The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act created advantages for rental owners to reduce their taxes using some of the following strategies.
20% Pass-through Deduction
If your rental activity qualifies as a business for tax purposes, as most do, you may be eligible to deduct an amount equal to 20% of your net rental income. This is in addition to all your other rental-related deductions. If you qualify for this deduction, you’ll effectively be taxed on only 80% of your rental income.
100% Bonus Depreciation Through 2022
The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act allows rental owners to deduct 100% for property acquired and placed into service from September 27, 2017 through December 31, 2022. Moreover, 100% bonus depreciation would apply for the first time to both new and used property, instead of new property only. The bonus depreciation amount will be phased down in 2023 and later years.
Bonus depreciation may not be used for real property, except for real property improvements such as landscaping or grading, and other components that have a depreciation period of 20 years or less. Thus, landlords may not use it to deduct the cost of their rental buildings or major building components. However, landlords can use bonus depreciation to fully deduct in one year the cost of personal property they use in their rental activity, such as appliances, laundry equipment, gardening equipment, and furniture.
Expanded Section 179 Expensing
A provision of the tax code called Section 179 enables rental business owners to deduct in one year the cost of personal property used in a rental business, such as furniture and appliances. The maximum amount was raised in 2018 to $1 million. The $1,000,000 amount is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount by which the cost of property placed in service during the year exceeds $2,500,000.