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Esquire Real Estate Blog

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Use it or lose it...

Bryan Zuetel


As the year comes to a close, so does the deadline for many real estate tax deductions and savings.  If you own investment real estate, take some time to consider these opportunities before the end of the year.  Of course, like any tax advice, your individual and unique circumstances will differ from others, so consult your tax professional for personalized advice.

Delay rent payments: It is usually advisable to delay rental payments until at least January 1 of the following year.  So, if you have a tenant who routinely pays rent before the first day of the month, consider asking the tenant to delay the payment until at least January 1.  That way, the income will be reported and taxable in the following year.

Pay expenses early: The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act placed many restrictions on tax deductions related to your primary residence.  However, these restrictions did not affect tax deductions for your investment properties. So, if you have bills due in early January for your investment property, consider paying your mortgage, insurance, property taxes, repair contractors, utilities, and other recurring bills before the end of the year.  That way, the expenses will be reported and applied against your income this year.

Qualify as a real estate professional: This is not an action item that you can complete before the end of the year.  But, if you get to tax time and find out from your tax professional that you are not qualified as a real estate professional, consider completing this step.  Briefly, the IRS generally considers your income and losses on investment real estate to be passive. You cannot deduct your passive losses against your wages or self-employment income, which are considered non-passive income.  However, if you or your spouse “actively participated” in passive rental real estate activity and qualify as a real estate professional, you may be able to deduct passive losses against your non-passive income. You must materially participate in the real estate activities and qualify as a real estate professional based on a few specific formulas from the IRS.  Consider discussing this topic further with your real estate professional. The opportunity to apply passive losses to non-passive income can represent significant tax savings for some taxpayers.

If you have questions about your specific tax situation and investment real estate, contact Esquire Real Estate today before time runs out.