First of all, if you are buying explicitly to rent, then do investigate setting up an LLC to own the house.
A tax advisor (preferably a CPA firm) and your lawyer need to be consulted on that. New York State is quite LLC friendly compared with other states, such as California.
The LLC (limited liability company) has numerous advantages, including potentially some tax advantages, depending on your situation.
The short answer to your question is that you can legally take many deductions, including depreciation, and potentially you can end up with a nice tax write-off in years when you don't make a "profit" (a word that has quite a few definitions, by the way). BG in Phoenix seems to be suggesting you can be "creative," I am NOT that kind of taxpayer and I do not approve of anything that is not strictly legal. I believe in following the law as faithfully as possible. That said, the reality is that the tax code has a lot of nice provisions for landlords that you can take advantage of once you own an investment property.
Karla Harby VP