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I notice you mention "replacing broken roof shingles" as something that is deductible. We had to replace our entire roof in 2011, costing just over $6k. Is this deductible (taken at time-space %, and depreciated over 39 yrs. of course)?

Tom Copeland

Yes, a new roof is considered a home improvement to be depreciated over 39 years (after applying the Time-Space%). If you replaced just a few shingles it would be considered a repair and be deductible in one year.

J. Brandon

I run a Painting and Handyman company and my customers sometimes ask me the difference between a repair and home improvement for tax purposes. This article helps, but there are sometimes grey areas (at least to me). For example, a wealthy customer wants a door replaced for purely cosmetic reasons (it would look fine to most people). would a simple door installation be considered an Improvement or a repair in this case?

-J Brandon

Angel Olmedo

Change a out-of-use refrigerater or stove can be considered a repair and fully deductible in the year of change?

Tom Copeland

If you are replacing a refrigerator or stove, this is not a repair. If you fix them, then it's a repair.

Tom Copeland

J Brandon - There is a big grey area when talking about the difference between a repair and an improvement. I would consider replacing a door a repair because it doesn't increase the value of the home. But, I'm not 100% certain, because the law is not clear.

Dr. Vaughan Dabbs

This is wonderful. I am not quite familiar with the internet, but I beleive that what I just read is some good material. Thanks for continuing to write such wonderful articles. God bless.

Melbourne Splashbacks

Good day! Last year, we installed a new central security alarm system but we failed to declare it on our 2011 tax return. Would it be possible if we declare it on this year’s tax return instead and claim deductions? Thanks.

Tom Copeland

If you didn't claim the security alarm system last year, you can't claim it this year. You can file an amended tax return and claim for last year and get a refund.

Deborah Walter

Can I claim landscaping as a deduction?

Tom Copeland

Believe it or not, landscaping is a tricky issue. If it costs less than $100 deduct it in one year. If it costs more, and it's close to the house (close enough that it would be damaged if you physically moved the home) then you must depreciate it as part of the home (39 years). If it's not that close, you can't deduct it.

Donna U

I wanted to convert our front porch so I could use it in the winter or on rainy days for my daycare kids. We have an older house with an enclosed front porch that had combination windows all the way around. We replaced the windows with 5 sliders, insulated the walls and put up drywall. I have saved all the receipts. I also use our upstairs bedroom for the kids when they nap. It was extremely hot up there so I got an attic fan and a window unit. Can I use these as a deduction this yr?

Tom Copeland

Yes, you can depreciate the front porch remodeling as a home improvement. Claim the attic fan and the window unit as "personal property" that you can depreciate over 7 years.

Jarl Kubat

In many cases just cleaning your home along with organizing closets, cupboards, garage,basement, etc... dose wonders for the sale of your home! Although, when ever you can make internal and/or external improvements to your home - helps with resale.


How does a small do-it-yourself home improvement project work? We bought things here and there over the course of the past year and slowly fixed things up once the plumbing was redone. Do I still add up all the small purchases to count it as a home improvement? (About $500 worth)? It started as a plumbing problem that had to be redone--but then new drywall, concrete, mud were needed to replace the parts that needed to be destroyed. This gets very grey to me. Ugh


we had the back yard landscaped for the child care we had playground wood mulch put in place and removed the old rock (it was all over and very dangerous) i also had sod put in so we could use the yard asap would this be deductible we also had a sprinkler system put in.


Deduct the wood mulch and rock removal in one year as a maintenance expense. Deduct the sod in one year. Depreciate the sprinkler system over 15 years as a land improvement.

S McDonnell

If we had hail damage and had a new roof replaced, and new paint for the house (some covered by insurance, some paid by us)- would we claim them as a repair or replacement?


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So I am looking at buying a new air conditioning unit. It is about $5k. How much of this would I receive as a tax refund next year?


Air conditioning is considered a home improvement and should be depreciated over 39 years. Multiply your time-space % by $5,000 and divide by 39 years. So, if your time-space % is 40% (40% x $5,000 = $2,000/39 years = $51 deduction each year. Not much.


The children in the home have really done damage to my living room carpet due to many potty training accidents. (YUCK!) We are in desperate need to replace the carpet. We are having someone install tile so that it will be easier to clean. Would this be considered a repair or improvement. Technically, I absolutely need to replace the carpet due to damages that would never have been there if I didn't have the home business AND I am having tile installed (with dark grout) only because it it easier to maintain and clean than anything else; if I didn't have the business I would have chosen hardwoods. Home repair or improvement?


Tile floors are considered home improvements, but new rules say you can treat it as a repair (claim in 1 year). If the old carpet was being depreciated, you can claim the remaining amount of depreciation this year.

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