Despite all the agita we experience at tax time, there’s a silver lining for most of us: According to IRS statistics, eight in 10 taxpayers typically get refunds, which in recent years have averaged $2,800 or more. That’s enough forced savings to have a field day on home improvement.
Most taxpayers who file on time get their refund checks (or direct deposits) in May or June, an ideal time for indoor or outdoor painting. And these projects just happen to be two of the best ways to improve the appearance of any home.
Even if your tax refund is small, it likely is sufficient to pay for some interior painting. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, that can cost $100 or less, and just a few hundred dollars more if you hire a contractor. Assuming that the size of your refund is about average — $2,800 –you can actually afford to repaint a whole suite of rooms!
Often, interior painting is done to add fresh new color and style to a home, but exterior painting is more often done out of necessity. If your home exterior hasn’t caught sight of a paintbrush in several years, then it’s likely time to repaint: As a rule of thumb, ordinary exterior paints typically wear out in just three or four years, while top of the line coatings made with 100% acrylic last 10 years or more.
If your outdoor paint is showing its age and your home is small, you might be able to cover the entire cost of a new paint job with your tax refund, depending in part on whether you do the work yourself, or hire a professional painter. If your home is larger, or your tax refund is small, the money you get back from the government can at least pay for some of the work.
Even if you’ve earmarked your tax refund for something else, there’s no reason you can’t reserve a small part of it for some minor painting projects. Some of these can make a big difference in the appearance of your home. Painting just your front door in a new color can give the impression that you’ve changed your entire exterior color scheme. Inside your home, you can freshen things up by painting a few built-ins, like cabinets, bookcases, or moldings, or by painting a single accent wall.
And since it’s never too early to plan for next year’s taxes, if you run a home-based business, remember that some of your expense for interior or exterior painting may be tax-deductible on your 2016 return. Direct expenses for a home office, including interior painting, are deductible in their entirety. You might even be able to deduct a percentage of the cost of repainting the exterior of your home.
So, when your tax refund arrives, think about doing some painting. It’s a great way – and spring is a great time – to improve the appearance of your home!