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COVID-19 Tax Relief for Rental Property Owners

The coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on Americans. Layoffs, business closures, and public health concerns and restrictions have put a significant strain on the economy. This financial downturn has also put some rental property owners in a precarious financial position. U.S. and local governments have approved tax relief for small business and rental property owners who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This article will explore some of those provisions.


Questions about the coronavirus pandemic?

Visit the Coronavirus Legal Center and ask a lawyer today.


What types of federal tax relief measures are there for rental property owners?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, authorizes more lenient rules for business loss and business interest expense deductions. Here are the details.  

Excess Business Losses for Rental Property

The IRS under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) prohibited taxpayers from deducting excess business losses on their current year tax returns. Any business losses in excess of $250,000 ($500,000 for taxpayers married and filing a joint return) were suspended and carried forward to future tax years. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act temporarily eliminates this rule for tax years beginning in 2018 through 2020.

If you are eligible, you can amend your 2018 and 2019 tax returns in order to take advantage of this relief.

Potential Net Operating Loss Deductions

With the impact of the financial crisis, you may have losses that exceed your total income for the year. The CARES Act includes a provision that allows taxpayers to carry back any losses experienced during tax years 2018, 2019, and 2020 for up to five years, reducing your tax liability from previous years and providing some financial relief.

Business Interest Expense Deduction Limits

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows a 30% deduction for business interest expenses on a taxpayers’ current year tax return. For any nondeductible business interest more than 30%, the remaining portion is carried forward to a future tax year.

The provisions of the CARES Act allows taxpayers to increase the eligible business interest expense deduction to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020. If you have already filed your 2019 tax return, you may be eligible to amend the return to take advantage of this provision.

Is there tax relief for rental property owners at the state level?

Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF)

Indirect relief may be available through a $500 billion fund that the Federal government has created to purchase bonds issued by states, cities, and other local municipalities. The relief provision applies to cities with more than 250,000 residents and counties with more than 500,000 people. However, the regulations guarantee that a minimum of two cities or counties within each state will be eligible regardless of population.

The funds have been set up to help support state and local governments who have experienced lower revenue due to the pandemic, allowing those entities to in turn help their local communities. If eligible, your local government may be able to use those funds to help with property tax relief for their citizens.

State and Local Property Tax Relief

Although most state and local governments across the country have declared a national disaster as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it may still be difficult to determine whether or not you might be eligible for property tax relief.

While some states like California and New Jersey have issued state-level declarations, these types of property tax relief declarations are typically determined on a local level and your eligibility for such relief may depend on what is included in your local government bylaws. If you have questions on what type of relief you may be eligible for, it is best to follow up with your local jurisdiction to determine what options are available.

The coronavirus pandemic has likely had an impact on your rental real estate properties in ways not previously anticipated. While we are uncertain of what the future holds with the current pandemic, there are some relief options that you can take advantage of now.If you have tax-related legal questions about your rental property, ask a Rocket Lawyer On Call®️ Attorney. Check out these customizable and state-specific rental and property management documents designed especially for rental property owners. Visit the Rocket Lawyer COVID Legal Center for free documents and answers to legal questions from attorney volunteers.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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