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It's no secret that parts of our horribly complicated tax code have been invented (in part) to encourage or discourage certain behaviors. One of the "encouraged" behaviors is home ownership.

Along with home ownership comes the potential to itemize your deductions on your personal income tax return, and hopefully save yourself some tax dollars. Included in your itemized deductions are real estate taxes and home mortgage interest. Those can give taxpayers literally hundreds or thousands of dollars of tax savings.

So when you're considering whether or not to buy a home, you might want to factor in the tax impact. Although my home costs me more each month in terms of my mortgage payment and property tax escrow than my last apartment, I'm building equity, living in a larger place, and saving money each month when I factor in those tax deductions that I get at the end of the year.

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Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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Rental Property Deductions You Can Take at Tax Time

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

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