Tax Backlog

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins released her first report to Congress June 29, 2020. She was sworn in on March 30, 2020 while IRS offices were closing one by one across the country. The IRS has begun reopening its operations, but it will take some time before they are restored to full capacity. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact. These are the general taxpayer challenges she presents in her report. Her report can be found at irs.gov.

Unopened Mail and Paper Returns: Among the taxpayer challenges arising from COVID-19, and a challenge for the IRS (I might add) is the about ten million pieces of unopened paper mail sitting in trailers at IRS campuses.  The IRS could not process or respond to written correspondence from taxpayer because their operations were shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

Taxpayers who filed a 2019 paper return and are entitled to refunds may be in for a long wait. The IRS had to suspend the processing of paper tax returns, and as of May 16, it estimated it had a backlog of 4.7 million paper returns. Although the IRS is reopening some of its core operations, it is not clear when it can open and process all the returns sitting in mail facilities.

Delayed Flagged Returns: All tax returns claiming refunds are passed through filters designed to detect identity theft and other types of refund fraud. Some of these filters produce “false positive rates” of more than 50 percent (meaning that more than half the taxpayers whose returns are stopped by certain filters are entitled to the refunds they claimed). Affected taxpayers are often asked to mail in documentation to substantiate their claims, but the IRS has not opened or processed many of their responses, delaying their refunds. Refund delays can have a significant financial impact on low-income taxpayers, as refunds often constitute a significant percentage of their annual household incomes. Notably, some of the refund delays have been generated by claims for the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit.

No Taxpayer Assistance: Taxpayers who have needed help from the IRS have had difficulty obtaining it. The IRS shut down its Accounts Management telephone lines on March 21, 2020, so taxpayers could not reach a live assistance by telephone. The IRS shut down its Taxpayer Assistance Centers on March 20, 2020, making it impossible for taxpayers to obtain in-person assistance. The IRS also shut down its mail facilities, so it was unable to log or process taxpayer responses to compliance notices.

There was a substantial reduction in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Tax Counseling for Elderly, and Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic services.

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Confusing Old Dates on Compliance Notices. IRS systems prepared over 20 million notices during the pandemic that could not be mailed due to closure of notice production centers between April 8 and May 31. The IRS is mailing these notices now. However, some collection notices bear old dates and include response deadlines that often have passed. The IRS plans to include “inserts” with these notices explaining that response deadlines have been postponed, but the report expresses concern that receiving compliance notices with response deadlines that have passed will be confusing and concerning to many taxpayers who may not read the inserts.

In addition, The National Distribution Center was shut down, depriving taxpayers of a means to acquire pre-printed forms.

The only resources readily available during the coronavirus shut down were IRS.gov and automated telephone lines.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Your local advocate’s number is in your local directory and at Taxpayer Advocate Service – Contact Us.

If you need funding, apply now. I am still working online.

Patrick St. Cin

W – 512-213-2271

M – 505-239-3026

Patrick@REICapital.cash

http://www.reicapital.cash/

Photo reference: Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910.

Migration Boom

People are moving. Single-family houses in the suburbs are opportunities real estate investors should consider.

According to an article in Mansion Global, apartment living in densely populated urban areas is already losing its appeal to Americans as they process their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people are eyeing options for relocating to the suburbs and a single-family home after facing the challenges of coming into contact with infected individuals in apartment building common areas and restrictions on their use of outdoor spaces like pools and game rooms.

Buyers crave —ROOM— living space, outdoor space, privacy, flexibility, and safety.

When you are researching a purchase of a rental property, evaluate:

  1. Is there room for an office in the house?
  2. Does the house have a good-sized yard?
  3. Is there a pool in the backyard?
  4. Is there a deck or porch that offers a sheltered option to living indoors?
  5. Is the neighborhood safe to walk around in at night?
  6. Is there a neighborhood association and is it restrictive?
  7. Did local authorities try to restrict people’s use of their yard during the pandemic?
  8. Consider taxes. People are richer in states where taxes are lower.
  9. Big or tiny, single family homes in suburbs near major cities offer good opportunities for people to escape living in densely populated apartment buildings where entrances and recreation space is shared and access is restricted. If you need funding, apply now. I am working online with the rest of you.

Patrick St.Cin

W – 512-213-2271

M – 505-239-3026

Patrick@REICapital.cash

http://www.reicapital.cash/

graphic:tsca / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Depreciation: Causes of the Fall?

What Can Make Real Estate Depreciate?

Depreciation is a decrease in the value of an asset overtime. When doing your due diligence research before making an investment in real estate, be sure to look around and consider those lurking circumstances that might decrease a property’s value.  

Although location affects the value of property most because real estate is by its nature real and tangible, supply is also a critical factor in how real estate is valued.

Supply

Overabundance means there is more of an item or resource than is needed or can be afforded by buyers, so it’s value goes down because no one buys it at the current price. The value will continue to go down until it reaches a point where buyers decide it is worth the price to store, use, and maintain the asset until the value goes up again. One example of this is the overabundance of condos that were launched in Miami right as demand fell because of a shortage of foreign buyers that was reported in the wsj article, “In Miami, There Are too Many Condos and Not Enough Foreign Buyers,” by Candace Taylor.

Location

New businesses and a new reputation may also impact the value of properties. For example a related article in the wsj reported recently that visitors to Miami’s South Beach has doubled in 10 years. The article “Wealthy Buyers Say So Long to South Beach,” by Candace Taylor, points out that the construction of new hotels on Miami Beach has made it a hot spot for spring breakers and the masses of students who come to party but not to buy has caused traffic congestion, litter, loud parties, and more danger in the neighborhood. As a result, the properties are not so attractive to wealthier buyers and the prices of upscale condo sales have tumbled in the first quarter of 2019.

Other natural changes near a property can affect its value. Some obvious ones are wildfires, sink holes, and earth quakes. Another is global warming. One reason Miami beach prices are falling according the same wsj article by Taylor is because of fears that sea levels will rise. Homes and condos at lower elevations have lost some value because of these fears.

Neglect and Lack of Maintenance

Abandoned homes tend to lose value because they are not lived in or cared for. They slowly fall into disrepair.

Global Investors

The value of houses can also go down because of events that affect buyers from other parts of the world.  The wsj article mentioned previously explains that severe economic and civil disruption caused by socialist and totalitarian regimes in countries like Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil can affect the ability of their once-wealthy citizens to purchase property abroad as the value of their currency falls compared to the dollar.

In the commercial real estate arena, as Jeff Levin pointed out in the Forbes Community Voice, trade wars between the United States and China has reduced funding for new building projects because China is decreasing its investments in U.S. commercial real estate and selling its assets, which brings down prices.

Competition for inexpensive properties to invest in and improve or to rent out for income is usually pretty stiff. As a broker and a direct lender, it is my job to help you get a hard money loan easily and quickly. Private Lenders, not banks, are willing to help you fund your project based on the value of the property and its after renovation value. We have money to lend and you need money quickly. A perfect fit is out there.

Give me a call or send an e-mail to the contacts below.

Patrick StCin, 512-213-2271

e-mail: patrick@REICapital.cash

Appreciation: Causes of the Rise?

What Can Make Real Estate Appreciate?

Appreciation is an increase in the value of an asset overtime. Depreciation is the opposite, a decrease in the value of the asset overtime. When doing your due diligence research before making an investment in real estate, be sure to look around and consider those circumstances that increase a property’s value. Tomorrow, we will talk about those circumstances that might cause a property to depreciate. 

Engraved in every real estate investor’s memory is the fact that location affects the value of the property most because real estate is by its nature real and tangible, a building, land, flora, fauna, and natural resources.

Using our imaginations and our memory, let’s review several things that can increase the value of an asset

Supply

Scarcity means there is a limited amount of some item or resource, so it becomes harder to find and worth more when you do find it due to competition for the limited resource. One example of a shortage creating a rise in value is the situation with single-family starter homes in the United States and the world. Although lower in price, single-family starter homes have become more valuable because there are not enough of them.   

Location

Some changes in a vicinity that increase home values may not be due to a physical change nearby, for example the employment rate goes up, the local economy improves, and/or the crime rates go down. These changes may be due to a new business coming in, but also may be due to regulatory changes that lower taxes or technological changes that allow people to work at home.

A physical change near the property can affect its value. Sometimes the value of a house goes up because of something that moves into the neighborhood or nearby, for example a water park or amenity that brings tourism or a research facility or fulfillment center that brings jobs and workers. Sometimes something that was there all along is discovered or becomes more appreciated than it was before, for example mountains and foothills with a view or the solace of desert spaces. Sometimes, a land use regulation may change causing a mini land rush.

Photo by Alexander Wendt on Pexels.com

Development

Development causes appreciation of houses. Let’s say that you buy bare land on the edge of a community and build on it. The value of the property will appreciate at least the value of the house.  If you buy in what is already known as the best district, you will most likely pay a premium price for that reputation and it will not go up over time because it is at the top already. If you buy in a place with a poorer reputation, such as a school district, and better management, government programs, or community involvement begins to improve the school district’s reputation, the homes in the area will likely appreciate.

Additions or Updates

Additions, enlargements, or updates of a home itself will appreciate its value depending on what is added and the quality of the materials and workmanship. These additions to quality might include finishing the basement, adding a screened-in porch, updating the bathroom or kitchen.

Global Investors

The value of houses can also go up because of things that happen in another part of the world that affects buyers or sellers.  Economic disruption or lack of opportunity in one country can cause people to invest in another country and move there, increasing the value of the property in that area. Wars and trade wars can also affect property value in a global economy. The wsj explains in a recent article that after housing prices fell in the United States, Latin Americans bought up luxury homes and condos in Miami.

Tomorrow, we will talk about what circumstances might make a property depreciate.

Competition for inexpensive properties to invest in and improve is usually pretty stiff. As a broker and a direct lender, it is my job to help you get a hard money loan easily and quickly. Private Lenders, not banks, are willing to help you fund your project based on the value of the property and its after renovation value. We have money to lend and you need money quickly. A perfect fit is out there.

Give me a call or send an e-mail to the contacts below.

Patrick StCin, 512-213-2271

e-mail: patrick@REICapital.cash

Vacation Rental Investment Property: Expenses

Summer is here and vacations are in the air.  Perhaps, it is also time to think about how we can pay for our vacation with income from an investment property purchased to rent. As we discussed yesterday, if you receive income from renting property for use as a dwelling, such as a house or apartment, you may need to report the income, and you may be able to deduct certain expenses. 

To make your tax life easier and less confusing for you, your tax preparer, and the tax authorities, be clear about your goals for the rental property.  Are you using the property partly for your own use and renting it out when you aren’t using it or are you operating it solely for a profit?  If you are using the property yourself and renting it, divide the portions of expenses between your investment and your personal tax forms based on days used or percentage used, and you will not run into tax trouble.

Types of Rental Expenses

In most cases expenses related to renting your property are deductible. These deductions can be applied against the income you receive from rent to lower the amount of the rental income that is subject to tax. These would general be reported on a form 1040.  According to the IRS, if you use the investment property to rent for a profit and do not use the dwelling as a residence, or for personal use, then your deductible rental expense may add up to more than your gross rental income. When you use the property for both personal and rental use, you will not be able to deduct rental expenses in excess of the gross rental income minus the rental portion of the mortgage interest, real estate taxes, casualty losses from federally declared disasters for the rented part, realtor’s fees, and advertising costs.

Deductible expenses include:

  • Advertising
  • Auto and travel expenses (if the primary purpose of the trip is to collect rent or to manage, conserve, and maintain your rental property)
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Realtor and Online Commissions
  • Depreciation: This expense begins when the property is rented or placed in service. It is taken over the lifetime of the property to cover the cost of the original purchase.
  • Insurance
  • Interest on loans other than the mortgage
  • Legal and other professional fees
  • Local transportation expenses (those incurred collecting rents, managing, conserving, or maintaining your property)
  • Management fees
  • Mortgage interest paid to banks, etc.
  • Mortgage expenses, including mortgage commissions, abstract fees, recording fees, are not deducted as expenses, but are considered part of the basis of your property as capital expenses and are depreciated.
  • Points. Points are prepaid interest and are deducted over the life of the loan and not all in the year the loan was made.
  • Pre-rental expenses: Expenses incurred maintaining your property from the time you make it available to rent
  • Rental payments for equipment
  • Rental payments for the property you lease
  • Repairs
  • Taxes
  • Utilities

Vacant Property

You can deduct expenses incurred maintaining and preserving your property when it is vacant, or vacant while listed for sale.

Uncollected Rent – Not Deductible

Don’t deduct uncollected rents. It is not included in your income, so it cannot be deducted.

Renting to Your Employer

If you rent part of your home to your employer and provide services for your employer in that rented space, report the rental income.  Claim the income and deduct the expense for that portion of the house. You can deduct mortgage interest, real estate taxes, casualty losses from federally declared disasters for the rented part of your home.

I would like to help you with funding for an investment rental property or vacation rental.  I have a long-term rental loan program that can help you get into an income-producing vacation rental investment property.

Please give me a call when you find that perfect real estate investment and know how much money you need.

Patrick St.Cin
512-213-2271
Patrick@REICapital.cash 

References

IRS Publication 527 (2018) Residential Rental Property

IRS Tax topic 415 Renting Residential and Vacation Property

Image Credit, vacation rental, Seattle. Fred Ueckert, FJU Photography [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

Vacation Rental Investment Property: Income

Summer is here and our heads are full of vacation plans. Some of us rent summer vacation homes to stay in and some of us rent vacation homes out to others for income.

As a real estate investor, you may be considering buying a property to rent out for income or to remodel and resell. There are four points about income taxes that apply to rental properties that you should know about.

1.  If you rent the dwelling for fewer than 15 days a year, you do not have to report any of the rental income and cannot deduct any expenses as rental expenses.

2. If you receive income from renting property for use as a dwelling, such as a house or apartment, you will most likely need to report the income, and you may be able to deduct certain expenses.

3. The accounting method you choose to follow determines when you count income and deduct expenses.

4. Whether you use the property personally for vacations with your family and friends makes a big difference.

Accounting Method:

The accounting method you use determines when you claim income and deductible expenses.

Types of Rental Income:

Monthly rent is only one kind of income you may receive.  You may also receive rent in advance. You report monthly rent when you receive it. A tenant may pay you to cancel a lease. This income you report when you receive it. A tenant may pay some the expenses attributed to the rental dwelling (for example utilities). You declare the expenses paid as income. You can then deduct the expense if they are deductible rental expenses. A tenant may pay you with services (for example painting) or property (for example they construct a built-in grill). In this case you report the fair market value of the service or property as rental income.

Security deposits are not included in your income if you intend to return them to your tenant at the end of the lease. But, if you keep part or all of the deposit, include it as rental income in the year you receive it.  If a security deposit is used as the final month’s rent, include it as advanced rental income when you receive it.

Personal Use

According to the IRS, If you use the property for personal use 10% of the time or 14 days a year (whichever is greater) and rent it out at the fair market value for income, limitations apply on the rental expenses you can deduct. You will need to divide the expenses between the personal use and the rental income use based on the number of days of each. Of course for personal use, you will not receive income so there is nothing to report on the personal taxes. When you use the property for both personal and rental use, you will not be able to deduct rental expenses in excess of the gross rental income minus the rental portion of the mortgage interest, reals estate taxes, casualty losses from federally declared disasters for the rented part, realtor’s fees, and advertising costs.

One thing to note about personal use is that if you rent to a relative or friend for a token amount, less than the fair market value of a dwelling just like yours, you have to count this use as personal use, not as investment rental income use.

I have a long-term rental loan program that can provide funds for your real estate investment for the purpose of renting for income.

REI Capital Resources is a direct lender as well as a broker of funding solutions. We offer short and long-term financing options.

Please give me a call when you find that perfect real estate investment and know how much money you need.

Patrick St.Cin
512-213-2271
Patrick@REICapital.cash 

References

IRS Publication 527 (2018) Residential Rental Property

IRS Tax topic 415 Renting Residential and Vacation Property

Vacation rental Image in Florida. Jan Lieberman [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D

Sigh of Relief and Then … Start Planning For 2019 Taxes

Many of our customers are both employed and self-employed, painting a tax picture that reveals itself slowly as incomes, deductions, and taxes paid are added and subtracted from a variety of the tax forms. If you just finished your 2018 taxes, this is a good time to review how well your business and employment worked together to pay your 2018 tax bill.

Personal: Review your W-4
On the personal side, review your W-4 form with the payroll or human resources manager at your place of employment. The W-4 is the form you fill out that tells your employer how much tax to withhold from your paycheck. Did you pay too much and receive a big refund or pay too little and owe a lot, perhaps even having to pay fines for underestimating? The taxes withheld from your paycheck reflect your filing status (single, married, head of household) and the dependents you claim. Check to make sure the information on your W-4 form is accurate.

toon-3125

Business: Set up a Paper and an Electronic Filing System
On the business side, make yourself a filing system so you can organize your business-related receipts and invoices in folders or envelopes if your receipts are paper and in computer files and folders if your receipts and invoices are electronic. Most likely you will need both paper and electronic files. Determine the categories your business expenses and income usually fall into and make folders and files that are named accordingly. Things like fuel, advertising, landscaping, construction materials, permit fees, banking fees, equipment repairs and maintenance, and new equipment purchases, contractor payments, interest on business loans, and home office expenses are common expenses in a fix-n-flip business. Check to see that your online folders are named the same as your paper files and then use that same name to enter the expenses in your Excel table or Quick books program. Remember, the IRS requires that you use these things for business if you deduct them.

Track and File Weekly or Monthly
File and enter your expenses weekly or monthly to avoid the pain of finding yourself in February of 2020 sorting stacks of receipts at the kitchen table for tax year 2019. You are bound to miss something and spend a lot of time searching for missing receipts. And, just running your unsorted papers in a shoebox over to your tax consultant means you are going to be paying them to sort out the papers, and they probably will not be able to do so without your help anyway.

woman in grey shirt holding brown cardboard box

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Taxes: Buy/Flip or Buy/Hold

There is no way around it, when you consider investing in real estate, or anything else for that matter, you need to do your homework to keep your investment safe and avoid surprises.

First, spend time with yourself to define your goals and then, spend time with the math to estimate the costs carefully before you invest. Everything costs something, but somethings are worth the cost.

First your goals: Ask Yourself:

“Do I want to get my hands dirty?”
“How involved do I want to be?”
“Do I want a single pay out of profit”
“Do I want a steady stream of income?

The buy-n-flip model of buying a distressed house at a low price, renovating it, and reselling it for a profit within 12 months is usually pretty hands on. If you don’t actually do the remodeling yourself, you will be supervising your contractors, so you get quality work, on time, and within budget. The Fix-n-Flip model will give you a one-time pay out, and if you did your preliminary market research properly, it will give it to you quickly, in less than a year.

The buy-and-hold model of buying houses, fixing them up or not, and renting them out will give you steady income. In this model, an investor can choose to rent the property out or occupy the property. There are varying levels of involvement for the investor to consider. Landlords are investors who own one to three properties and manage them themselves. This is the hands-on level. Portfolio Investors own four to ten rental properties and hire property management companies to manage them. This level of involvement is less hands on. Turnkey investors are the least involved personally with their investment, they purchase a property that already has a tenant and management company in place. Basically, only their money is involved.

Different Taxes

One of the cost differences between investing in fix-n-flipping and investing in fix-n-holding is the income taxes that you will have to pay on the profits. According to FitSmallBusiness.com, flipping houses is generally not considered passive investing by the IRS. Most real estate fix-n-flippers are considered dealers by the IRS. A real estate dealer is defined as someone who purchases real estate and sells it to customers “in the ordinary course of business.”

Ordinary Income. Profits on flipped houses are treated as ordinary income with tax rates between 10% and 37%. The profits you make are not considered capital gains with the lower tax rate of 0% to 20%. Taxes for flipping also usually include self-employment tax, which is 15.3%, double what you typically pay as a W2 employee.

Capital Gains. On the other hand, according to FitSmallBusiness.com, profits made from properties held more than 12 months are typically subject to more favorable long-term capital gain tax rates ranging from 0% to 20%. This profit is also subject to self-employment tax .

Keep Your Receipts

The answer to handling the tax expense for a fix-n-flipper or the fix-n-holder is to think like a business; budget for the taxes in your expense calculations and take them out of your expected profits so the return you expect is realistic. And, keep excellent books. You will want to itemize your deductions and income in either type of investment so when it comes time to calculate your profit for tax purposes, you can determine your profit by subtracting your expenses from the final sales price. Keep your receipts. If you keep no records, you might have to pay taxes on the entire amount of the sale, not just on the profit.

white graphing paper

REI Capital Resources is a direct lender as well as a broker of funding solutions. We offer short and long-term financing options that are perfect for buy-n-flip projects or buy-n-hold projects.

Please give me a call when you have the perfect investment in mind and know how much money you need.

Patrick St.Cin
512-213-2271
Patrick@REICapital.cash