Income Tax Tips for Homeowners

March 30, 2000

Start organizing the documents you need to file your 1999 return.

"Many homeowners are entitled to an income tax refund," says Richard Roll, president of American Homeowners Association. "Why let the IRS hang on to your money any longer than necessary?"

Here's what you'll need:

W-2 Forms from your employer; 1099 forms from your banks, brokers, and mutual funds; 1098 form from your mortgage lender reporting your home mortgage interest; statements from charities verifying large cash donations or any noncash donation higher than $250; medical bills if your medical costs exceeded 7.5 percent of your gross income.

Here are a few reminders and tips:

  • Refinancers: Generally, the IRS requires lender points in a home refinance loan to be amortized over the life of the loan. However, if you've refinanced your home more than one time, and you refinanced again in 1999, any points that haven't been amortized can be deducted immediately.
  • Home sellers: If you owned your home on Aug. 5, 1997, and sold it before Aug. 5, 1999, you're eligible for a portion of the $500,000/ $250,000 capital gains break (exclusion), even if you don't meet the requirement of having owned and lived in the home for at least two years.
  • Direct deposit: The IRS has begun offering the option of depositing your refund check directly in your bank, or directly into your brokerage or mutual fund account.
  • IRA or Keogh contribution: Make a deductible contribution to a retirement account, anytime before April 17. Keogh accounts must have been established before Dec. 31, 1999, to qualify for the 1999 deduction. Check the income limits to see if you qualify for a deduction.

The IRS has a number of booklets to help homeowners file and take advantage of available deductions.

Many forms and publications can be downloaded from the Internal Revenue Service Web site at www. irs. ustreas. gov or by calling (800) TAXFORM (829-3676).

For more information on any aspect of owning a home, go to, the American Homeowners Association Web site.


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