Publication 523

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Selling Your Home


This publication explains the tax rules that apply when you sell your main home. Generally, your main home is the one in which you live most of the time.

If you sold your main home in the current tax year, you may be able to exclude from income any gain up to a limit of $250,000 ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases). See Excluding the Gain (in the publication). 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 may also have to include Form 4797, Sales of Business Property. See Reporting the Sale (in the publication).

If you have a loss on the sale, you cannot deduct it on your return.

The main topics in this publication are:

  • Figuring gain or loss,
  • Basis,
  • Excluding the gain,
  • Ownership and use tests, and
  • Reporting the sale.

Other topics include:

  • Business use or rental of home,
  • Deducting taxes in the year of sale, and
  • Recapturing a federal mortgage subsidy.

Worksheets. This publication includes worksheets you can use to figure your gain (or loss) and your exclusion. Use Worksheet 1 to figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold. Use Worksheet 2 to figure the gain (or loss), the exclusion, and the taxable gain (if any) on the sale. In some situations, you may also need to use Worksheet 3 to figure a reduced maximum exclusion.

Date of sale. If you received a Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions, the date of sale should be shown in box 1. If you did not receive this form, the date of sale is the earlier of (a) the date title transferred or (b) the date the economic burdens and benefits of ownership shifted to the buyer. In most cases, these dates are the same.

What is not covered in this publication. This publication does not cover the sale of rental property, second homes, or vacation homes. For information on how to report any gain or loss from those sales, see Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets.


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