Your home is your castle, and that castle comes with some nice tax breaks that aren't available to people who rent. For example, the interest on most loans is not tax deductible, but you can write off the interest on your mortgage loan if you itemize your deductions. Real estate taxes are deductible, too. Some expenses of owning your home, including your house insurance premiums, are not tax deductible.
If you have a mortgage on your home, chances are your lender requires you to maintain a minimum level of homeowners insurance. Even if you own your home outright, homeowners insurance can help to protect you against financial loss if your home is damaged by a covered event, like a fire or windstorm. Homeowners insurance is a bundled policy that typically includes coverage for the structure of your house, your possessions and personal liability, in the event someone is harmed on your property, or by a family member or pet.
Not Tax Deductible
Your mortgage company might include the premium for your homeowners insurance along with your house payment, interest and property taxes in a single bill. The mortgage company typically puts that amount into an escrow account and pays your insurance bill for you. While the mortgage interest and property tax portion of your house payment is typically tax deductible, any portion of your bill that you pay for house insurance is not. You can't deduct house insurance for personal property.
Employee Business Expense
There is one exception to the rule. If you use your home for business purposes, either as an independent business or as an employee, you can deduct the portion of your house expenses that correspond to the amount of business use of your home. Deductible expenses include such items as mortgage interest, utilities, repairs, maintenance and insurance, according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you use your home as part of your business, you must deduct those expenses on Schedule C. If you use your home as an employee, you must itemize your deductions and claim business use of your home on Schedule A.
Your deduction for business use of your home as an employee is subject to the IRS's 2 percent rule: You can deduct only the portion of those deductions that exceeds 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Figure your deduction by adding your home expense deductions, including the qualifying portion of your house insurance, to your other employee business expenses on line 21 of Schedule A. Add the amount on line 21 to your tax preparation and other expenses on lines 22 and 23, then multiply the total by 2 percent.
Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.