You generally must include in your gross income all amounts you receive as rent. Rental income is any payment you receive for the use or occupation of property. In addition to amounts you receive as normal rent payments, there are other amounts that may be rental income.
When to report.
Report rental income on your return for the year you actually or constructively receive it, if you are a cash-basis taxpayer. You are a cash basis taxpayer if you report income in the year you receive it, regardless of when it was earned. You constructively receive income when it is made available to you, for example, by being credited to your bank account.
For more information about when you constructively receive income, see Accounting Methods in chapter 1.
Advance rent is any amount you receive before the period that it covers. Include advance rent in your rental income in the year you receive it regardless of the period covered or the method of accounting you use.
You sign a 10-year lease to rent your property. In the first year, you receive $5,000 for the first years rent and $5,000 as rent for the last year of the lease. You must include $10,000 in your income in the first year.
Do not include a security deposit in your income when you receive it if you plan to return it to your tenant at the end of the lease. But if you keep part or all of the security deposit during any year because your tenant does not live up to the terms of the lease, include the amount you keep in your income for that year.
If an amount called a security deposit is to be used as a final payment of rent, it is advance rent. Include it in your income when you receive it.
Payment for canceling a lease.
If your tenant pays you to cancel a lease, the amount you receive is rent. Include the payment in your income in the year you receive it regardless of your method of accounting.
Expenses paid by tenant.
If your tenant pays any of your expenses, the payments are rental income. You must include them in your income. You can deduct the expenses if they are deductible rental expenses. See Rental Expenses, later, for more information.
Property or services.
If you receive property or services, instead of money, as rent, include the fair market value of the property or services in your rental income.
If the services are provided at an agreed upon or specified price, that price is the fair market value unless there is evidence to the contrary.
Rental of property also used as a home.
If you rent property that you also use as your home and you rent it for fewer than 15 days during the tax year, do not include the rent you receive in your gross income. You cannot deduct rental expenses. However, you can include the interest, taxes, and casualty and theft losses that are allowed for nonrental property on Schedule A of Form 1040. See Personal Use of Vacation Home or Dwelling Unit, later.
If you own a part interest in rental property, you must report your part of the rental income from the property.
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