1997 Tax Help Archives  

Sale of Your Home - Exclusion of Gain, Age 55 and Over

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

For sales prior to May 7, 1997, if you have a gain from the sale or exchange of your home, and were age 55 or older on the date of sale, you may qualify to exclude some or all of the gain from your gross income. This exclusion is a choice and can be made only once for sales or exchanges after July 26, 1978 and prior to August 5, 1997.

Besides being age 55 or older on the date of sale, you must have owned and lived in the home for at least 3 years out of the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange. The 3 years of ownership and use do not have to be continuous. An exception to the 3-year use requirement applies to certain taxpayers who become physically or mentally incapable of self-care. For more information about the exception, see Publication 523, Selling Your Home.

The maximum exclusion is $125,000, or $62,500 for an individual who is married on the date of the sale and files a separate return. If you and your spouse jointly own your home and file a joint return, only one of you needs to meet the age, ownership, and use tests for making this choice. Married couples are entitled to only one election per couple, not one for each spouse. Your marital status, for purposes of this exclusion, is determined as of the date of sale.

If either you or your spouse have excluded gain from a sale or exchange after July 26, 1978, neither of you may choose to exclude another gain. If you have not previously used this exclusion, but marry someone who has, you will not be able to use the exclusion.

If you and your spouse owned separate homes before your marriage and sold both homes after your marriage, you may exclude the gain on one of them, but not on both. If you each sold your home before marriage, each may claim the $125,000 exclusion on your joint or separate returns.

If a sale or contract was signed after May 6, 1997 but prior to August 5, 1997, you may use the age 55 and over exclusion. After August 4, 1997 this provision is repealed.

The exclusion is shown on Form 2119, Sale of Your Home, which is filed with your Form 1040 for the year of sale. Refer to Topic 702 for more information on how to report gain. For more information on excluding gain from the sale of your home, order Publication 523 by calling 1-800-829-3676.

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