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Publication 527

Not Rented for Profit(p16)

If you do not rent your property to make a profit, you can deduct your rental expenses only up to the amount of your rental income. You cannot deduct a loss or carry forward to the next year any rental expenses that are more than your rental income for the year.

Where to report.(p16)

Report your not-for-profit rental income on Form 1040 or 1040NR, line 21. If you are filing Form 1040 and you itemize your deductions, you can include your mortgage interest and any qualified mortgage insurance premiums (if you use the property as your main home or second home), real estate taxes, and casualty losses on the appropriate lines of Schedule A (Form 1040). Claim your other rental expenses, subject to the rules explained in chapter 1 of Publication 535, as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23, or Schedule A (Form 1040NR), line 9. You can deduct these expenses only if they, together with certain other miscellaneous itemized deductions, total more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Presumption of profit.(p16)

If your rental income is more than your rental expenses for at least 3 years out of a period of 5 consecutive years, you are presumed to be renting your property to make a profit.
Postponing decision.(p16)
If you are starting your rental activity and do not have 3 years showing a profit, you can elect to have the presumption made after you have the 5 years of experience required by the test. You may choose to postpone the decision of whether the rental is for profit by filing Form 5213. You must file Form 5213 within 3 years after the due date of your return (determined without extensions) for the year in which you first carried on the activity or, if earlier, within 60 days after receiving written notice from the Internal Revenue Service proposing to disallow deductions attributable to the activity.

More information.(p17)

For more information about the rules for an activity not engaged in for profit, see Not-for-Profit Activities in chapter 1 of Publication 535.