This is essentially the USA version of Currently sole owner of a property. My girlfriend is looking to move in with me and is offering to pay 'rent'. Am I at risk here?. The US doesn't seem to have something similar to the UK's rent-a-room laws.
My partner and I (unmarried) are moving in together. We'd been thinking of moving into a rented apartment and simply splitting rent and utilities, but instead I used savings to buy a one-bedroom condo that we'll live in together. I do not have a mortgage. We both have relatively stable jobs.
My partner would like to pay something to live in the new condo. The idea is to defray costs for me (condo fees, repairs, maintenance, property taxes, and opportunity costs on the savings that I used to buy the condo).
What's the right way to do this? To make things concrete, let's assume that the rent for the condo would be around 2200$/month if we were renting it, and that my partner would pay about $600 per month. We'll split utilities (roughly 200-300$ per month) and other shared expenses (roughly 500$ per month) on top of these $600.
I can think of two ways of doing this. Which one is best? Are there other ways?
Monthly $600 transfers from my partner to me. This is the simplest, but we're worried about the tax implications: does that count as a regular rental, which I'd have to declare and pay taxes on? Or does it count as a gift, in which case the total yearly amount is below the yearly individual donation threshold and thus wouldn't be taxed?
Having my partner pay for all our shared expenses (roughly $700-800) plus the $200 monthly condo fee. This way my partner would be paying for my share of the common expenses ($350-400) plus $200 of condo fee that I would have otherwise paid, totaling $550-600. How would this setup be taxed? Would it count as rent too? Or as a gift? Or something else?
I'm in the US on a non-immigrant visa, which is often relevant for tax purposes.