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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

10 Tax Savings for Missouri Homeowners

Are you a homeowner in Missouri? The Boehmer Team would like to make sure that Missouri homeowners get the most from their tax return. The following deductions can result in valuable tax savings for taxpayers who itemize.  For reference while doing taxes, IRS publication 530 specifically covers “Tax Information for Homeowners”.

1. Mortgage Interest Is Tax Deductible

Did you paid interest on your mortgage last year?  Claim it! Don’t forget that mortgage interest and taxes are also generally deductible for second homes, too.

2. Mortgage Points Are Tax Deductible

If you bought a home in 2015 with a mortgage, then in addition to the mortgage interest (which may not be a lot if you bought late in the calendar year), you can probably write off the points (both origination and discount points) on your tax return. The challenge is whether you’re eligible to deduct the points all at once, or whether you have to spread the costs out over the life of the loan. Generally, if you bought your first home or got a loan on that first home, you can take the deduction all at once, the IRS says. For a second home, and often for a refinance on a first home, the IRS says you most likely have to spread it out. 

3.  Property Taxes Are Tax Deductible

Many taxpayers overlook the fact that homeowners can deduct local, state and even foreign real estate taxes on their federal returns. Lower-income homeowners may also get special property tax benefits from their state or municipality, so look into further breaks specific to your community.

4. Mortgage Insurance is Tax Deductible

The cost of insuring a home mortgage is deductible up to certain income limits. If your adjusted gross income is more than $109,000 ($54,500 if married filing separately), you cannot deduct your mortgage insurance premiums.

5. Interest on Home Equity Loans are Tax Deductible

Interest on home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are tax deductible.  

6. Discount Points are Tax Deductible

Discount points are normally deductible when purchasing a home. So if you purchased a home in 2015 they are deductible. But when refinancing, they are typically amortized. 

7. Losses From Weather, Fire or Theft May Be Tax Deductible:

“If your home is damaged as a result of fire, flood, or similar event, you may be able to take a deduction for the loss.  To do so, the property must be damaged, lost or destroyed by a sudden, unexpected or unusual event. Loss cannot be gradual, such as insect damage or water damage from a leaky roof,” according to Stacy
Champagne of accounting firm T.A. Ohlms, LLC. “The amount of the deduction is generally determined by the difference in the fair market value of the property before and after the loss, OR by the cost of the necessary repairs to restore the property to its original condition. After the loss is determined and the insurance reimbursement subtracted, the loss deduction is generally reduced by $100 for each casualty, any casualty gains, and 10% of your adjusted gross income.”
While nobody wants a tree to fall on their house or for burglars to make off with their flat screen, the IRS grants a break to any property or casualty loss that is more than 10% of your gross income and is not reimbursed by your insurance. Documentation is key, both to prove values and the circumstances under which something was lost. Casualty losses are reported on Form 4684 and deduction on Schedule A. 

8. Energy efficiency Tax Credits

Congress recently extended the “Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit” for installing energy efficient windows, fans, air conditioners, etc. The credit allowed is up to 10% of the purchase price of qualified products, up to a maximum of $500 for all of your home improvements (maximum for windows is $200).  The $500 is a “lifetime” cap.  Written certification from the manufacturer is needed.
Another credit available is the “Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.” This could be worth up to 30% of the cost of installing certain renewable energy sources in your home and may be claimed for newly constructed homes.  This includes solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment, and wind turbines. There is no dollar limit on the credit for most types of property. Use Form 5695 to figure your residential energy credits.  

9. Some Home Renovations Are Tax Deductible

Generally you cannot take a tax deduction for renovations. The amounts spent are added to the cost basis of your home, so you should keep track of them.  If you obtain a home equity loan or home equity line of credit to fund the renovations, the interest would be deductible (up to IRS limits).
“Home improvements made for medical reasons, however, can be tax deductible,” says Stacy Champagne of T.A. Ohlms, LLC. “If you are making home improvements to accommodate a chronically ill or disabled person, and the renovations do not add to the overall value of the home, the project costs are typically deductible as medical expenses on Schedule A.  Examples are entrance/exit ramps, widening doorways of hallways, installing railings/support bars and other bathroom modifications, modifying stairways, etc.  Be sure to save your receipts.”  Note: total Medical expenses (on Schedule A) must exceed either 10% of your adjusted gross income (if born 1951 or after – otherwise it’s 7.5%)

10. Missouri-Specific Tax Credit for Homeowners

Champagne also says that for Missouri homeowners, “The Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim is a program that allows certain senior citizens and disabled individuals to apply for a credit based on real estate taxes or rent they have paid for the year.”  Details can be found at

How The Boehmer Team Helps at Tax Time

Did you know that The Boehmer Team sends a tax settlement letter to all their clients who bought or sold a home the previous year? We go above and beyond so that you don't have to hunt for your paperwork when tax season comes after a move. Just another reason to use The Boehmer Team.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why Home Builders Love Low-E Windows (And Why You Should Too)

Why Low-E

The effect on the comfort level of a home’s occupants is one reason home builders like Low-E windows. Low-E has the ability to keep the temperature of the surface of the glass facing the interior very near that of the room itself, regardless of outside temperatures. For example if it is 0 degrees F outside, the inside surface of double pane glass can be as much as 30 degrees warmer than single pane glass but still 25 degrees lower than Low-E coated glass. The converse can be true during hot summer months. 

Another great reason for Low-E windows is energy efficiency. They are energy efficient because any material that reflects, absorbs, and emits radiant energy is going to save energy. Regular uncoated glass windows will take in heat during the day but release it right back out through the glass at night. This is why in some houses a room can be very hot during the day and freezing when the sun goes down. The result of this heat transfer is using our heating and cooling appliances more than we need to. No matter what type of Low-E windows you get, they will perform better than windows that have only clear glass.  

What is Low-E?

The ability of a material to radiate energy is known as emissivity. In general, highly reflective materials have a low emissivity and dull darker colored materials have a high emissivity. All materials, including windows, radiate heat in the form of long-wave, infrared energy depending on the emissivity and temperature of their surfaces. Radiant energy is one of the important ways heat transfer occurs with windows. Reducing the emissivity of one or more of the window glass surfaces improves a window’s insulating properties.

Low-e coatings have been developed to minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted. Low-e glass has a microscopically thin, transparent coating – it is much thinner than a human hair – that reflects long-wave infrared energy (or heat). When the interior heat energy tries to escape to the colder outside during the winter, the low-e coating reflects the heat back to the inside, reducing the radiant heat loss through the glass. The reverse happens during the summer time.

What Low-E Is Not

Low-E is not the same as tinted glass. Tinting is the adding of alloying materials to the glass itself. Also, tinted glass tends to absorb sunlight and will get very hot when installed as a single pane, hence tinting does not improve insulating value.

The Future of Low-E

By changing the types of materials used in the ‘stack’ or layers of Low-E, or by increasing or decreasing the number of layers, we can now get more specific in choosing glass which will meet our exact project needs. Need high visible light but low U values? There’s a Low-E for that. Need greater protection from fading? There’s a Low-E for that. And it gets even more specific than that. Adding argon gas to the captive air space, as we all know, will improve insulating value. Adding various tinting agents to the glass itself will allow for even further refinement of the glass’s performance.

Is moving to a brand new home with Low-E windows and other high-end details on your mind? Contact The Boehmer Team. We can help.