Under the current economic distress, many U.S. households again see the benefit of renting versus home ownership. Others, unfortunately, have been forced to surrender their homes to financial institutions that hold their mortgages and return to their former status as contented tenants.
These challenges can represent opportunities for investors in residential rental properties. Tax laws favor investors in these properties who can often benefit from tax deductible losses, while maintaining positive cash flows on their properties.
In order to avoid jeopardizing these write-offs under the scrutiny of an Internal Revenue Service audit, it is good to know what an agent will be looking for. The IRS does not hide this information. Numerous audit technique guides are available not only to IRS personnel; they are published on the IRS website for public use. Of interest to investors in residential rental real estate is the Passive Activity Loss Audit Technique Guide. It offers guidance to agents as they consider the appropriateness of loss deductions, the calculation of gains or losses on disposition of investment property, and low-income housing credits, among other chapters.
IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To comply with IRS rules, I am required to advise you that, unless expressly stated otherwise, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
September 23, 2011