When it comes to rental properties, it is important to understand the difference between repairs and improvements for tax purposes. Repairs are one-off expenses that restore an item to its previous state, and the total cost of the repair can be deducted in the same tax year. On the other hand, improvements are upgrades that add value to the property or extend its life, and they must be depreciated over time. Common repairs include basic maintenance such as unclogging a shower drain or repairing a hole in the wall, while capital upgrades include major work such as restoring a kitchen or installing a greenhouse.
Landlords can use the de minimis safe harbor to deduct any low-cost property items used in their rental business. It is essential to understand the distinction between repairs and improvements when it comes to taxes. With repairs, you'll get your deductions sooner, which means more money in your pocket now instead of later. Repairs are usually small and inexpensive, while improvements are larger projects that add value to the property or extend its life. Painting between tenants is usually considered a repair, but if it is part of a larger restoration project or an addition, then it becomes an improvement.
The cost of repairs and maintenance can be deducted at the end of the fiscal year, while improvements must be depreciated over time. Knowing the difference between repairs and improvements can help landlords maximize their deductions and save money on taxes.