Real Estate Tax Shelter(s)
If you have a gain from the sale or exchange of your main home in 2003, you may be able to exclude from income up to $250,000 of the gain ($500,000, for certain married taxpayers filing a joint return). The exclusion may be allowed each time you sell or exchange your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
If you sold your home under a contract that provides for part or all of the selling price to be paid in a later year, you made an "installment sale." Refer to Topic 705 for more information.
To be eligible for an exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two years out of the five years prior to its sale or exchange. You can meet the ownership and the use tests during different two year periods. However, both tests must be met during the five-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange. If you and your spouse file a joint return for the year of the sale or exchange, you can exclude up to $250,000 of gain if only one of you qualified for the exclusion.
If you did not meet the ownership and use tests or if during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange you sold or exchanged another home at a gain and excluded all or part of that gain, you may be allowed to exclude a portion of the gain realized on the sale or exchange of your home if:
You sold or exchanged your home due to a change in health or place of employment or due to unforeseen circumstances
A qualified real estate professional can give you more details on other tax benefits and liabilities! Consult a professional for more information about the tax benefits of owning a home!
You may qualify to exclude from your income all or part of any gain from the sale of your main home. Your main home is the one in which you live most of the time.
Ownership and Use Tests
To claim the exclusion, you must meet the ownership and use tests. This means that during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale, you must have:
Owned the home for at least 2 years (the ownership test)
Lived in the home as your main home for at least 2 years (the use test)
If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).
If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return
If you have gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. Report it on Schedule D (Form 1040)
You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Condo to help you figure the:
Adjusted basis of the home you sold
Gain (or loss) on the sale
Gain that you can exclude
Reporting the Sale
Do not report the sale 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 Schedule D (Form 1040).
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.
You own and live in a house in the city. You also own a beach house, which you use during the summer months. The house in the city is your main home; the beach house is not.
You own a house, but you live in another house that you rent. The rented house is your main home.
Business Use or Rental of Home
You may be able to exclude your gain from the sale of a home that you have used for business or to produce rental income. But you must meet the ownership and use tests.
On May 30, 1997, Amy bought a house. She moved in on that date and lived in it until May 31, 1999, when she moved out of the house and put it up for rent. The house was rented from June 1, 1999, to March 31, 2001. Amy moved back into the house on April 1, 2001, and lived there until she sold it on January 31, 2003. During the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale (February 1, 1998 - January 31, 2003), Amy owned and lived in the house for more than 2 years.
Amy can exclude gain up to $250,000. However, she cannot exclude the part of the gain equal to the depreciation she claimed for renting the house.
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