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For tax purposes, a home improvement includes any work performed that substantially adds to the value of your home, increases its useful life, or adapts it to new uses. These include room additions, new bathrooms, decks, fences, landscaping, wiring updates, hallways, driveways, kitchen upgrades, plumbing upgrades, and new roofs. Check out more here: Home improvement tax deductions

If you use your home solely as your personal residence, you cannot deduct the cost of home improvements. These costs are non-deductible personal expenses.

However, this does not mean that home improvements do not have a tax benefit. They can help reduce the amount of taxes you must pay when you sell your home at a profit. This is because the cost of home improvements adds to your home's tax base. "Base" means the amount of your investment in your home for tax purposes. The higher your base, the less profit you will make when you sell your home.

Home improvements are the most common way that homeowners increase their foundation. However, your home base does not include the cost of any improvements that were later removed from the home. For example, if you installed a new chain-link fence 15 years ago and later replaced it with a redwood fence, the cost of the old fence is no longer part of the foundation of your home.

Although you cannot deduct home improvements, you can depreciate them. This means that you deduct the cost over several years, between three and 27.5 years. To qualify to depreciate home improvement costs, you must use a part of your home that is not a personal residence.

One way to depreciate your home improvement costs is to run a business and use part of the home as a business office. To qualify for the home office deduction, you must have a legitimate business and use part of your home exclusively and regularly for business.

If you qualify for this deduction, you can deduct 100% of the cost for improvements that you make only in your home office. For example, if you use a bedroom in your home as a home office and you pay a carpenter to install built-in shelving, you can write down the entire cost as a business expense.

Improvements that benefit your entire home are depreciated based on the percentage of home office use. For example, if you use 20% of your home as an office, you can write off 20% of the cost to upgrade your home's heating and cooling system.

Another way to depreciate your home improvement costs is to rent a part of your home. This allows you to depreciate the expense as a rental expense. This amount is deducted from the rental income you receive.

As with the home office deduction, improvements that benefit only the portion of the house that is rented can be fully depreciated. Improvements that benefit the whole home may be depreciated based on the rental use percentage of the home.

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