20 Real Estate Tax Tips from the IRS

Can I deduct if I have a loss? Can I keep all the profit I make on the sale? What about the tax credit? The answers are below…

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

 
IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-15,  August 8, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has some important information to share with individuals who have sold or are about to sell their home. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may qualify to exclude all or part of that gain from your income. Here are ten tips from the IRS to keep in mind when selling your home.

  1. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.
  2. 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).
  3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.
  4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.
  5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
  6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
  7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.
  8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a 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.
  9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year’s tax return.
  10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

For more information about selling your home, see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home. This publication is available at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Who Are Moving This Summer

 
IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-16, August 10, 2011

Summertime is a popular time for people with children to move since school is out. Moving can be expensive, but the IRS offers 10 tax tips on deducting some of those expenses if your move is related to starting a new job or a new job location.

  1. Move must be closely related to start of work Generally, you can consider moving expenses incurred within one year from the date you first reported to a new location, as closely related in time to the start of work.
  2. Distance Test Your move meets the distance test if your new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your previous job location was.
  3. Time Test You must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job location, or at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months if you are self-employed. If your income tax return is due before you’ve satisfied this requirement, you can still deduct your allowable moving expenses if you expect to meet the time test in the following years.
  4. Travel You can deduct lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving from your former home to your new home. You can also deduct transportation expenses, including airfare, vehicle mileage, parking fees and tolls you pay to move, but you can only deduct one trip per person.
  5. Household goods You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and transporting your household goods and personal property. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit.
  6. Utilities You can deduct the costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities.
  7. Nondeductible expenses You cannot deduct as moving expenses: any part of the purchase price of your new home, car tags, drivers license, costs of buying or selling a home, expenses of entering into or breaking a lease, security deposits and storage charges except those incurred in transit.
  8. Form You can deduct only those expenses that are reasonable for the circumstances of your move. To figure the amount of your moving expense deduction use Form 3903, Moving Expenses.
  9. Reimbursed expenses If your employer reimburses you for the cost of the move, the reimbursement may have to be included on your income tax return.
  10. Update your address When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS.

For more details, review IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses, and Form 3903, Moving Expenses. IRS publications and forms are available at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:

  • Pub. 521, Moving Expenses (PDF)
  • Form 3903, Moving Expenses (PDF)
  • Form 8822, Change of Address (PDF)

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