Why Uncle Sam Wants you ...to Purchase a Home!

By: Nef Cortez

One of the best tax breaks that the United States Tax Code allows for
is the deduction of mortgage interest and property taxes paid on one=s
personal primary residence. Over 66% of Americans enjoy the benefits
of this tax break. The purchase of a home for the purpose of
occupying it can mean thousands of dollars in tax savings for the
first time home buyer.

For example, the Median Household Income for Diamond Bar and Walnut,
California a neighboring community) residents?? is slightly over
$100,000.00 per year. Assume that a homebuyer purchases a typical
home in the area with a purchase price of $600,000, and finances the
purchase with an 80% conventional 30 year fixed rate loan with a rate
of 6.25%. Also assume that the new homeowner falls into the 25% tax
bracket. The new homeowner will have an annual tax deduction of
mortgage interest of approximately $30,000 per year, and a property
tax deduction of $7,500 per year! The new homeowner would have an
approximate tax savings of $9,375 for the year. This factor alone
makes owning your own home extremely desirable.
In addition to the above mentioned annual tax break, there is also a
little known tax break available to the homeowner when you decide to
sell your home. Depending on your circumstances, you'll be able to
avoid some taxes on the profit you make.
Years ago, to avoid paying tax on the sale of a residence a homeowner
had to use the sale proceeds to buy another house. In 1997, the law
was changed so that up to $250,000 in sales gain or profit ($500,000
for married joint filers) is tax free as long as the homeowner owned
the property for two years and lived in it for two of the five years
before the sale. Please note this important stipulation, it is worth
repeating, you can not qualify for the $250,000 tax free gain
($500,000 for married joint filers) unless you have lived in the
property for two of the five years that you have owned the home.
If you sell before meeting the ownership and residency requirements,
you will owe tax on any profit you make. The IRS provides some tax
relief if the sale is because of a change in the owner's health,
employment or unforeseen circumstances. In these cases, the tax-free
gain amount is prorated.
And a ruling by the IRS in late 2002 could put more dollars in
homeowners' pockets when they must sell before they qualify for the
full tax break. The Treasury has defined the unforeseen circumstances
that often force homeowners to sell and under which they now can get
some tax relief. They include:
Divorce or legal separation,
Job loss that qualifies for unemployment compensation,
Employment changes that make it difficult for the homeowner to meet
mortgage and basic living expenses, and
Multiple births from the same pregnancy.

Obviously, while both of these examples are over-simplified, as most
people=s individual tax circumstances can vary substantially, they are
solely used to illustrate how homeownership can be a great tax savings
tool during the time period that you own your home and when you sell.
The best person to advise you on tax matters is a licensed certified
public accountant. I recommend that you contact your tax professional
for tax advice before you buy, it might make all the difference in
determining which house you make an offer on!

Furthermore, although not tax related, owning your own home especially
in the last few year=s appreciating real estate market, has
contributed to many homeowners finding that the value of their home
equity has doubled or tripled during this time period. The 2000 U. S.
Census Report on Net Worth and Asset Ownership of Households has
determined that approximately 70% of the average American=s net worth
at retirement age is comprised of the value of their home equity.
While this rate of appreciation has definitely cooled down in many
real estate markets in recent months, in others it still has shown a
healthy appreciation rate. Your best way of finding this information
is by speaking to a professional realtor who can advise you on your
local real estate market.

Considering all the above factors, it is no wonder that it is no
wonder that the U.S. Government wants you to own your own home.

for more information visit http://www.nefcortez.com

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