Real estate tax break hinges on wife’s primary residence

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DEAR BOB: I really related to that movie, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," as I was 36 years old when I got married in May (although I was not a virgin). My wife moved into my home, which I wisely bought when I was just 24 (and still a virgin). She wants a larger house and I agree my "bachelor pad" cottage is too small for us to have a family. But my nice problem is if I sell my house, the profit will be around $300,000. Since we will be filing a joint income-tax return in 2005, can we claim a $250,000 or $500,000 home-sale tax exemption? – Gerry H. DEAR GERRY: Unless your wife has occupied your home as her principal residence at least 24 months before its sale, Internal Revenue Code 121 says you only qualify for one $250,000 principal residence sale tax exemption. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. To qualify for the $500,000 tax exemption of IRC 121, your wife need not be on the title but she must have occupied your home as her primary residence over 24 months before its sale. For mo...