February 1st, 2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 instituted some of the most dramatic changes to the financial landscape in the United States in over 30 years. These adjustments to the IRS code have an effect on everyone who earns and spends money in this country.
What changes can real estate investors expect to see from the new legal standards?
Higher Standard Deduction, Less Itemized Deductions
Before the reforms, single tax filers were allowed a standard deduction of $6,350. Married couples filing jointly were given $12,700. The standard deduction is the amount of income you can earn before any income taxes are applied. If a married couple made $50,000 in one year, they would only pay taxes on $37,300. With the new laws, single filers receive a $12,000 deduction and married couples get $24,000.
However, with the increased standard deduction comes significant decreases in itemized deductions. Many smaller real estate investors depend on tax credits for homebuyers to make their purchases more profitable. Those have been removed from the list of approved deductions.
Real estate investors need to adjust their strategy to take full advantage of new tax trends. Rather than focusing on flipping homes for profit, investors may consider holding on to properties and leasing them as rental units.
Mortgage Tax Deduction Changes
Homeowners who live in their primary property are still allowed to deduct a portion of the interest paid on their monthly mortgage. However, those who have taken out home equity lines of credit are no longer able to claim a deduction for those interest payments.
This is a big change for some real estate investors. It’s a common strategy to use home equity lines of credit to finance other projects. Without the extra deduction, these loans are still a great option for quick cash. However, investors will take more time to realize profits with this strategy.
Decrease In State And Local Tax Deductions
Investors use state and local tax deductions to increase their return on investment. Under the new rules, property owners are limited to a $10,000 maximum deduction. Real estate investors who operate in high-income areas will see a significant increase in their yearly tax bill. The $10,000 limit is unlikely to offset the high price of property taxes in places like California and New Jersey.
Newer investors who don’t hold a lot of properties can consider buying in markets with lower state and local tax rates. Those who are currently invested could sell some of their lower-producing properties to lighten the burden on their tax bills.
The new tax laws are a challenge for real estate investors. But with some planning and the right information, your business can still produce a generous profit.
Be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about the best financing options for your situation.