Home seller stuck with capital gains tax

No tax break for sale of second or vacation home

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DEAR BOB: We've been learning from your real estate articles for many years but haven't seen our issue discussed before. We own two homes. One is our main home. The other is our weekend townhome, which we have never rented to tenants. We have decided to sell the townhome and replace it with a home in Florida. Can we use that $500,000 home sale exclusion you often discuss? Or can we roll the proceeds of the sale into the Florida purchase to avoid tax liability? – Carl D. DEAR CARL: Because your townhome is not your principal residence, and you have not owned and occupied it as your primary home at least two of the last five years before its sale, it does not qualify for the $250,000 per seller tax exemption of Internal Revenue Code 121. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Since it has not been rented to tenants, it also doesn't qualify for an Internal Revenue Code 1031 tax-deferred exchange. But you might consider renting it to tenants before selling, perhaps on a lease with op...