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House a wreck? Move! But you can't deduct it on your taxes

Even in drought-stricken Texas, the phrase "when it rains, it pours" is true. Except in our case, it's not precipitation that's piling on; it's home repair and maintenance issues.

Back in August, the main spring on the hubby's garage door decided to snap.

New kitchen faucetA few weeks later our kitchen faucet needed to be replaced. That's the shiny new one there to the right.

This week, painters are working on our home's trim. The stucco portion of the house is on repaint hold while we look for someone to repair a gable vent. Then we'll get that area painted, after which the majority of the exterior that's covered with Texas limestone, along with our back patio, will be steam cleaned.

Also today, we're waiting for the garage repair guys to show up again. A long story short, I tried to open my garage door not realizing that the painters had locked the doors so they could slap on a new coat. Then, just to see if the hubby's garage door would make the same horrible noise (I know, I know), I tried to open it, too.

After unlocking them, both garage doors open … and open and open … bouncing right back up as soon as they hit the driveway.

Property pros and cons: I'm not fishing for "poor Kay" comments, although in my current mood I'll take them! I'm simply stating something every homeowner knows.

Being a property owner is a major pain in the butt!

Sure, if you itemize, you get to write off the property taxes and if you have a mortgage, interest on that, and sometimes other related home loans.

But until filing time, you're covering the tax and interest payments out of your own pocket. And the tax deductions never cover the full actual costs of these expenses.

No tax help for home repairs: Then there are all those infernal routine upkeep and repair costs. Like the faucet and the garage doors and the painting.

This is the category into which most of the work done on most houses falls. And the tax code says these repairs, renovations and general maintenance of your personal residence are nondeductible personal expenditures.

When these annoying, necessary repairs to keep the roof over your head start piling up, my flight instinct starts to overtake my fight mode.

I tend to want to move. To a rental apartment. With a landlord that I can bug until things are fixed. Homeownership tax breaks be damned.

Of course, we won't move. Dealing with home repairs though a third party is its own type of residential hell. Plus the hubby is committed to the ownership model and his backyard garden.

Plus, any move right now would be local and for purely personal reasons, which means we wouldn't even be able to get any tax break for relocating.

Writing off moving costs: As today's Weekly Tax Tip notes, you can deduct some moving costs, but only if your schlepping of your stuff to a new house is due to work.

That's right. You can't simply decide you're tired of your current repair-needy home. You must find a new place because of your job.

You've also got to meet some specific distance requirements.

Your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your previous residence than your last office was from your old home. The diagram below illustrates this requirement. 

IRS moving distance testSource: IRS Publication 521. Click for a larger view.

Basically, the Internal Revenue Service wants to ensure that your move isn't just to get an easier commute.

Obviously the hubby and I don't meet the moving tax deduction tests. And neither of us is up for finding a new job just to get a tax break.

If, however, you end up relocating for work and you meet the tax code requirements, be sure to claim the moving deduction.

You don't even have to itemize to claim it. Just fill out Form 3903 and enter the amount on the proper line (usually line 26) in the adjustments to income section, also known as above-the-line deductions, of Form 1040.

And good luck in finding a house in your new hometown that's in good condition!

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Can you write off any household repairs like garage doors on a rental property?
Just wondering if trying to fix things yourself will save money, or getting a professional repair person to do it and then maybe write all or part of the amount off. I am on the fence about trying the DIY, found lots of good sites online to help and walk me through it. Money talks...so I may over come my hesitation, if I save a lot of money.

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