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  • Writer's picturevasil baychev

How to Reduce Taxes on Rental Income





Earning rental income holds great promise for financial security and wealth accumulation. However, it is imperative to understand the tax implications associated with it to avoid massive penalties and fines. Rental property ownership is associated with tax responsibilities, as rental income is taxable. One of the biggest concerns of people having rental income is taxation. 

This article aims to provide insight into the workings of taxation on rental income and offers strategies for reducing tax burdens. If you are confused about rental income taxation and you want to implement the best suitable strategy for tax reduction, V-Tax Services provides assistance in managing and reducing your rental income tax in compliance with Federal and state tax regulations

What is Included in Rental Income?

You are required to report all rental income as part of your gross income. However, it is important to understand what is included in rental income as per IRS regulations. The following is included in rental income:

  • All sums received for the utilization or occupancy of property under your ownership.

  • Prepaid rent (rent received before the period it covers).

  • Security deposits (You are obligated to report any payments you received as a security in the year if you received them; otherwise, if not retained, it's not required to be reported).

  • Compensation for lease cancellations.

  • Tenant-covered expenses (e.g., water and sewage payments not included in the lease agreement).

If you have received payment for both the first and last month's rent, you have to report the entirety of what you received. The payment for the first month constitutes rent, while the payment for the second month is considered advance rent.

Tax on Rental Income And Its Advantage

The Internal Revenue Service mandates that any rental income you earn must be disclosed and subjected to taxation. Rental income falls under the category of ordinary income according to the IRS, and it is mandatory to report it on your tax return and payment of taxes accordingly.

Federal taxes are structured into bracket levels, with tax rates escalating as income increases. If your rental income pushes you into a higher tax bracket, you will have to pay a higher tax rate on the portion of income within that bracket. However, there exist some specific strategies to mitigate your tax burden associated with rental income, including the possibility of deducting expenses linked to your rental properties.

A significant advantage of the tax regulations concerning rental income is that it is not categorized as earned income. Unlike self-employment, where a 15.3% self-employment tax is levied on all earned income, including the employer's and employee's portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes, rental income is exempt from this tax obligation.

What is the Tax Rate on Rental Income?

The tax rate on rental income depends upon which tax bracket level you fall into. The following table explains the tax percentage with the increase in rental income for single filers:

Rental Income Range

Tax Percentage

$1 To  $11,000

10%

$11,001 To $44,725

12%

$44726 To $95,375

22%

$95,376 To $182,100

24%

$182,101 To 231,250

32%

$231,251 To $578,125

35%

$578,126 or more

37%

In the U.S., the tax system is progressive, meaning that the highest income tax bracket doesn't apply to all your income. As an example, if your ordinary income exceeds $578,126, you'll only pay 37% on the portion above that threshold.

Moreover, it is significant to consider the tax laws of your state. While some states have no income tax, most of the states impose it. Therefore, if you reside in a state with an income tax, you have to report your rental income and pay taxes according to your state level. The best way to get guidance from V-Tax Services for paying tax on your rental income.

Strategies to Reduce Taxes on Rental Income

Following are the strategies to reduce taxes on rental income. However, to decide which strategy fits with your rental income and for the best implementation of these strategies, you need to get the services of rental income experts at V-Tax Services in the USA.

1. Depreciation

Depreciation enables you to deduct the cost of your rental property over 27.5 years, reducing your taxable income annually. This tax deduction allows you to write off a portion of your property's price each year.

2. Expenses You Can Deduct

As a rental property owner, you are eligible to deduct various expenses associated with your rental property, which include property taxes, insurance, repairs, and maintenance costs. These deductions reduce your taxable income which as a result reduces your tax liability.

3. Capital Gains Tax Exemption

You can qualify for a capital gains tax exemption If you sell a rental property that has been held for more than a year. With this exemption, you can easily avoid paying taxes on the profit generated from the sale of your rental property.

4. Tax Deduction on Rental Income with a Mortgage

When you have a mortgage on your rental property, the interest you pay becomes tax-deductible. This allows you to subtract the interest payments from your rental income, thereby lowering your taxable income. 

However, in that scenario the only interest portion is deductible, not the principal amount. And if you use any portion of your rental property as your primary residence, you may not be eligible to deduct the interest.

5. Utilizing a 1031 Exchange

Employing a 1031 exchange enables you to sell your rental property and reinvest the proceeds into another property without incurring capital gains taxes. This tactic can be employed repeatedly, providing the opportunity to continually defer taxes on your rental income.

6. Setting up an LLC

Establishing a rental property as an LLC (Limited Liability Company) can offer tax advantages, including the ability to deduct expenses and losses from rental income. LLCs operate as pass-through entities for taxation, meaning members report earnings on personal income tax returns.

By establishing an LLC, you could be eligible for the pass-through deduction, enabling a deduction of up to 20% on real estate investment income, provided you offer a minimum of 250 hours of rental services each year. This deduction is commonly known as the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction.

7. Employ a Self-Directed IRA

A self-directed individual retirement account (IRA) offers the opportunity to invest in rental property using IRA funds. The rental income generated is either tax-deferred or tax-free, depending upon the type of IRA you possess.

8. Home Office Deduction

If you utilize a portion of your rental property for business activities, such as a home office, you are eligible to claim a home office deduction. This deduction aids in reducing your taxable rental income.

It is significant to understand that while these strategies can lower your tax liability, they must adhere to IRS regulations. Any illegal attempts of tax evasion can result in penalties and legal consequences. The V-Tax Services can help you implement tax reduction strategies in your rental income in compliance with the IRS regulations

Penalties for Not Reporting Rental Income

It is mandatory to report your rental income to both the IRS and your state's taxing authority to avoid penalties. There are two federal penalties as given below:

  • A penalty of 20% may apply to any understated amount

  • While deliberate withholding of information about rental income can impose a civil fraud penalty of up to 75%.

Therefore, it is recommended to diligently report all rental income and pay any appropriate taxes in due timeline.

How Can We Help You:

Reducing taxes on rental income requires careful planning, understanding of tax laws, and employing legal strategies. Utilizing tax deductions, forming an LLC, capital gains tax exemptions, utilizing a self-directed IRA, and employing a 1031 Exchange are effective methods to minimize taxes on rental income.

Seeking guidance from a tax professional is significant to determine the most suitable strategies for your individual circumstances. Engaging the services of a specialized tax professional such as V-Tax Services in rental property taxes ensures access to all available deductions and credits. The experts at V-Tax Services will structure your rental property ownership to optimize tax benefits and ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.


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