Publication 523 - Introductory Material

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Change of address. If you change your mailing address, be sure to notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using Form 8822, Change of Address. Mail it to the Internal Revenue Service Center for your old address. (Addresses for the Service Centers are on the back of the form.)

Home sold with undeducted points. If you have not deducted all the points you paid to secure a mortgage on your old home, you may be able to deduct the remaining points in the year of sale. See Points in Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


This publication explains the tax rules that apply when you sell your main home. In most cases, your main home is the one in which you live most of the time.

If you sold your main home in 2013, you may be able to exclude from income any gain up to a limit of $250,000 ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases). See Excluding the Gain , later. Generally, if you can exclude all the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.

If you have gain that cannot be excluded, you generally must report it on Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets, and Schedule D (Form 1040), Capital Gains and Losses. You may also have to complete Form 4797, Sales of Business Property. See Reporting the Sale , later.

If you have a loss on the sale, you generally cannot deduct it on your return. However, you may need to report it. See Reporting the Sale , later.

The main topics in this publication are:

  • Figuring gain or loss,

  • Basis,

  • Excluding the gain,

  • Ownership and use tests, and

  • Reporting the sale.

Other topics include:

  • Business use or rental of home,

  • Deducting taxes in the year of sale, and

  • Recapturing a federal mortgage subsidy.

Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT).   If any part of the gain on the sale of a home is not excluded under the rules discussed in this publication, it may be subject to the NIIT. For more details, see Form 8960, Net Investment Income Tax—Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, and its instructions.

Worksheets.   Near the end of this publication you will find worksheets you can use to figure your gain (or loss) and your exclusion. Use Worksheet 1 to figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold. Use Worksheet 2 to figure the gain (or loss), the exclusion, and the taxable gain (if any) on the sale. If you do not qualify for the maximum exclusion, use Worksheet 3 to figure your reduced maximum exclusion.

Date of sale.    If you received a Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions, the date of sale should be shown in box 1. If you did not receive this form, the date of sale is the earlier of (a) the date title transferred or (b) the date the economic burdens and benefits of ownership shifted to the buyer. In most cases, these dates are the same.

What is not covered in this publication.   This publication does not cover the sale of rental property, second homes, or vacation homes. For information on how to report any gain or loss from those sales, see Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications Division 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can send your comments from Click on “More Information” and then on “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications”.

  Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Useful Items - You may want to see:


  • 527 Residential Rental Property

  • 530 Tax Information for Homeowners

  • 544 Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets

  • 547 Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts

  • 551 Basis of Assets

  • 587 Business Use of Your Home

  • 936 Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

  • 4681 Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments

Form (and Instructions)

  • Schedule A (Form 1040) Itemized Deductions

  • Schedule D (Form 1040) Capital Gains and Losses

  • 982 Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness

  • 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

  • 1040NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return

  • 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

  • 1099-S Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions

  • 4797 Sales of Business Property

  • 5405 Repayment of the First-Time Homebuyer Credit

  • 8822 Change of Address

  • 8828 Recapture of Federal Mortgage Subsidy

  • 8939 Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired From a Decedent

  • 8949 Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets

  • W-2 Wage and Tax Statement

See How To Get Tax Help , near the end of this publication, for information about getting these publications and forms.

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