Dear Tax Talk,
I have a Class-A motor home listed as a second home. As I have it in storage for most of the year, can I deduct storage space fees for the time not used?
— Charles

Dear Charles,
The government is somewhat generous when it comes to vacation homes, but it’s not over the top. The tax code allows a deduction for interest paid on a loan secured by a primary and a second home when the overall debt is within certain limits. This is the only tax benefit associated with a second home.

Real estate property taxes are always deductible, regardless of the second-home status. In other words, an individual can deduct all real estate taxes on all properties including vacant land, or the taxes on more than two homes without regard to the overall debt limits.

Other costs associated with a second home are considered personal and not deductible. The storage fees would never be tax deductible. Similarly, marina fees for a boat or association fees for a condominium would not be deductible.

A second home is a property that you do not primarily rent out. If it is rented, you must use this home more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the number of days during the year that the home is rented at a fair rental, whichever is longer. If you do not use the home long enough, it is considered rental property and not a second home.

A home includes a house, condominium, cooperative, mobile home, house trailer, boat or similar property that has sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities. A time-share arrangement can be considered a second home.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek professional advice based on their particular circumstances.

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