The 1997 Tax Law on Principal Residences
The 1997 tax bill is now in effect. All home
May 7, 1997
are affected by it. If you sold your home before May 7th the old rules applied
( $125,000 over 55 one-time exclusion, role over of capital gains
if a new residence costs more and is purchased within two years of the sale of
the old residence,etc.).
The New Rules:
(this is just meant as an general information piece, please contact your tax
advisor for specific provisions of the 1997 Tax Law and how they affect
Basically, if you live in the home, as your principal residence for two
out of five years, you can exclude $250,000 if you are single or $500,000 if
you are married on any gain from the sale of your principal residence.
How often can you do this?:
Literally every two years as long as you meet the requirements set forth above.
What if the gain is over $250,000 for single or $500,000 for married couples?:
Any gains above this will be taxed at the new 20% capital gains rate, down from
28%. After 2,001 if you occupy your home for five years, this rate drops to 18%.
Capital Losses on Home Sales:
Unfortunately, there is no deduction for a capital loss on a home sale. Both
the House and Senate discussed the matter, but it was not addressed in the
Individual Retirement Account Downpayment Withdrawals:
If you are a first-time home buyer, you may withdraw up to $10,000 from your
IRA to use as a downpayment on your new home. There will be no penalty (a 10%
federal penalty on top of regular income tax was charged under the old law).
The first-time homebuyer, their parents, or grandparents may withdraw this
amount for the downpayment.
If you own an investment property or rental home, please refer to the section on 10/31 Exchanges.
This tax law only refers to your principal (home you live in) residence.
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