Newlyweds attempt unique real estate tax strategy

Situation complicated when both spouses own homes

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, March 19, 2006. DEAR BOB: I will be getting married soon. My fiancé and I will be buying a home together and selling our current residences for capital gains exceeding the $250,000 exemptions for each. If we put ourselves on each other's title, and file a joint tax return, can we take advantage of the $500,000 married exemption per property and avoid capital gains tax? If so, can we use the $500,000 exemption twice in the same tax year since both properties will be sold in 2006? --Wilamena P. DEAR WILAMENA: Adding your name to the residence title owned by your fiancé, or vice versa, won't change anything. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The reason is, to increase the principal residence sale tax exemption from $250,000 for a single owner to $500,000 for a married couple filing a joint tax return, both spouses must occupy the...