So You Want to Be a Landlord - Tax Benefits
Category: Tax Law and Planning, Financial Planning
I have discussed here before some of the risks with owning rental real estate in your own name ("Rental Real Estate - What are the Risks?") - it should be titled to an LLC or some other entity to create a barrier between your personal assets and the property. As a general rule, if rental real estate is owned by an LLC, the LLC is the only entity that is liable in the event of a lawsuit, and only to the extent of its assets.
The article Smartmoney.com - Tax Matters: So You Want to Be a Landlord discusses the income tax benefits of owning rental real estate (as opposed to purchasing real estate to fix up and flip).
"But the real kicker is that you can depreciate the cost of residential buildings over 27.5 years, even while they are (you hope) increasing in value. Say your rental property (not including the land) cost $100,000. The annual depreciation deduction is $3,636, which means you can have that much in positive cash flow without owing any income taxes. That's a pretty good deal, especially after you own several properties. Commercial buildings must be depreciated over a much longer 39 years, but the write-offs will still shelter some cash flow from taxes. "
Since an LLC is a pass-through entity for tax purposes, if the rental real estate is owned in an LLC, the tax benefits will flow through to your personal return.