DEAR BOB: My mother-in-law has her 20-acre horse farm, home, duplex and barn for sale. She paid $80,000 and will probably sell it for about $450,000. She has made several improvements. There is only a small equity loan. To avoid capital gains tax, can she get a loan to pay off her credit cards so the gain won't be so large and taxable? She is nearly 65 with no retirement assets other than this farm. What should she do? – Bonita H.? DEAR BONITA: Congratulations on helping your mother-in-law. Her capital gain will be the difference between her adjusted cost basis, which is usually the purchase price, plus cost of capital improvements added during ownership, minus any depreciation deducted on that rental duplex. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. This adjusted cost basis amount should then be subtracted from her net or adjusted sales price, which is the gross sales price minus selling expenses, such as sales commission and transfer fees. The mortgage balance or other debt secured by...
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