Can a Short Form Filer Deduct Property Taxes?

Owning a home or car comes with a lot of extra expenses that can make your wallet lighter during the year. However, the Internal Revenue Service offers a number of tax deductions that can make your wallet feel a little heavier come tax time, but filing your taxes will take a little longer than usual.

Tax Filing

Form 1040EZ is known as the "short form" for filing your taxes because it's the shortest of the three individual income tax returns. If you want to claim your property taxes paid during the year, you can't file your taxes with this form -- you must file with Form 1040. Property taxes count as an itemized deduction, and if you want to claim such deductions, the IRS requires that you use Form 1040.

Claiming Property Taxes

Itemized deductions, including property taxes, are listed on Schedule A. Your personal property taxes go on line 6 and your real estate taxes go on line 7, as of 2012. After you've added up all of your deductions, the total goes on line 9. After you've totaled all of your itemized deductions, such as state and local income taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions, report the total on line 29.

Allowable Taxes

You can deduct any personal property taxes imposed by state and local governments as well as any real estate taxes imposes by state, local and foreign governments. Any property tax must be charged annually and be based on the assessed property value for it to be eligible for a deduction. If you pay your real estate taxes through an escrow account, you can only deduct the amount actually paid out of the escrow account for real estate taxes, not the amount you put in. For example, if your escrow account requires that you put in $2,000 for property taxes and you pay it in December 2014 but the escrow account doesn't pay the tax bill until January 2015, you would take the deduction on your 2015 return.

Considerations

Claiming your property taxes requires you to itemize, and itemizing requires you to give up your standard deduction. If your property taxes plus your other itemized deductions don't exceed your standard deduction, you'll lose money by not claiming the larger standard deduction. In addition, depending on who is preparing your taxes, you might save more money in tax preparation fees by using Form 1040EZ than if you filed the longer Form 1040 and Schedule A.

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