1. TurboTax /
  2. Tax Calculators & Tips /
  3. Tax Tips Guides & Videos /
  4. Home Ownership /
  5. Federal Tax Deductions for Home Renovation

Federal Tax Deductions for Home Renovation

Updated for Tax Year 2018


OVERVIEW

There are a number of ways that you can use home renovations and improvements to minimize your taxes.


Looking to spruce up your home without breaking the bank?

Renovation of a home is not generally an expense that can be deducted from your federal taxes, but there are a number of ways that you can use home renovations and improvements to minimize your taxes. These include both tax deductions and tax credits for renovations and improvements made to your home either at the time of purchase or after.

Using your mortgage to make home improvements

One way to save on the costs of home renovation is to make the improvements to the home at the time it is purchased.

If the mortgage you take out to buy a home includes additional money to make renovations, your acquisition cost for the home includes this amount. You can then deduct the interest on this amount from your income as part of your mortgage interest deduction.

Improvements that qualify as medical expenses

Improvements to your home can also be deducted from your income as medical expenses if they are medically necessary.

The cost of installing entrance or exit ramps, modifying bathrooms, lowering cabinets, widening doors and hallways and adding handrails, among others, are home improvements that can be deducted as medical expenses. But the deduction amounts must be reasonable, given their medical purpose, and expenses incurred for aesthetic or architectural reasons cannot be deducted.

In other words, making a residence wheelchair accessible qualifies, but adding a sculpture garden does not.

Additionally, any amounts spent for these improvements that increase the value of your home cannot be claimed as a medical related expense.

Tax credits for energy generation

One of the best ways to lower your taxes is to take advantage of energy tax credits by installing qualified energy generating systems.

You can get a federal tax credit of 30% of the cost of qualifying geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, small wind turbines, or fuel cells placed in service for an existing or new construction home. The credits were good through 2016, except for the solar credits which are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021.

Except for fuel cells (which must be installed in your primary residence to qualify), the credit can be used for items installed in vacation or second homes as well.

The 30% credit applies to the cost, including labor and installation, and there is no maximum limit (except for fuel cells). For example, if you purchase and install solar panels for $10,000, you get a $3,000 tax credit right off the bat—not counting the future savings on your electric bill.

This tax credit must be taken in the tax year that the item was placed in service, and a Manufacturer Certification Statement must accompany the item to qualify. For complete details, visit Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency.

Home sale exemption

Under the home sale exemption, qualified sellers do not have to pay capital gains on appreciation of their primary residence when it is sold for a profit of $250,000 or less if filing as single and $500,000 or less if filing married filing joint. Because home renovations increase the basis in your home, they can help reduce the amount of your sale price that is counted as profit, and therefore can potentially help get you under the home sale exemption to avoid capital gains altogether. Even if not, the increased basis can limit the taxable portion of the sale price.

Remember, TurboTax Deluxe can help you find every tax deduction and credit you're entitled to, including those related to improving your home.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $59.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (forms 1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state limited time offer only available with TurboTax Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed and TurboTax Live for Extension Filers: To receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed through 10/31/19, you must pay for your 2017 TurboTax Self-Employed or TurboTax Live return between 4/18/18 and 10/15/18 and sign-in and access your QuickBooks Self-Employed account via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax at least twice by 12/31/18. You will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/19 for another year at the then-current subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison. Offer not valid for existing QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers already on a paid subscription.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15.3%) for tax year 2017. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Help and Support: Access to a TurboTax specialist is included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed and TurboTax Live; not included with Free Edition (but is available as an upgrade). TurboTax specialists are available to provide general customer help and support using the TurboTax product. SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Advice, Expert Review and TurboTax Live: Access to tax advice and Expert Review (the ability to have a Tax Expert review and/or sign your tax return) is included with TurboTax Live or as an upgrade from another version, and available through October 15, 2018. These services are provided only by credentialed CPAs, EAs or tax attorneys. State tax advice is free. Some tax topics or situations may not be included as part of this service, which shall be determined in the tax expert’s sole discretion. In the event your return is reviewed by a tax expert and requires a significant level of tax advice or actual preparation, the tax expert may be required to sign your return as the preparer at which point they will assume primary responsibility for the preparation of your return. Expert Review [and TurboTax Live] not available on the TurboTax mobile app or when using a web browser on your mobile phone. On-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access and My Docs features: Included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed, TurboTax Live or with PLUS benefits. Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available through 10/31/2019. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • Get tips based on your tax and credit data to help get you to where you want to be: Tax and credit data accessed upon your consent.
  • The tax reform consulting promotion is a free offer subject to cancellation at any time without notice. The promotion is limited to one 15min consultation per person with a tax expert. The consult will be solely for the purpose of explaining the impacts of tax reform, the tax expert will not give advice or tax prep guidance on prior year taxes.
  • TURBOTAX GUARANTEES

  • 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee: If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee - or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we'll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Online Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.99 and a refund of your state purchase price paid.
  • 100% Accurate, Expert Approved Guarantee: If you pay an IRS or state penalty (or interest) because of an error that a TurboTax CPA or EA made while signing your return, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest. We’ll also amend your return at no additional cost.
  • Audit Support Guarantee: If you received an audit letter based on your 2017 TurboTax return and are not satisfied with how we responded to your inquiry, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal 1040 and/or state purchase price you paid. TurboTax Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.99 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. We will not represent you or provide legal advice. Excludes TurboTax Business.
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed:
    • If you use TurboTax Online or Mobile: Satisfaction Guaranteed — or you don't pay. You may use TurboTax Online without charge up to the point you decide to print or electronically file your tax return. Printing or electronically filing your return reflects your satisfaction with TurboTax Online, at which time you will be required to pay or register for the product.
    • If you bought or downloaded TurboTax from a retailer: Try TurboTax software. If you're not satisfied, return it to Intuit within 60 days of purchase with your dated receipt for a full refund.
    • If you bought or downloaded TurboTax directly from us: Try TurboTax software. If you're not satisfied, return it within 60 days of shipment with your dated receipt for a full refund (excluding shipping & handling).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2017 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2014 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.