Selling a Home October 20, 2023

Does selling your home count as income?

When it comes to selling your home, the question of whether the proceeds count as “income” is a common concern. The answer isn’t always straightforward, and it’s vital to understand the tax implications of selling your property, especially in the world of real estate. In this blog post, we’ll break down the essentials and explore how selling your home may or may not count as “income.”

Primary Residence Exclusion: Your Home Sweet Tax Benefit

In the majority of cases, selling your primary residence doesn’t equate to taxable income. This is largely thanks to the Primary Residence Exclusion, a valuable tax provision designed to encourage homeownership and offer significant tax advantages.

The Primary Residence Exclusion has some crucial aspects:

Ownership and Use: To qualify for this exclusion, you must have lived in and owned the property as your primary residence for at least two out of the last five years leading up to the sale. Importantly, these two years don’t need to be consecutive. This flexibility allows you to live in your home, move out for a time, and still qualify for the exclusion.

Maximum Exclusion: If you meet the ownership and use criteria, you can exclude up to $250,000 of the profit from the sale (for single filers) or up to $500,000 (for those married and filing jointly). For most homeowners, this means that selling their primary residence won’t result in any tax liability.

Exceptional Cases and Special Situations

While the Primary Residence Exclusion covers the majority of homeowners, a few scenarios could turn your home sale gain into taxable income. Here are some exceptions and special cases to be mindful of:

Selling a Second Home or Investment Property: If you’re parting ways with a property that isn’t your primary residence, such as a second home or an investment property, the gain from the sale is typically considered taxable income. In such cases, you’ll need to report this gain on your tax return and may owe capital gains tax.

Exceeding the Exclusion Limits: If your profit from selling your primary residence surpasses the $250,000 (for singles) or $500,000 (for married couples filing jointly) exclusion limits, the extra amount may be subject to capital gains tax. It’s crucial to report this additional income on your tax return.

Short-Term Ownership: If you’ve owned the property for less than two years and don’t meet the ownership and use requirements, you might not be eligible for the Primary Residence Exclusion. In such situations, any gain from the sale could be viewed as taxable income.

Selling your home is a significant financial event. To make sure you aren’t caught off guard during tax season, it’s essential to grasp the tax implications involved. Generally, selling your primary residence doesn’t count as taxable income due to the Primary Residence Exclusion. But be aware of the exceptions, especially if you’re selling a second home, your gain exceeds the exclusion limits, or you haven’t met the ownership and use requirements.

For personalized advice tailored to your specific situation, consider consulting a tax professional or accountant. Their expertise can help you make informed decisions and minimize your tax obligations when it comes to selling your home in the complex world of real estate. If you have any questions about selling your home, send me a personal message here! I’m happy to help answer any and all questions you have about selling your home!