Can I Deduct Mold Remediation Expenses?

by Bob Haring, Demand Media

    Mold is important in the natural environment, helping break down dead organic material such as limbs or leaves, but it is a health hazard inside a house. It can cause problems breathing, such as hay fever or asthma, or irritate eyes and cause skin rashes. Mold spores grow in damp areas and can be difficult and expensive to remove; solving the problem can be tax-deductible in some circumstances.

    Remediation vs. Renovation

    Mold removal or remediation qualifies as a deductible expense from your income for federal taxes because the Internal Revenue Service considers it an essential repair required to maintain the value of your home. There's a distinction between repair and renovation. Repair maintains your home's value; renovation increases it. Removing mold keeps your house livable without improving it.

    Deducting Labor and Materials

    If you hire a professional company to remove mold, which is typically the case, you can deduct the total bill, including both materials and labor. You'll usually have to fill out a Form 4684 for casualty losses and then report the mold remediation expense on a Schedule A for itemized deductions with your basic Form 1040 income tax return.

    Relocation Expense

    You may be able to claim a portion of relocation expenses if the mold remediation forces you and your family to live elsewhere during the process. This is often the case with natural disasters such as hurricanes or storms. You should review your case with an IRS representative or income tax preparer before you contract for the work to find out if those expenses can be deducted.

    No Deduction for Renovation

    You can't deduct mold remediation if it's part of a major renovation. If mold is discovered and removed while you're building an addition, for instance, that expense is considered incidental to the improvement. However, if the renovation contributes to an increase in the value of your home, and if you are subject to a capital gains tax upon selling your home, you can write off the expenses of the renovation, including the mold remediation, against the capital gains and lower your tax obligation.

    About the Author

    Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.