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Owning homes in two states hurts $500K tax break

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DEAR BOB: We own two homes: one in Virginia and one in Washington state. My husband works in Vancouver, Canada, which is why we bought a home just across the border in Washington. He is a resident of Washington and I am a Virginia resident. We have a commuter marriage. When we sell the Virginia house, can we still claim the $500,000 tax exemption even though I am the only one who lives in it most of the time? --Eileen McA. DEAR EILEEN: No. To claim up to $500,000 tax-free, principal-residence-sale profits, thanks to Internal Revenue Code 121, both husband and wife must each occupy the primary home at least 24 of the last 60 months before its sale. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. If your husband doesn't meet the 24-month occupancy test and is a resident of Washington state, it appears he does not qualify so you will be limited to your $250,000 exemption when selling the Virginia home. For full details, please consult your tax adviser. WHAT IF CONDO OWNER IS UNHAPPY WI...