The housing market is recovering and the vast majority of Americans own real estate, with about 62.9% owning their own homes. (Tax write-offs for your main home are discussed in Chapter 4.) But owning a principal residence isn't the only way to invest in real estate. Many individuals also own second homes or invest in rental properties to generate income. These investments produce important tax breaks.
This chapter covers tax breaks related to real estate other than your principal residence. For more information, see IRS Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes); IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home (Including Use by Day-Care Providers); and IRS Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property.
The rich have traditionally maintained more than one residence, summering in Newport, skiing in Aspen, escaping winters in Miami. But today, second homes aren't limited to the very rich; they are increasingly common among an ever-broadening populace. The tax law offers some tax breaks that help to make ownership of vacation homes more affordable.
If you use your vacation home solely for your own ...