IRS Logo

Publication 544 - Introductory Material

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 544, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to

Important Reminders

Dispositions of U.S. real property interests by foreign persons. If you are a foreign person or firm and you sell or otherwise dispose of a U.S. real property interest, the buyer (or other transferee) may have to withhold income tax on the amount you receive for the property (including cash, the fair market value of other property, and any assumed liability). Corporations, partnerships, trusts, and estates also may have to withhold on certain U.S. real property interests they distribute to you. You must report these dispositions and distributions and any income tax withheld on your U.S. income tax return.For more information on dispositions of U.S. real property interests, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. Also see Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.

Foreign source income. If you are a U.S. citizen with income from dispositions of property outside the United States (foreign income), you must report all such income on your tax return unless it is exempt from U.S. law. This is true whether you reside inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form 1099 from the foreign payor.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). 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.


You dispose of property when any of the following occurs.

  • You sell property.

  • You exchange property for other property.

  • Your property is condemned or disposed of under threat of condemnation.

  • Your property is repossessed.

  • You abandon property.

  • You give property away.

This publication explains the tax rules that apply when you dispose of property. It discusses the following topics.

  • How to figure a gain or loss.

  • Whether your gain or loss is ordinary or capital.

  • How to treat your gain or loss when you dispose of business property.

  • How to report a gain or loss.

This publication also explains whether your gain is taxable or your loss is deductible.

This publication does not discuss certain transactions covered in other IRS publications. These include the following.

  • Most transactions involving stocks, bonds, options, forward and futures contracts, and similar investments. See chapter 4 of Pub. 550, Investment Income and Expenses.

  • Sale of your main home. See Pub. 523, Selling Your Home.

  • Installment sales. See Pub. 537, Installment Sales.

  • Transfers of property at death. See Pub. 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.

Forms to file.   When you dispose of property, you usually will have to file one or more of the following forms.
  • Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

  • Form 4797, Sales of Business Property.

  • Form 8824, Like-Kind Exchanges.

  • Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets.

   Although the discussions in this publication may at times refer mainly to individuals, many of the rules discussed also apply to taxpayers other than individuals. However, the rules for property held for personal use usually will not apply to taxpayers other than individuals.

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

  You can send us comments from Click on “More Information” and then on “Give us feedback.

  Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications 
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.

  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. Otherwise, you can go to to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, check and How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication.

More Online Publications