Top 10 IRS Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

Last week the IRS released some valuable tax tips for those who have recently sold or are about to sale their home (IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-15).

Here are the IRS tax tips…

  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.


These tips and others can be found on the IRS website at,,id=104608,00.html.

Tax Tips for 2011

How to Get Your Prior-Year Tax Information from the IRS
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-19, August 17, 2011 

Back-to-School Tips for Students and Parents Paying College Expenses
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-18, August 15, 2011

Nine Cool Reasons to visit this Summer
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-17, August 12, 2011

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Who Are Moving This Summer
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-16, August 10, 2011

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-15, August 8, 2011

Ten Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Money to the IRS
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-14, August 5, 2011

Does the IRS Have Money Waiting For You?
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-13, August 3, 2011

Ten Facts from the IRS about Amending Your Tax Return
Summertime Tax Tip 2011-12, August 1, 2011

Tax Tip Archive
IRS Tax Tips from January 2011 forward.