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The nearest Hal Pontez could get to the North Houston office park he owns was a quarter mile away. From that viewpoint on Monday, he said, “tops of buildings are peeking through a lake.” One building houses another business he owns that builds electric power plants and services gas and...
By Charles Sims Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender



With a stable housing market, low interest rates, and a more positive employment picture, more Americans may be in a position to buy or sell properties in 2017. Moreover, the U.S. tax code favors real estate ownership, allowing for tax savings that might help families enhance their everyday lives and build wealth over the long term. Incentives for homeowners The ability to write off mortgage interest and other home-related expenses can help subsidize a home purchase. Homeowners must itemize deductions on Schedule A of their federal tax returns instead of claiming the standard deduction. The deduction for mortgage interest applies on up to $1 million for first mortgages — plus up to $100,000 on home-equity loans — for a primary residence and a second home such as a vacation condo, mobile home, boat, house trailer, or any structure with sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities (if it is not rented for income). The property owner can also deduct real estate taxes in the year they are paid, as well as mortgage points (origination fees) — even if the seller pays them for the buyer. Protected profits When a principal residence is sold, losses are not tax deductible, but a profit of up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married joint filers) may be excluded from the federal capital gains tax. To qualify for the exclusion, the home must have been owned and occupied as a principal residence for two out of the five years before the sale. Owners who cannot pass this test may be eligible for a reduced exclusion, but only if the home sale resulted from an employment relocation, health reasons, or certain other unforeseen circumstances. Different rules for rentals Because rental property is considered business property, mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, and other expenses are tax deductible and can be used to offset some or all of the rental income. Depreciation is calculated on a straight-line basis over 27.5 years, which means about 3.63% of the entire purchase price may be deducted each year, even if the property is largely financed. Under IRS Section 1031, when a qualified (non-owner occupied) investment property such as a rental home is exchanged instead of sold, the capital gains tax may be postponed indefinitely as long as the transaction is documented and conducted properly. The seller must purchase ‘like-kind’ property (i.e., real estate must be exchanged for real estate, but it need not be the same grade, quality, type, or class) of equal or greater value within 180 days. IRS rules mandate that the proceeds from the sale of the original property must be held by a third party (such as a qualified intermediary), and the exchange process must meet a number of other specific conditions. (Charles Sims Jr., CMFC, LUTCF, is President/CEO of The Sims Financial Group. Contact him at 901-682-2410 or visit www.SimsFinancialGroup.com).
Beautiful fall weather served as the backdrop Thursday night as people were moving about outside in various sections of Downtown Memphis when a sound out of character with that scenario jarred those who heard it. Gunfire! Philip H. Trenary, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s president and chief executive officer, was shot dead...
by Charles Sims Jr. , Special to The New Tri-State Defender More than half of large U.S. companies offer employees a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). When an HDHP is offered, employees often have a choice between the HDHP and a traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. People who buy coverage outside...
by Charles Sims Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender Many people wait as long as possible to withdraw funds from tax-deferred retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s in order to give their investments more time to grow. But the IRS won't let you postpone the income taxes indefinitely....
The invitation was to come chat with Black Girls Code and “some powerful women of color in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The annual event was held at the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering last Saturday. The audience included parents and girls from ages 6 to 17. The discussion...
First Tennessee Bank is investing $5 million to help launch the Memphis Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund, a $17.5 million lending program aimed at improving access to capital for minority- and women-owned businesses. The fund is a collaboration between nonprofit entrepreneurship hub Epicenter, Pathway Lending – a regional nonprofit community...
Trey Carter is “The Next Big Thing” and there’s not even a sconch of hyperbole in that assertion. The Next Big Thing Movement, a global non-profit organization, has designated Trey Carter as one of the Top 35 Millennial Influencers in the country. That means the group, which includes a network...
If prospective entrepreneurs were queried on the number one impediment to launching and growing a business, the lack of access to capital would likely be right up there on the board. The survey would also probably reveal that the problem is even more acute for minorities and women, in particular. Related: "Memphis...
The sobering reality of Phil Trenary's fatal shooting was about 15 hours old when Old Allen Task Force officers got behind a white Ford F-150 that fit the description of the vehicle spotted leaving the Downtown homicide scene Thursday night. Trenary, the president and chief executive officer of the Greater...