental property insurance policies; update amounts if necessary. If you don’t have an umbrella liability insurance policy, consider one. Make sure that if you have converted your primary residence to a rental property, that you made that classification change with your insurance company. Review local city or county ordinances for changes, such as registration requirements. Review federal and state laws, including fair housing rules and your state landlord-tenant statute, for any changes. Planning for Next Year: While it might be a slower time for year for landlords and property management companies, the winter, especially December, can nonetheless get busy because of the holidays. However, it’s important to have a game plan for the coming year. Schedule a planning meeting to meet with key people, including any co-owners of your rental property or your property manager, if you have one, to address these issues:   Checklist: Planning for Next Year Confirm annual or six-month rental property inspections are scheduled. Review lease agreement template. Review policies or “house rules.” Consider adding a policy addressing space heater safety. Adding a Pet Policy, we see many more tenants and owners with pets, along with service animals. Review rents and consider an increase. Discuss whether any significant repairs, such as re-roofing, need to be undertaken in the coming year. Brought…

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