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saltandlime
Returning Member

Can I deduct rent paid against Airbnb income for property I don't own?

Hi Everyone! I have an Airbnb that I've rented out for the entire year, mostly to long term stays of 1-month or longer, and I'm expecting to receive a 1099-K from Airbnb for about 100K of income. However I don't actually own the home, and have an arrangement with the owner where I pay him 50K a year in rent. Will I be able to deduct that 50K expense on my return, and where would be the appropriate place to do so? Thanks!

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2 Replies

Can I deduct rent paid against Airbnb income for property I don't own?

Let's start with the example where you own the property.  You would be able to deduct your actual "ordinary and necessary" expenses, which includes depreciation, utilities, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and so on.

 

Here, you are acting as a rental agent.  You are not the property owner.  You can deduct "ordinary and necessary" expenses that you actually pay.  But only expenses you pay.  If you pay for utilities and insurance, you can deduct those expense, but if the owner pays them, the owner deducts them on their tax return.  Only the owner can deduct depreciation (wear and tear) because that only affects the owner.  You can deduct repairs and maintenance if you pay them, but not if you bill them to the owner.  (Or you can list the repair as an expense but then you have to list the reimbursement from the owner as income.)

 

Yes, as a rental agent, the money you pay to the owner is one of your deductible "ordinary and necessary" business expenses.  As your business is as a rental agent and the owner fee is a business expense more than $600, you have to issue a 1099-MISC to the owner reporting the rent in box 1.

 

Hopefully you have a written contract that clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities both of you as agent and of the owner, to prevent future misunderstandings.

Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I deduct rent paid against Airbnb income for property I don't own?

Q. Will I be able to deduct that 50K expense on my return?

A. Yes

Q. Where would be the appropriate place to do so? 

A.  Line 20b  on Schedule C.

 

I am of the opinion that you have a business (self employment) and not a rental unit.  As such, you file Schedule C (Profit or Loss From Business), not Schedule E (rental). The owner files Schedule E, to report the $50,000 you pay him.

 

The TurboTax (TT) interview for Self employed business will guide you on where to enter the expense and help you prepare the 1099-Misc you need to issue to the owner. 

 

If using TT online (TTO), you need the Self Employment version.  Any version of the download/CD (desktop) version will work. 

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