Vacation Home Rentals

Larry Villano, Publisher of Loopholelewy.com

You generally must report rental income on your tax return. But you may not have to if the rental period is short and you also use the property as your home. Rental related expenses are deductible in most cases. However, your deduction may be limited if you also use the property as your home.

Here is some tax information you should be aware of if you rent out a vacation home:

  • Vacation Home: A vacation home can be a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat or similar property.
  • Schedule E: You usually report rental income and rental expenses on Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss. Your rental income may also be subject to Net Investment Income Tax.
  • Used as a Home: If the property is “used as a home,” your rental expense deduction is limited. This means your deduction for rental expenses can’t be more than the rent you received. For more about these rules, see Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes).
  • Divide Expenses: If you personally use your property and also rent it to others, special rules apply. You must divide your expenses between the rental use and the personal use. To figure how to divide your costs, you must compare the number of days for each type of use with the total days of use.
  • Personal Use: Personal use may include use by your family. It may also include use by any other property owners or their family. Use by anyone who pays less than a fair rental price is also personal use.
  • Schedule A: Report deductible expenses for personal use on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. These may include costs such as mortgage interest, property taxes and casualty losses.
  • Rented Less than 15 Days: If the property is “used as a home” and you rent it out fewer than 15 days per year, you do not have to report the rental income.
  • Use IRS Free File: If you still need to file your 2013 tax return, you can use IRS Free File to make filing easier. Free File is available until Oct. 15. If you make $58,000 or less, you can use brand-name tax software. If you earn more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms, an electronic version of IRS paper forms. Free File is available only through the IRS.gov website.