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09-26-2017 02:16 PM
My mother-in-law just passed away. Her house will go to my wife. Probate will be in October. My wife will pay the annual property tax in November. My assumption is that my wife will report the property tax as an itemized deduction on our tax return. We will have to get the county to put my wife’s name on the deed but this may take until next year. Would this prevent us from taking the tax deduction? The property tax bill has already been sent out by the county in my mother-in-law’s name.
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09-26-2017 07:15 PM
Welcome to the H&R Block community.
Yes, you can take the deduction for the real estate taxes if you pay them. It's just like the sale of a home. When you buy a house, the real estate taxes are pro-rated so that you deduct the amount allocable to the months that you owned the house, but you can also deduct real estate taxes that you paid on behalf of the seller at closing. In your situation you inherited a house. Once the house officially becomes yours you can deduct the real estate taxes from that month on as well as any that you pay on behalf of the previous owner when taking it over, so in other words you can deduct the real estate taxes for this year assuming that your wife legally became the owner of the home upon her mom's death and paid all of the taxes. Once you've gone through court and assets have been distributed, etc. and the house changes to your hands you own the house, so I don't believe it will make a difference if it takes some time to get your name on the title in this situation as it is a little bit different than a straight-forward home purchase. Just be sure that once you get the title switched into your name that you keep the new title in a safe place so that you can prove legal ownership if you're ever asked.
If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.
Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)