Housing Stimulus Bill Narrows The Second Home Tax Benefit

 Here’s a summary included in REALTOR Magazine Online (8/7/08) – “The housing-stimulus package that became law last week took a bite out of the home-sale exclusions for second-home owners.  Under both the previous and the current law, most homeowners can sell their primary residence and exclude as much as $250,000 of the gain if they’re single or $500,000 if they are married and file jointly.  To qualify for the full exclusion, owners typically must have owned the home and used it as their primary residence for at least two of the five years prior to the sale. In the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1 and affects property acquired after 2008, owners can’t exclude the gain from the sale of the home allocated to periods of  ‘nonqualified use.’ That refers to any period (after the end of 2008) when the property isn’t used by the owner, spouse or former spouse as a principal residence. For example, a married couple buys a home Jan. 1, 2009, for $600,000 to hold as an investment. On Jan. 1, 2012, three years later, they begin using it as their principal residence. They live there for two years and sell the property on Jan. 1, 2014, for $1.1 million for a profit of $500,000. Under the old law, they would have been able to exclude the entire $500,000 gain from their taxable income. But under the new law, they could exclude only two-fifths of the gain, or $200,000, since the other three-fifths would be considered attributable to the three years the home wasn’t their principal residence. Source: The Wall Street Journal, Tom Herman (08/06/2008)”