Want a nearly watertight tax break? Try buying a yacht.
If you have the right craft, you usually can get the same interest payment deductions for a boat that you can for a second home. That's so because, under U.S. tax law, just about anything that has a toilet and sleeping and cooking facilities meets the definition of a second home. Mobile homes can meet the standard as well.
It might not even be necessary to go out and buy something fancy.
"You could make a strong argument that if you had a johnny on board, a rowboat could qualify," joked Lawrence A. Krause, a San Francisco financial planner.
Jeffrey J. Misner, a senior tax manager in the Irvine office of the Ernest & Whinney accounting firm, warns, however, that there is a narrower definition of second homes for people paying the alternative minimum tax. In such cases, he says, boats and motor homes might not qualify.
Also, Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) has introduced a bill that would scuttle the tax deduction for yacht "home loans." For now, however, the deduction is still afloat.