You generally deduct rental expenses in the year you pay them (or in the year incurred if you use the accrual method of accounting).
Rental expenses are not the same as capital improvements, which must be depreciated over various number of years, depending on the type of improvement.
Land is never depreciated.
Types of rental expenses:
Travel (away from home)
Types of Capital Improvements:
Additions: Bedroom, Bathroom, Deck, Garage, Porch, Patio
Lawn & Grounds: Landscaping, Driveway, Walkway, Fence, Retaining Wall, Srinkler System, Swimming Pool
Heating & Air Conditioning: Heating System, Central AC System, Furnace, Duct Work, Central Hunidifier, Filtration System
Plumbing: Septic System, Water Heater, Soft Water System, Filtration System
Interior Improvements: Built-In Appliances, Kitchen Modernization, Flooring, Wall-To-Wall Carpeting/Tiling
Insultation: Attic, Duct Work, Floors,Pipes, Walls
Miscellaneous: Storm Doors & Windows, New Roof, Central Vacuum, Wiring Upgrades, Satellite Dish, Security System
IRS Publicaions 527 and 535 contain additional information.
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