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ecaffer
New Member

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

How will we claim this on next year's tax return?
5 Replies
Carl
Level 15

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

Doesn't matter that it's less than the mortgage payment. Wouldn't matter if you were renting it for $1 a month. It's reported on SCH E in the Rentals & Royalties Income (SCH E) section of the program under the business tab. Nothing special here. Keep in mind that most likely you "WILL" show a profit. Remember, your mortgage payment is not deductible. Only the interest you pay on the mortgage is deductible. The principle part of your mortgage payment is not tax deductible, and in fact is taxable income to you.
Opus 17
Level 15

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

It does matter if the taxpayer is renting the property at below market value. That severely limits deductible expenses.

 However, if you are renting the property at a fair market rate  compared to other similar properties in the same area, then you can deduct all the expenses as explained below, even though the fair market rate is less then your mortgage.
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Carl
Level 15

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

One thing to note also, as that when it comes to what you charge for rent, FMV is a subjective figure. Basically, FMRV (Fair Market Rental Value) is not determined by the rental property owner. IT's determined by "what the consumer is willing to pay".
It's perfectly possible that comparable rentals in your are may rent for $1500/mo, but you can only get $700/mo for yours because if it's dilapidated condition. Just be prepared to support your claim of it being FMRV if ever audited. Generally, (but not always) a property appraisal will do the trick, if not help immensely in the case of an audit.
Yes, there are situations where the FMRV is less than the mortgage payment. I do know that back in 2009-2011 it was quite common for such a situation when the housing market was depressed and people could not refi at lower rates. But nowadays, make sure you can support your claim of FMRV if your rent is less than the mortgage payment. Otherwise, you must selection the option that you are renting at below FMRV, and that will limit your deductible rental expenses to your taxable rental income and carryovers will not be allowed.
Carl
Level 15

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

Rental Property Dates & Numbers That Matter.

Date of Conversion - If this was your primary residence before, then this date is the day AFTER  you moved out.
In Service Date - This is the date a renter "could" have moved in. Usually, this date is the day you put the FOR RENT sign in the front yard.
Number of days Rented - the day count for this starts from the first day a renter "could" have moved in. That should be your "in service" date if you were asked for that. vacant periods between renters count also PROVIDED you did not live in the house for one single day during said period of vacancy.
Days of Personal Use - This number will be a big fat ZERO. Read the screen. It's asking for the number of days you lived in the property AFTER you converted it to a rental. I seriously doubt (though it is possible) that you lived in the house (or space, if renting a part of your home) as your primary residence or 2nd home, after you converted it to a rental.
Business Use Percentage. 100%. I'll put that in words so there's no doubt I didn't make a typo here. One Hundred Percent. After you converted this property or space to rental use, it was one hundred percent business use. What you used it for prior to the date of conversion doesn't count.

RENTAL POPERTY ASSETS, MAINTENANCE/CLEANING/REPAIRS DEFINED

Property Improvement.

Property improvements are expenses you incur that add value to the property. Expenses for this are entered in the Assets/Depreciation section and depreciated over time. Property improvements can be done at any time after your initial purchase of the property. It does not matter if it was your residence or a rental at the time of the improvement. It still adds value to the property.

To be classified as a property improvement, two criteria must be met:

1) The improvement must become "a material part of" the property. For example, remodeling the bathroom, new cabinets or appliances in the kitchen. New carpet. Replacing that old Central Air unit.

2) The improvement must add "real" value to the property. In other words, when  the property is appraised by a qualified, certified, licensed property appraiser, he will appraise it at a higher value, than he would have without the improvements.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Those expenses incurred to maintain the rental property and it's assets in the useable condition the property and/or asset was designed and intended for. Routine cleaning and maintenance expenses are only deductible if they are incurred while the property is classified as a rental. Cleaning and maintenance expenses incurred in the process of preparing the property for rent are not classified as cleaning/maintenance costs. They are instead classified as startup costs, amortized as such and depreciated over time.

Repair

Those expenses incurred to return the property or it's assets to the same useable condition they were in, prior to the event that caused the property or asset to be unusable. Repair expenses incurred are only deductible if incurred while the property is classified as a rental. Repair costs incurred in the process of preparing the property for rent are classified as startup costs, amortized as such and depreciated over time.

Startup Costs

Please note that if residential rental income is not your PRIMARY business, and your PRIMARY source of income, then your rental business is considered to be passive, and you flat out, no way, no how , are not allowed to deduct your startup costs. Period. The IRS says so. See https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-99-23.pdf and please take note that rental property produces “passive” income, while other types of businesses produce “active” income. Your rental property is not classified as your “active” business, unless you are a real estate professional, an active participant in the management of the property, and it provides a substantial (more than half) amount of your taxable income for the year. All three requirements must be met. There are no exceptions

Start up costs are expenses incurred while preparing the property for rent, with the express purpose being to prepare it for rent, before it is available for rent. These costs do include repair, cleaning and non-recurring maintenance cost. It does NOT include property improvements. With a normal business that produces active income (rental income is passive) you would amortize these costs over 15 years. But you can’t do that with a rental property. However, you can deduct a maximum of $5000 in startup costs in the first year the rental is available for rent, PROVIDED your total startup costs do not exeed $50,000. This is reported on line 18, “Other Expenses” of SCH E, and should be labeled “start up expenses”.

Additional clarifications: Painting a room does not qualify as a property improvement. While the paint does become “a material part of” the property, from the perspective of a property appraiser, it doesn’t add “real value” to the property.

However, when you do something like convert the garage into a 3rd bedroom for example, making a  2 bedroom house into a 3 bedroom house adds “real value”. Of course, when you convert the garage to a bedroom, you’re going to paint it. But you will include the cost of painting as a part of the property improvement – not an expense separate from it.


TomYoung
Level 13

We have a rental property that we are renting for less than the mortgage payment.

Well, never mind.

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