Property Tax Write-Offs for California Landlords

By Pen | March 26, 2024

Property Tax Write-Offs for California Landlords

Posted by Pen on Aug 15, 2014 8:44:17 PM

Property tax advantages for persons who rent property can be very rewarding:

tax write-offs for LANDLORDS OF rental property IN california

Rental property owners, did you know that you can make your property shine while also saving on taxes? Let's dive into the world of clever tax deductions that not only keep your properties in tip-top shape, but also make Uncle Sam a bit more agreeable at tax time. source

1. Repairs

Rental properties have to be maintained and all repairs are deductible the year that they are done. When something is broken and has to be replaced, this is a great way actually improve your property while getting a tax write off. Actual improvements also are deductible over their projected economic life (see depreciation below).

2. Travel Expenses

Keep records of your mileage when traveling to rental properties whether local or far away. If you have local properties, you can either deduct for mileage or the wear and tear on your car. For distant properties you can deduct travel as well as the cost of renting a room. Keep all your receipts.


For the portion of your residence dedicated to a home office, you can take a deduction. The deduction applies not only to space devoted to office work, but also to a workshop or any other home workspace uses for a rental business. This is true whether the landlord owns or rents their residence.

4. Depreciation: Tax Savings that Lasts

Landlords can reduce their annual tax bill for personal property and real estate improvements by taking deductions for the property’s economic life. To optimize deductions for personal and real estate, it is best to have a good accountant, particularly if you own a business and/or rental property.

5. Utilities

Generally a landlord does not pay utilities but if your property is not metered or if you share the property with renters, deduct the renter’s portion of utilities from taxes. Additionally, since you use the phone to conduct business as a business owner and landlord, some of the costs for the phone are deductible.

6. Interest: Deductions on Borrowed Money

Like homeowners, landlords can deduct the interest on their mortgages. Additionally the property, interest on credit cards used to improve rental property and interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity can be taken off.

7. Employees and Insurance: Deductible Business Expenses

The costs related to having employees including wages and health and workers' compensation insurance are deductible. Additionally premiums for most insurance for rental activity are a write off. This includes fire, theft, and flood insurance for rental property, as well as landlord liability insurance.

8. Professional Services

Don't forget about those professional fees! When you use the services of a lawyer or accountant or any other professional to assist with rental income, take this off your tax bill.

Remember, when it comes to taxes, every bit of saving counts. It's essential to be aware of all the potential deductions available to you as a rental property owner. While this list covers some of the most common tax benefits, it's not exhaustive. Tax laws can be complex, and they change frequently. Therefore, it's advisable to work with a knowledgeable tax professional who can guide you through the intricacies of property tax law and ensure you're maximizing your deductions.

Finally, remember that good record-keeping is essential when it comes to claiming these deductions. Ensure you keep detailed records of all income and expenses related to your rental properties, including receipts, invoices, and mileage logs. This will not only make tax time less stressful but also provide you with the documentation needed should the IRS ever question your deductions.

With smart planning and savvy tax strategies, being a landlord can be financially rewarding. By taking full advantage of the tax benefits available to you, you can increase your rental income and make your rental property business more profitable.

Property Tax Appeals: A Recipe for Success

The Board of Equalization assesses property (personal and real estate) to determine its market value. To appeal an assessment for personal property or real estate, we recommend that you contact the appropriate county to request an explanation of how the assessment was determined. You can use the opportunity to share material facts affecting the value of the property. However, if you are not able to reach an agreement we encourage you to make an appeal.

Prepare well for your administrative hearing before the Board, as their findings are final. Remember, the property owner must prove that the assessor improperly valued the property.

Expert tip: Paramount Property Tax Appeal specializes in real estate and personal property tax filings. We can represent clients throughout the filing and appeals processes, making the ordeal smoother and more likely to succeed.

By following these guidelines and taking advantage of these deductions, you can save money and keep your rental properties in excellent condition, all while keeping your tax bill in check.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of repairs can I deduct from my rental property taxes?

A: Any necessary repair that keeps your property in a rentable condition can be deducted. This includes anything from fixing a leaky faucet to replacing a broken window. However, improvements that add value to the property must be depreciated over time.

Can I really deduct travel expenses related to my rental property?

A: Yes, landlords can deduct travel expenses that are necessary for maintaining their rental properties. These can include mileage, airfare, hotel stays, meals, and even rental cars if the travel is specifically for the property management purposes.

How does a home office deduction work for landlords?

A: If you use a portion of your home exclusively for managing your rental properties, you may be eligible for a home office deduction. This can include a portion of your mortgage or rent, as well as utilities.

What is depreciation and how does it affect my taxes as a landlord?

A: Depreciation is a tax deduction that allows landlords to recover the cost of the property over its useful life. This can be a significant deduction that reduces your taxable income each year.

Can I deduct utilities on my rental property?

A: If you pay for utilities at your rental property, you can deduct these costs. However, if your tenants pay their own utilities, you cannot claim these as a deduction.

Are the interest payments on my rental property mortgage deductible?

A: Yes, landlords can deduct mortgage interest, as well as interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity.

Can I deduct the cost of employees or professional services for my rental property?

A: Yes, you can deduct wages for employees, such as property managers or maintenance staff, as well as fees paid to professionals like lawyers or accountants who assist with your rental business.

What records should I keep for my rental properties?

A: You should keep detailed records of all income and expenses related to your rental properties. This includes receipts, invoices, contracts, and mileage logs. These records will be necessary for accurately reporting your income and expenses at tax time, and they will also be crucial if the IRS ever questions your deductions.

Is rent tax deductible in California?

A: As a general rule, tenants cannot deduct the rent they pay on their personal income taxes. However, for landlords, rental income is taxable, but they can take advantage of many deductions including repair costs, travel expenses, home office deductions, depreciation, utilities, interest payments, and the cost of employees or professional services. It's important to consult with a tax professional to understand how these deductions apply to your specific situation.

Topics: California Property Tax Appeal, Business Personal Property

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