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Father's Day home/recreational thoughts

Happy day to all you fathers! I hope you're getting to spend it doing just what you want.

Misc_boats_on_lake_travis_2 Here in Central Texas, that means a lot of dads, and their families, are out on one of the region's many lakes, like Lake Travis there at right.

I enjoy spending time on a boat, especially a big one with a shady deck and lots of cool beverages. But I've never really wanted to own one myself.

My main reason for bumming boat rides rather than being my own skipper is that old saying about a boat being a hole in the water that you pour your money into.

And many boat owners nowadays are finding that quip is truer than ever. The Soapbox feature in today's New York Times is a photo essay on the rising costs of taking to the water, regardless of whether your water craft is for recreation or occupation.

Some folks are making the necessary fiscal adjustments. One weekend captain told the paper he'd rather cut back on beer than boating. That's probably a good idea even when he's not trying to save money and especially when he's behind his boat's wheel!

Yo ho, yo ho, a boating house for me! If you really, really love the water, you always can look into living on your boat. In fact, doing so could garner you a tax break.

Houseboat2_2_2 Yep, it's true. As long as live on the vessel, as your main residence or as a vacation home, it qualifies for the mortgage interest deduction.

According to Internal Revenue Code section 163(h)(4), a boat will be considered a qualified residence if it is one of the two residences chosen by a taxpayer for purposes of deductibility in the tax year. A qualified residence must have basic living accommodations including sleeping space (berth), a toilet (head), and cooking facilities (galley).

If you don't live on the boat full-time and rent it out a la land-locked real estate such as a vacation cabin, in order to claim the second home mortgage interest tax deduction you must use it for personal purposes for either (1) more than 14 days or (2) for 10 percent of the number of days during the year the boat was actually rented.

Other second home tax tips can be found in these stories from Smart Money, Bankrate and the accounting firm Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co.

Happy boating and good tax savings, mateys!

Houseboat photo courtesy of Inhabitat;
Lake Travis boating photo courtesy of Hill-Country.net.


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When we bought our little sky boat three summers ago and I called my dad to tell him about the purchase, he said, "There are two perfect days owning a boat: the day you buy it and the day you sell it."

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