Are you a homeowner on Cape Cod, enjoying the scenic beauty as either your primary residence or a cherished second home? If so, you might be intrigued by a tax strategy that could provide you with some extra, tax-free income without the complexities of becoming a full-time short term rental property manager. Known colloquially as the “Master’s Rule” and formally as the 14-day rule, this strategy is outlined in Section 280A(g) of the U.S. tax code. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you, as a homeowner, can take advantage of this rule to earn a little extra money without the tax headaches.
Why is it Called the Master’s Rule?
The term “Master’s Rule” originated from homeowners living near the Augusta National Golf Club, the venue for the prestigious Master’s Tournament. Property owners would rent out their homes for exorbitant prices during the week of the tournament and enjoy tax-free income, thanks to Section 280A(g). This strategy has since been adopted by savvy homeowners in other high-demand areas, including the picturesque landscapes of Cape Cod.
What is Section 280A(g)?
Section 280A(g) of the Internal Revenue Code allows homeowners to rent out their primary or secondary residences for up to 14 days per year without having to report the rental income on their federal tax returns.
- Primary or Secondary Residence: This rule applies to your main home or a vacation property.
- 14 Days or Less: You can rent out your property for up to 14 days in a calendar year.
- Tax-Free Income: The income generated is not considered taxable at the federal level.
- Standard Deductions: You can still claim standard homeowner deductions like mortgage interest and property taxes.
- No Expense Deductions: You can’t deduct rental expenses like maintenance or utilities for the days the property was rented.
Massachusetts State Regulations
According to the state of Massachusetts, no matter how many days your property is available for rent each year, you must register with the Department of Revenue (DOR) using MassTaxConnect. However, if the property is rented for 14 days or less in a calendar year, you are not required to collect any tax.
Important Note: If you exceed 14 days of rentals during the calendar year, you will be responsible for paying the taxes that should have been collected for the first 14 days. The deadline for claiming this exemption for each calendar year is January 15 of the year claiming the exemption.
How Can Cape Cod Property Owners Benefit?
If you own property on Cape Cod, you’re in a prime position to take advantage of both federal and state tax rules. Whether it’s the summer tourist season or special events, Cape Cod often sees spikes in short-term rental demand. By strategically renting out your property during these peak times, you can earn significant, tax-free income.
The Master’s Rule offers a unique opportunity for property owners on Cape Cod to generate tax-free income through short-term rentals. By understanding the nuances of both federal Section 280A(g) and Massachusetts state regulations, you can make more informed decisions about your real estate investments on Cape Cod.
Disclaimer: I am not a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or tax advisor. The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. For personalized tax advice, please consult a professional.