Whatever the location, size, or value of a second home, certain tax advantages are built in. However, your opportunity to benefit from them depends on how you use the property.
Both property taxes and mortgage interest are as deductible for a second home as they are for your primary residence — and are subject to the same limitations. If you file a joint return, you cannot deduct interest on more than $1 million of acquisition debt ($500,000 for married persons filing separately) on one or two homes.
Two tax advantages of homeownership are not available for a second home — the immediate deduction of mortgage points when purchasing and the capital gain exemption when selling. Both tax breaks require the home to be your “principal residence.” However, you can deduct the points on your second home’s mortgage over the loan’s term.
More tax advantages become available if you forgo some of your personal use in favor of renting out your second home for part of the year. But there may be drawbacks as well.
If you rent out your home for 14 or fewer days during the year, you do not have to report rental income on your tax return, regardless of the amount, and there is no effect on your mortgage interest deduction. But you cannot deduct any rental expenses.