Seven Tax Facts About Selling Your Home

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During summer months, some people sell their home. Many of those individuals will make a profit on the sale and still will not have to pay a single dime of additional income tax to the IRS.

Here are seven tax facts about selling your home.

Ownership and Use Tests In general, you are eligible to exclude from your income all or part of any gain from the sale of your main home if you have owned and used your home as your main home for a period aggregating at least two years out of the five years prior to its sale. Refer to Publication 523, Selling Your Home, for the complete eligibility requirements as well as exceptions to the two year rule.

Main Home Your main home is the one in which you live most of the time.

Capital Gain Exclusion If you have a gain from the sale of your main home and you meet the ownership and use tests, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases. The exclusion may be claimed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more often than once every two years.

Reduced Exclusion If you do not meet the requirements to qualify for the $250,000 or $500,000 exclusion, you may still qualify for a reduced maximum exclusion. But you must have sold the home for other specific reasons such as serious health issues, a change in your place of employment, or certain unforeseen circumstances such as a divorce or legal separation, natural or man-made disasters resulting in a casualty to your home, or an involuntary conversion of your home.

Reporting the Gain Do not report the gain of your main home on your tax return unless you have a gain and at least part of it is taxable. Report any taxable gain on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

More Than One Home If you have more than one home, you can exclude gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.

Loss You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home. If you have a loss on the sale of your main home for which you received a Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions you must report the loss on Form 1040 Schedule D, even though the loss is not deductible.

For reference see: Publication 523

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