I have consulted a number of sources, and your proposal to make
interest and maintenance expenses deductible by selling your primary
residence to your own corporation is only viable if your corporation
uses your home for business. If you sell your home to your
corporation and then it does not use your home for business, the cost
deductions you take may be disallowed by the IRS and treated as a
dividend from your corporation to you. This may subject you to double
taxation at both the corporate and individual levels, thereby leaving
you in much worse shape. Furthermore, you risk losing the home sale
capital gains exclusion if you do not own your primary residence for
two out of five years before you sell it.
If you do use your home for business, there is a potential to
accomplish much of what you would like to. By having the business
purchase the property, it can then deduct the associated expenses.
However, you have to pay fair market value rent to the business for
the portion of the property you occupy, which cannot be deducted.
Another problem is you run the risk of double taxation if the
corporation earns a profit and returns it to you as a dividend.
Finally, if you are deducting a very large percentage of the home (one
that exceeds a typical home office), the IRS may give you difficulty
about justifying how the expense is both ordinary and necessary for
your business. Furthermore, there is no requirement that you must
have a corporation in order to deduct home-based business expenses.
The home office deduction is available to even self-employed sole
Purchasing a rental property as an investment, or converting an
existing residence into a rental property, does of course then make
those expenses deductible as proper business expenses.
Before you contemplate such a transaction, you would need to consult
with an expert to ensure you are not running afoul of any IRS rules.
My opinion is that this is a very aggressive tax avoidance strategy
that could easily get you into trouble if the business' need for the
property is not well established. As one source puts it, "Now, having
said all that, we hasten to add that any time you start to fool around
with IRS regulations you run into problems. Basically, the IRS has the
job of collecting money from people. And though it is well established
that you have the right to organize your affairs in any way you please
in an attempt to lower your tax liability, the IRS and Congress are
determined to try to prevent you from exercising that right.
But for now, let us just point out that you need expert advice to set
up a tax-avoiding structure such as the one we are explaining here.
The specific form of the structure will depend on your own personal
situation and your goals."
"Let The IRS Pay For Your New Home" Moneyhaven.com
"COMMENTS - NOVEMBER, 2003" by Barry N. Finkelstein, FACPA (November
1, 2003) http://www.facpa.com/documents/WEB_1103.pdf page 12
"TaxTalk: The Home Office Deduction" National Association for the
Self-Employed (2005) http://taxtalk.nase.org/taxtalk/homeoffice.asp
"Business Expenses" IRS
"Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home" IRS