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Ten Key Tax Facts about Home Sales

In most cases, gains from sales are taxable. But did you know that if you sell your home, you may not have to pay taxes? Here are ten facts to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.

  1. Exclusion of Gain.  You may be able to exclude part or all of the gain from the sale of your home. This rule may apply if you meet the eligibility test. Parts of the test involve your ownership and use of the home. You must have owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.
  2. Exceptions May Apply.  There are exceptions to the ownership, use and other rules. One exception applies to persons with a disability. Another applies to certain members of the military. That rule includes certain government and Peace Corps workers. For more on this topic, seePublication 523, Selling Your Home.
  3. Exclusion Limit.  The most gain you can exclude from tax is $250,000. This limit is $500,000 for joint returns. The Net Investment Income Tax will not apply to the excluded gain.
  4. May Not Need to Report Sale.  If the gain is not taxable, you may not need to report the sale to the IRS on your tax return.
  5. When You Must Report the Sale.  You must report the sale on your tax return if you can’t exclude all or part of the gain. You must report the sale if you choose not to claim the exclusion. That’s also true if you get Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. If you report the sale, you should review the Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Taxon IRS.gov.
  6. Exclusion Frequency Limit.  Generally, you may exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years. Some exceptions may apply to this rule.
  7. Only a Main Home Qualifies.  If you own more than one home, you may only exclude the gain on the sale of your main home. Your main home usually is the home that you live in most of the time.
  8. First-time Homebuyer Credit.  If you claimed the first-time homebuyer credit when you bought the home, special rules apply to the sale. For more on those rules, see Publication 523.
  9. Home Sold at a Loss.  If you sell your main home at a loss, you can’t deduct the loss on your tax return.
  10. Report Your Address Change.  After you sell your home and move, update your address with the IRS. To do this, file Form 8822, Change of Address. You can find the address to send it to in the form’s instructions on page two. If you purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan.

Additional IRS Resources:

  • Publication 5152: Report changes to the Marketplace as they happen English | Spanish

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New tax credit benefits employers who provide paid family and medical leave

Tax reform legislation enacted in December 2017 offers a new tax credit for employers who provide paid family and medical leave. Here are several facts about how this credit works and which employers are eligible to claim it:

  • The credit is available for wages paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2020.
  • Some employers can claim the credit retroactively to the beginning of their first taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017, if they meet the terms of a transition rule on or before December 31, 2018.
  • To be eligible for the credit, an employer must have a written policy in place that includes:
    • At least two weeks of paid family and medical leave annually to full-time employees, prorated for part-time employees.
    • Pay for family and medical leave that’s at least 50 percent of the wages normally paid to the employee.
  • Generally, for tax year 2018, the employee’s 2017 compensation from the employer must be $72,000 or less.

The credit ranges from 12.5 percent to 25 percent of wages paid during an employee’s leave.

For purposes of this credit, family and medical leave includes leave for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Birth of an employee’s child and to care for the child.
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • Care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to do the functions of their position.
  • Any qualifying need due to an employee’s spouse, child or parent being on covered active duty in the Armed Forces. This includes notification of an impending call or order to covered active duty.
  • To care for a service member who’s the employee’s spouse, child, parent or next of kin.