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Property Taxes: Key Deductions When Selling a Home

save money on property taxes when selling a home

Unlocking Financial Benefits: How to Deduct Property Taxes When Selling Your Home in Washington

Navigating the complexities of property tax implications when selling a house in Washington can be daunting. However, you should be conversant with the nuances of potential property tax refunds, tax breaks, and deductions. If you have recently sold or plan to sell a home in 2023, you must familiarize yourself with these details. Our comprehensive guide delves into property tax dynamics in Washington. Here, we’ll outline and itemize strategic tax tips to optimize financial benefits from the sale of your home.

What is Property Tax Refund When Selling a House in Washington

Property tax in Washington is an annual financial obligation for homeowners, calculated based on the value of the property. Unlike a renter, a homeowner pays property taxes directly to the local taxing authority, often as part of their monthly mortgage payment. Your lender might set up an escrow account to collect and pay property taxes. That way, you’re not faced with a surprise tax bill. However, the intricacies of property tax extend beyond mere payment. As you approach the closing date on the sale of your home, knowing the prorated amount of property tax you’re responsible for during the time you owned the property becomes vital.

Property Tax Refunds and Deductions: The Basics

In the year before selling and the 2022 tax year, meticulous planning led to substantial tax benefits. One of the most significant is the property tax deduction. Homeowners deduct property taxes paid, but it’s essential to understand the amount of deductible property taxes. The recent tax law changes capped state and local income tax (SALT) deductions, which include property tax, at $10,000 for married filing jointly and $5,000 for married filing separately. This cap requires homeowners to plan their deductions strategically.

A property tax refund is possible in certain tax scenarios. For instance, if you’ve made home improvements that increase your adjusted basis but weren’t reflected in your property’s assessed value, you might have overpaid in real estate taxes, making you eligible for a refund. Additionally, the buyer and seller each pay a share of property taxes at the sale, based on the time each party owned the property. If you paid more than your fair share, you might qualify for a property tax refund from the Department of Revenue or the local taxing authority.

Capital Gain and the Sale of Your Home

The income tax return implications of selling your house in Washington primarily revolve around capital gain. You might have a capital gain if you sell your home for more than the purchase price. However, tax law allows you to exclude up to $250,000 of revenue from your taxable income if you’re a single filer. Or $500,000 for married filing jointly, provided you’ve lived in the home for two of the five years before selling. This exclusion may reduce the tax due on the sale of your home.

Tax Credits and Other Considerations

While exploring tax deductions for homeowners, don’t overlook the potential for certain tax credits. For example, if you’ve recently made energy-efficient home improvements, you might be eligible for a tax credit. Remember, a tax credit differs from a deduction, as it reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar.

Reporting the Sale: Practical Tips

You don’t necessarily need to report the sale of your main home on your tax return if you don’t have a gain or if the exclusion entirely covers your gain. However, you’ll need to report the sale if you have an income that’s not covered or a loss. Keep in mind that closing costs and other selling expenses can increase your home’s adjusted basis, potentially reducing any gain or loss.

Tax Software and Online Tax Filing

Given the complexities of property tax and real estate transactions, utilizing tax software for online tax filing can be beneficial. These platforms typically guide you through the necessary steps to file your tax return, including relevant sections for homeowners selling their property. They help calculate the real estate taxes paid, the taxable gain or loss, and any deductions or credits you’re eligible for.

Planning Ahead: Homeownership and Taxes

If you’re planning to live in the home you’re purchasing for less than two years, consider the tax implications. You won’t be able to exclude any gain from your income. And any property tax refund will vary based on the value of the home and the time you owned the property. Remember, the rules differ for each situation, and the tax benefits available to homeowners may change. It’s always advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand the current tax landscape and plan effectively.

In a Nutshell

Understanding and navigating the intricacies of property tax in Washington especially when selling your home, has several perks. From maximizing deductions and seeking refunds to efficiently reporting your home sale, a strategic approach can help optimize your fiscal health. As a homeowner, staying informed and proactive is key to leveraging the tax advantages of owning and selling a home.

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