If you’re a savvy investor, you probably know that you must generally report as income any mutual fund distributions, whether you reinvest them or exchange shares in one fund for shares of another. In other words, you must report and pay any capital gains tax owed.
If you’re looking to sell your home this year, then it may be time to take a closer look at the exclusion rules and cost basis of your home to reduce your taxable gain on the sale of a home.
The IRS home sale exclusion rule allows an exclusion of gain up to $250,000 for a single taxpayer or $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly. This exclusion can be used over and over during your lifetime (but not more frequently than every 24 months), as long as you meet certain ownership and use tests.
Employees and small business owners often have questions about what to do with an employee’s home – and what the tax consequences might be – when they move to a new job location. Here are some answers:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tossed an unwanted rule into Section 1031 by forbidding exchanges of personal property.
But before we move on, let’s clarify one thing: Section 1031 is not an “exchange,” which is defined by Merriam-Webster as a trade. In a tax code 1031 exchange, you generally would
- engage an intermediary to handle the money and the tax paperwork;
- sell your real property; and
- buy the replacement property.
The federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit, or rehab credit, offers significant financial incentives for owners or leaseholders of historic buildings to renovate those structures.1
What’s the big deal? Why are tax credits so exciting?
Tax credits, unlike deductions, reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar. If you spend $100,000 and get a 20 percent tax credit, you reduce your tax bill by $20,000. That’s Uncle Sam putting $20,000 in your pocket. And there’s more.
In general, income from renting a vacation home for 15 days or longer must be reported on your tax return on Schedule E, Supplemental Income, and Loss. You should also keep in mind that the definition of a “vacation home” is not limited to a house. Apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, and boats are also considered vacation homes in the eyes of the IRS. Tax rules on rental income from second homes can be confusing, especially if you rent the home out for several months of the year and use the home yourself.
Rent to Win: Understanding the Income and Tax Benefits of Rental Property
Have you thought about purchasing a rental property? Great! You have the opportunity to generate additional income, save for retirement, and improve your tax posture. To unlock the full income and tax benefits of rental property, it’s critical that you do the following 5 things first:
- Meet with a financial planner. Explore how owning a rental property will fit into your current and future financial needs.
- Carefully choose the right rental property! Do your homework. Research the neighborhood. Compare monthly rental rates for nearby properties.
- Consult with a lawyer. You’ll need an airtight rental contract to reduce your liability.
- Decide if you’ll manage the property or hire a manager. Don’t miss out on the tax benefits of rental property because you’re afraid managing real estate will take up all your spare time. Many owners of apartments and homes for rent will hire a property manager.
- Meet with a CPA who has real estate and rental property experience. Real estate taxes can get complicated…fast. However, here at Robert P Russo CPA, we work with everyone from couples who own a single rental property to landlords with dozens of apartments and homes for rent. Our goal is to maximize the tax benefits of rental property for our clients. Now, let’s take a closer look at those benefits…
The New TCJA Taxes for Real Estate Brokers: What You Need to Know
When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) became law in December 2017, real estate professionals immediately began contacting us with questions. Are there new breaks on taxes for real estate brokers? Will the TCJA increase taxes for real estate brokers?
However, the most common question we’re getting here at Robert P. Russo CPA is this: How can I get that new 20% qualified business income (QBI) deduction? That’s what we’ll focus on now…
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included numerous changes for businesses and individuals. One of these was the creation of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive, the purpose of which is to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities by providing tax benefits to investors.
Which Communities Qualify as Opportunity Zones?
Low-income communities and certain contiguous communities qualify as Opportunity Zones if a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory nominated them for that designation and the U.S. Treasury certified that nomination. Using this nomination process, 8,764 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories were certified as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). Congress later designated each low-income community in Puerto Rico as a QOZ effective December 22, 2017.
For a complete list and visual map of census tracts designated as QOZs visit the Opportunity Zones Resources page at the IRS website.
Tax Benefits of Investing in Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones offer tax benefits to business or individual investors who can elect to temporarily defer tax on capital gains if they timely invest those gain amounts in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). Investors can defer tax on the invested gain amounts until the date they sell or exchange the QOF investment, or Dec. 31, 2026, whichever is earlier.
The length of time the taxpayer holds the QOF investment determines the tax benefits they receive:
- Five years. If the investor holds the QOF investment for at least five years, the basis of the QOF investment increases by 10% of the deferred gain.
- Seven years. If the investor holds the QOF investment for at least seven years, the basis of the QOF investment increases to 15% of the deferred gain.
- Ten years. If the investor holds the investment in the QOF for at least 10 years, the investor is eligible to elect to adjust the basis of the QOF investment to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged.
Deferral of Eligible Gain. Gains that may be deferred are called “eligible gains.” They include both capital gains and qualified 1231 gains, but only gains that would be recognized for federal income tax purposes before January 1, 2027, and that aren’t from a transaction with a related person. To obtain this deferral, the amount of the eligible gain must be timely invested in a QOF in exchange for an equity interest in the QOF (qualifying investment). Once this is done, taxpayers can claim the deferral on their federal income tax return for the taxable year in which the gain would have been recognized if they had not deferred it.Taxpayers may make an election to defer the gain, in whole or in part. For additional information, see How To Report an Election To Defer Tax on Eligible Gain Invested in a QOF in the Form 8949, Sales and other Dispositions of Capital Assets instructions.
Investing in QOZ Property as a Qualified Opportunity Fund
A QOF is an investment vehicle that files either a partnership or corporate federal income tax return and is organized for the purpose of investing in QOZ property. To become a QOF, an eligible corporation or partnership self-certifies by annually filing Form 8996, Qualified Opportunity Fund with its federal income tax return. The return, together with Form 8996, must be filed timely, taking extensions into account. An LLC that chooses to be treated either as a partnership or corporation for federal income tax purposes can organize as a QOF.
Qualified Opportunity Zone Property
QOZ property is a QOF’s qualifying ownership interest in a corporation or partnership that operates a QOZ business in a QOZ or certain tangible property of the QOF that is used in a business in the QOZ. To be a qualifying ownership interest in a corporation or partnership, (1) the interest must be acquired after December 31, 2017, solely in exchange for cash; (2) the corporation or partnership must be a QOZ business; and (3) for 90% of the holding period of that interest, the corporation or partnership was a QOZ business.
Qualified Opportunity Zone Business Property
QOZ business property is tangible property that a QOF acquired by purchase after 2017 and used in a trade or business and:
- the original use of the property in the QOZ commenced with the QOF or QOZ business OR
- the property was substantially improved by the QOF or QOZ business; and
- during 90 percent of the time the QOF or QOZ business held the property, substantially all (generally at least 70 percent) of the use of the property was in a QOZ.
Leased property may also qualify as QOZ business property. The lease must be a market-rate lease entered into after December 31, 2017, to qualify.
Qualified Opportunity Zone Business
Each taxable year, a QOZ business must earn at least 50% of its gross income from business activities within a QOZ; however, the regulations provide three safe harbors that a business may use to meet this test. These safe harbors take into account any of the following:
- Whether at least half of the aggregate hours of services received by the business were performed in a QOZ;
- Whether at least half of the aggregate amounts that the business paid for services were for services performed in a QOZ; or
- Whether necessary tangible property and necessary business functions to earn the income were located in a QOZ.
Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions or would like additional information about investing in Opportunity Zones.