Financial hardship may qualify owner for real estate tax break

Joint ownership difficult after husband moves away

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DEAR BOB: My fiance and I built our home about a year ago. He has since changed jobs and moved to Arizona. I am still living in our house. We are not married, but we own the house 50/50. He wants to sell it. The market value has greatly appreciated because it is a one-of-a-kind custom home on a beautiful lot. I can't afford to live in it alone and wait another year for that two-year owner-occupied $250,000 tax exemption. But I hate the thought of paying capital gain tax. What should I do? --Deborah E. DEAR DEBORAH: You, but not your fiance, may be eligible for a partial $250,000 principal residence sale tax exemption due to "unexpected circumstances" as allowed by Internal Revenue Code 121 although you did not meet the minimum 24-month ownership and occupancy test. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. If I understand your e-mail correctly, you alone have lived in the house since its completion about 12 months ago. You can probably qualify for a financial hardship exception to IRC 121, al...