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Michael Machlet

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The deadline for filing tax returns is right around the corner.  Those of us who are not getting a huge tax refund may be tempted to wait until the last minute to prepare our tax returns.  However, if you are a homeowner there are certain things you can do to reduce your tax obligation and increase your tax refund.  Homeowners can take certain tax deductions that will help them when it comes to owing Uncle Sam.  However, homeowners should not wait until the last minute to prepare their tax returns because they may need to gather documentation for their tax preparer in order to take those deductions.

First of all, homeowners must itemize their tax deductions to get the most benefit from owning real estate.  Taking the standard deduction will not allow a homeowner to deduct the maximum amount for their home.  For example, you can deduct the interest you paid on your mortgage during 2012.  If you have more than one loan on your home, you may be able to deduct the mortgage interest paid on both loans.  You can also deduct the property taxes you paid on your home during 2012.  In order to take these deductions, make sure that you have a copy of your property tax bill showing the amount you paid and copies of the 1099 form provided by your mortgage company that shows the amount of interest you paid during the year.

If you made home improvements during 2012 that qualify as energy efficient, you may be entitled to a tax credit.  Installing energy efficient doors, windows, appliances or other systems in your home may qualify for the energy efficient credit on your tax return.  You should consult a tax preparer to determine if you qualify for the tax credit and to determine what supporting documentation is required to claim the credit.

Even if your home is not finished, you still may be able to claim some tax credits.  If your home was under construction during 2012, you should ask your tax preparer if you can deduct interest, taxes or other expenses even though your home was not completed by the end of 2012.

Because homeownership can be expensive, it is important to take ever tax credit allowed to get the most out of owning real estate.  To make sure you are claiming all of the tax creditors allowed for 2012, you might want to consider having a tax preparer do your taxes instead of doing them yourself.  A tax preparer is familiar with the changes in tax laws for 2012 and can help you maximize your credits.

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