Marriage easiest path to full real estate tax break

Only one spouse's name on title will qualify couple

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DEAR BOB: My partner has owned his house for 22 years. I have lived in the same house for 12 years. We plan to sell the house next year. Are we eligible for the $500,000 principal-residence-sale tax exemption? --Ronald S. DEAR RONALD: If your name is not on the deed, for federal income tax purposes you are not a co-owner entitled to the $250,000 exemption that a principal-residence owner can claim thanks to Internal Revenue Code 121. Of course, that's presuming the owner has owned and occupied the principal residence at least 24 of the last 60 months before sale. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. A qualified married couple filing a joint tax return in the year of home sale can qualify for up to $500,000 tax-free principal-residence sale profits, but only one spouse's name need be on the title. However, there is no similar exemption for partners who are not married unless both names are on the title. For full details, please consult your tax adviser. IF LIFE TENANT DOESN'T PAY EXP...