With summer drawing to a close, if you own a vacation home that you both rent out and use personally, it’s a good time to review the potential tax consequences:

  • If you rent it out for fewer than 15 days, you don’t have to report the income. But expenses associated with the rental won’t be deductible.
  • If you rent it out for 15 days or more, you must report the income. But what expenses you can deduct depends on how the home is classified for tax purposes, based on the amount of personal vs. rental use:

Rental property. You can deduct rental expenses, including losses, subject to the real estate activity rules. You can’t deduct any interest that’s attributable to your personal use of the home, but you can take the personal portion of property tax as an itemized deduction.

Nonrental property. You can deduct rental expenses only to the extent of your rental income. Any excess can be carried forward to offset rental income in future years. You also can take an itemized deduction for the personal portion of both mortgage interest and property taxes.

Look at the use of the home year-to-date to project how it will be classified for tax purposes. Adjusting either the number of days you rent it out or your personal use between now and year end might allow the home to be classified in a more beneficial way.

For assistance, contact our tax advisors in Michigan, Houston or Ft. Lauderdale.