To figure out the basis of property you receive as a gift, you must know three amounts:
- The adjusted cost basis to the donor just before the donor made the gift to you.
- The fair market value (FMV) at the time the donor made the gift.
- The amount of any gift tax paid on Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.
If the FMV of the property at the time of the gift is less than the donor's adjusted basis, your adjusted basis depends on whether you have a gain or loss when you dispose of the property.
- Your basis for figuring a gain is the same as the donor's adjusted basis, plus or minus any required adjustments to basis while you held the property.
- Your basis for figuring a loss is the FMV of the property when you received the gift, plus or minus any required adjustments to basis while you held the property.
Note: If you use the donor's adjusted basis for figuring a gain and get a loss, and then use the FMV for figuring a loss and get a gain, you have neither a gain nor loss on the sale or disposition of the property.
If the FMV is equal to or greater than the donor's adjusted basis, your basis is the donor's adjusted basis at the time you received the gift. If you received a gift after 1976, increase your basis by the part of the gift tax paid on it that is due to the net increase in value of the gift. To figure out the net increase in value or for other information on gifts received before 1977, see Publication 551, Basis of Assets. Also, for figuring gain or loss, you must increase or decrease your basis by any required adjustments to basis while you held the property.
The amount of the proceeds from the sale of your home that you use to pay off the mortgage isn't a factor in figuring your taxable amount for the sale. Instead, the amount you realize on the sale of your home and the adjusted basis of your home are important in determining whether you're subject to tax on the sale.
If the amount you realize, which generally includes any cash or other property you receive plus any of your indebtedness the buyer assumes or is otherwise paid off as part of the sale, less your selling expenses, is more than your adjusted basis in your home, you have a capital gain on the sale.
Your adjusted basis is generally your cost in acquiring your home plus the cost of any capital improvements you made, less casualty loss amounts and other decreases. For more information on basis and adjusted basis, refer to Publication 523, Selling Your Home. If you financed the purchase of the house by obtaining a mortgage, include the mortgage proceeds in determining your adjusted cost basis in your residence.
You may be able to exclude from income all or a portion of the gain on your home sale. If you can exclude all of the gain, you don't need to report the sale on your tax return, unless you received a Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. To determine the amount of the gain you may exclude from income or for additional information on the tax rules that apply when you sell your home, refer to Publication 523. You must report on your return as taxable income the capital gain that you can't exclude.
You can exclude gain from the future sale of your principal residence (within the limits of the exclusion) as long as you satisfy the ownership and use tests and haven't excluded gain from the sale of a former principal residence within the two-year period ending on the date of the sale. Also, if the future sale of your home is due to a change in employment, health, or unforeseen circumstances, you may qualify for a reduced exclusion even if you fail to meet the ownership and use tests or you used the exclusion within the two-year period ending on the date of the sale. There's no limit to the number of times you can claim the exclusion.
A property was my principal residence for the first 2 of the 5 years ending on the date of the sale of the property. For the 3 years before the date of the sale, I held the property as a rental property. Can I still exclude the gain on the sale and if so, how should I account for the depreciation I took while the property was rented?
If you used and owned the property as your principal residence for 2 years out of the 5 year period ending on the date of sale, you have met the ownership and use tests for the exclusion. This is true even though the property was used as rental property for the 3 years before the date of the sale. In that case, you would qualify to exclude some or all of the gain on the sale of your home if you didn't use the exclusion on the sale of another residence during the 2 year period that ends on the date of sale, or you used the exclusion within the last 2 years but this sale of your home is due to a change in employment, health, or unforeseen circumstances.
For rental property, the law has additional limits on the amount you may exclude. You may not exclude the part of your gain equal to any depreciation deduction allowed or allowable for periods after May 6, 1997.
Generally, the law allows an annual depreciation deduction on your rental property and you must reduce the basis of the property by the amount of your depreciation deductions. If you don't claim some or all of the depreciation deductions allowable under the law, you must still reduce the basis of the property by the amount allowable before determining your gain on the sale of the property.
The gain attributable to the depreciation may be subject to the 25% unrecaptured Section 1250 gain tax rate. Additionally, taxable gain on the sale may be subject to a 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax. For more information, see Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax. Refer to Publication 523, Selling Your Home, and Form 4797, Sales of Business Property, for specifics on how to calculate and report the amount of gain.
- Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes)
- Instructions for Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets
- Publication 587 (2016), Business Use of Your Home
- Topic 409 - Capital Gains and Losses
- Instructions for Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses HTML
- Tax Topic 703 - Basis of Assets
- Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets