10 Surprising Tax Preparation Tips

Home Sweet Home
The interest you’re paying on your mortgage, as well as the cost of some home improvement projects, will help you out on your taxes. ©iStock/Thinkstock

All too often, a home feels like a giant vacuum that sucks up money. But come tax time, you can take advantage of a number of home ownership-related tax breaks that may help offset your Monster Vac.

Mortgage interest, including any points you paid if you bought or refinanced during the year, are deductible. Also, if you make your January mortgage payment in December, you can deduct that month's interest this year as well.

Upgrades, including green-energy improvements such as additional insulation, energy-efficient windows and whole house fans, often offer tax credits, which means the credit amount is deducted from the amount of taxes you owe. Get those improvements finished by Dec. 31 to claim the credit this year.

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