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IRS.gov Website
Publication 523
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200659

Determining Basis(p5)

rule
You need to know your basis in your home to figure any gain or loss when you sell it. Your basis in your home is determined by how you got the home. Generally, your basis is its cost if you bought it or built it. If you got it in some other way (inheritance, gift, etc.), your basis is generally either its fair market value when you received it or the adjusted basis of the previous owner.
While you owned your home, you may have made adjustments (increases or decreases) to your home's basis. The result of these adjustments is your home's adjusted basis, which is used to figure gain or loss on the sale of your home.
To figure your adjusted basis, you can use Worksheet 1, near the end of this publication. Filled-in examples of that worksheet are included in the Comprehensive Examples, later.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200661

Cost As Basis(p5)

rule
The cost of property is the amount you paid for it in cash, debt obligations, other property, or services.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200662

Purchase.(p5)

rule
If you bought your home, your basis is its cost to you. This includes the purchase price and certain settlement or closing costs. In most cases, your purchase price includes your down payment and any debt, such as a first or second mortgage or notes you gave the seller in payment for the home. If you build, or contract to build, a new home, your purchase price can include costs of construction, as discussed later.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200663
Seller-paid points.(p5)
If the person who sold you your home paid points on your loan, you may have to reduce your home's basis by the amount of the points, as shown in the following chart.
IF you bought your home...THEN reduce your home's basis by the seller-paid points...
after 1990 but before April 4, 1994only if you deducted them as home mortgage interest in the year paid.
after April 3, 1994even if you did not deduct them.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200665
Settlement fees or closing costs.(p5)
When you bought your home, you may have paid settlement fees or closing costs in addition to the contract price of the property. You can include in your basis some of the settlement fees and closing costs you paid for buying the home, but not the fees and costs for getting a mortgage loan. A fee paid for buying the home is any fee you would have had to pay even if you paid cash for the home (that is, without the need for financing).
Settlement fees do not include amounts placed in escrow for the future payment of items such as taxes and insurance.
Some of the settlement fees or closing costs that you can include in your basis are:
  1. Abstract fees (abstract of title fees),
  2. Charges for installing utility services,
  3. Legal fees (including fees for the title search and preparing the sales contract and deed),
  4. Recording fees,
  5. Survey fees,
  6. Transfer or stamp taxes,
  7. Owner's title insurance, and
  8. Any amounts the seller owes that you agree to pay, such as:
    1. Certain real estate taxes (discussed later),
    2. Back interest,
    3. Recording or mortgage fees,
    4. Charges for improvements or repairs, and
    5. Sales commissions.
Some settlement fees and closing costs you cannot include in your basis are:
  1. Fire insurance premiums,
  2. Rent for occupancy of the house before closing,
  3. Charges for utilities or other services related to occupancy of the house before closing,
  4. Any fee or cost that you deducted as a moving expense (allowed for certain fees and costs before 1994),
  5. Charges connected with getting a mortgage loan, such as:
    1. Mortgage insurance premiums (including funding fees connected with loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs),
    2. Loan assumption fees,
    3. Cost of a credit report,
    4. Fee for an appraisal required by a lender, and
  6. Fees for refinancing a mortgage.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200666
Real estate taxes.(p6)
Real estate taxes for the year you bought your home may affect your basis, as shown in the following chart.
IF...AND...THEN the taxes...
you pay taxes that the seller owed on the home up to the date of salethe seller does not reimburse you are added to the basis of your home.
the seller reimburses youdo not affect the basis of your home.
the seller pays taxes for you (taxes owed beginning on the date of sale)you do not reimburse the seller are subtracted from the basis of your home.
you reimburse the sellerdo not affect the basis of your home.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200668

Construction.(p6)

rule
If you contracted to have your house built on land you own, your basis is:
  1. The cost of the land, plus
  2. The amount it cost you to complete the house, including:
    1. The cost of labor and materials,
    2. Any amounts paid to a contractor,
    3. Any architect's fees,
    4. Building permit charges,
    5. Utility meter and connection charges, and
    6. Legal fees directly connected with building the house.
Your cost includes your down payment and any debt such as a first or second mortgage or notes you gave the seller or builder. It also includes certain settlement or closing costs. You may have to reduce your basis by points the seller paid for you. For more information, see Seller-paid points and Settlement fees or closing costs, earlier.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200669
Built by you.(p6)
If you built all or part of your house yourself, its basis is the total amount it cost you to complete it. Do not include in the cost of the house:
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200670

Temporary housing.(p6)

rule
If a builder gave you temporary housing while your home was being finished, you must reduce your basis by the part of the contract price that was for the temporary housing. To figure the amount of the reduction, multiply the contract price by a fraction. The numerator is the value of the temporary housing, and the denominator is the sum of the value of the temporary housing plus the value of the new home.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200671

Cooperative apartment.(p6)

rule
If you are a tenant-stockholder in a cooperative housing corporation, your basis in the cooperative apartment used as your home is usually the cost of your stock in the corporation. This may include your share of a mortgage on the apartment building.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200672

Condominium.(p7)

rule
To determine your basis in a condominium apartment used as your home, use the same rules as for any other home.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200673

Basis Other Than Cost(p7)

rule
You must use a basis other than cost, such as adjusted basis or fair market value, if you received your home as a gift, inheritance, a trade, or from your spouse. These situations are discussed in the following pages. Also, the instructions for Worksheet 1 (near the end of the publication) address each of these issues.
Other special rules may apply in certain situations. If you converted the property, or some part of it, to business or rental use, see Property Changed to Business or Rental Use, in Publication 551.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200675

Home received as gift.(p7)

rule
Use the following chart to find the basis of a home you received as a gift.
IF the donor's adjusted basis at the time of the gift was...THEN your basis is...
more than the fair market value of the home at that timethe same as the donor's adjusted basis at the time of the gift.

Exception: If using the donor's adjusted basis results in a loss when you sell the home, you must use the fair market value of the home at the time of the gift as your basis. If using the fair market value results in a gain, you have neither gain nor loss.
equal to or less than the fair market value at that time, and you received the gift before 1977the smaller of the:
  • donor's adjusted basis, plus
   any federal gift tax paid on
   the gift, or
  • the home's fair market value
   at the time of the gift.
equal to or less than the fair market value at that time, and you received the gift after 1976the same as the donor's adjusted basis, plus the part of any federal gift tax paid that is due to the net increase in value of the home (explained next).
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000266434
Fair market value.(p7)
The fair market value of property at the time of the gift is the value of the property as appraised for purposes of the federal gift tax. If the gift was not subject to the federal gift tax, the fair market value is the value as appraised for the purposes of a state gift tax.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200677
Part of federal gift tax due to net increase in value.(p7)
Figure the part of the federal gift tax paid that is due to the net increase in value of the home by multiplying the total federal gift tax paid by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the net increase in the value of the home, and the denominator is the value of the home for gift tax purposes after reduction by any annual exclusion and marital or charitable deduction that applies to the gift. The net increase in the value of the home is its fair market value minus the donor's adjusted basis immediately before the gift.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200678

Home acquired from a decedent who died before or after 2010.(p7)

rule
If you inherited your home from a decedent who died before or after 2010, your basis is the fair market value of the property on the date of the decedent's death (or the later alternate valuation date chosen by the personal representative of the estate). If an estate tax return was filed or required to be filed, the value of the property listed on the estate tax return is your basis. If a federal estate tax return did not have to be filed, your basis in the home is the same as its appraised value at the date of death, for purposes of state inheritance or transmission taxes.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000252186
Surviving spouse.(p7)
If you are a surviving spouse and you owned your home jointly, your basis in the home will change. The new basis for the interest your spouse owned will be its fair market value on the date of death (or alternate valuation date). The basis in your interest will remain the same. Your new basis in the home is the total of these two amounts.
If you and your spouse owned the home either as tenants by the entirety or as joint tenants with right of survivorship, you will each be considered to have owned one-half of the home.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000252185

Example.(p7)

Your jointly owned home (owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship) had an adjusted basis of $50,000 on the date of your spouse's death, and the fair market value on that date was $100,000. Your new basis in the home is $75,000 ($25,000 for one-half of the adjusted basis plus $50,000 for one-half of the fair market value).
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000252187
Community property.(p7)
In community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), each spouse is usually considered to own half of the community property. When either spouse dies, the total fair market value of the community property becomes the basis of the entire property, including the part belonging to the surviving spouse. For this to apply, at least half the value of the community property interest must be includible in the decedent's gross estate, whether or not the estate must file a return.
For more information about community property, see Publication 555, Community Property.
EIC
If you are selling a home in which you acquired an interest from a decedent who died in 2010, see Publication 4895, Tax Treatment of Property Acquired From a Decedent Dying in 2010, to determine your basis.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200683

Home received as trade.(p7)

rule
If you acquired your home as a trade for other property, in most cases, the basis of your home is the fair market value (at the time of the trade) of the property you gave up. If you traded one home for another, you have made a sale and purchase. In that case, you may have a gain. See Trading (exchanging) homes under Dispositions Other Than Sales, earlier, for an example of figuring the gain.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200685

Home received from spouse.(p8)

rule
If you received your home from your spouse or from your former spouse incident to your divorce, your basis in the home depends on the date of the transfer.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200686
Transfers after July 18, 1984.(p8)
If you received the home after July 18, 1984, there was no gain or loss on the transfer. In most cases, your basis in this home is the same as your spouse's (or former spouse's) adjusted basis just before you received it. This rule applies even if you received the home in exchange for cash, the release of marital rights, the assumption of liabilities, or other considerations.
If you owned a home jointly with your spouse and your spouse transferred his or her interest in the home to you, in most cases, your basis in the half interest received from your spouse is the same as your spouse's adjusted basis just before the transfer. This also applies if your former spouse transferred his or her interest in the home to you incident to your divorce. Your basis in the half interest you already owned does not change. Your new basis in the home is the total of these two amounts.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200687
Transfers before July 19, 1984.(p8)
If you received your home before July 19, 1984, in exchange for your release of marital rights, in most cases, your basis in the home is generally its fair market value at the time you received it.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200688
More information.(p8)
For more information on property received from a spouse or former spouse, see Property Settlements in Publication 504.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200689

Involuntary conversion.(p8)

rule
If your home is destroyed or condemned, you may receive insurance proceeds or a condemnation award. If you acquired a replacement home with these proceeds, the basis is its cost decreased by any gain not recognized on the conversion under the rules explained in:
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200690

Example.(p8)

A fire destroyed your home that you owned and used for only 6 months. The home had an adjusted basis of $80,000 and the insurance company paid you $130,000 for the loss. Your gain is $50,000 ($130,000 − $80,000). You bought a replacement home for $100,000. The part of your gain that is taxable is $30,000 ($130,000 − $100,000), the unspent part of the payment from the insurance company. The rest of the gain ($20,000) is not taxable, so that amount reduces your basis in the new home. The basis of the new home is figured as follows.
Cost of replacement home$100,000
Minus: Gain not recognized20,000
Basis of the replacement home$ 80,000
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200692

More information.(p8)

rule
For more information about basis, see Publication 551.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200693

Adjusted Basis(p8)

rule
Adjusted basis is your cost or other basis increased or decreased by certain amounts.
To figure your adjusted basis, you can use Worksheet 1, found toward the end of this publication. Filled-in examples of that worksheet are included in Comprehensive Examples, later.
Where Refund
Recordkeeping. You should keep records to prove your home's adjusted basis. Ordinarily, you must keep records for 3 years after the due date for filing your return for the tax year in which you sold your home. But if you sold a home before May 7, 1997, and postponed tax on any gain, the basis of that home affects the basis of the new home you bought. Keep records proving the basis of both homes as long as they are needed for tax purposes.
The records you should keep include:
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200696

Increases to Basis(p8)

rule
These include the following.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200697

Improvements.(p8)

rule
These add to the value of your home, prolong its useful life, or adapt it to new uses. You add the cost of additions and other improvements to the basis of your property.
The following chart lists some other examples of improvements. taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000267494
Pencil

Examples of Improvements That Increase Basis

Additions
Bedroom
Bathroom
Deck
Garage
Porch
Patio
Heating & Air Conditioning
Heating system
Central air conditioning
Furnace
Duct work
Central humidifier
Filtration system
Lawn & Grounds
Landscaping
Driveway
Walkway
Fence
Retaining wall
Sprinkler system
Swimming pool

Miscellaneous
Storm windows, doors
New roof
Central vacuum
Wiring upgrades
Satellite dish
Security system

Plumbing
Septic system
Water heater
Soft water system
Filtration system

Interior
Improvements
Built-in appliances
Kitchen modernization
Flooring
Wall-to-wall carpeting

Insulation
Attic
Walls
Floors
Pipes and duct work
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200699
Improvements no longer part of home.(p9)
Your home's adjusted basis does not include the cost of any improvements that are replaced and are no longer part of the home.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200700

Example.(p9)

You put wall-to-wall carpeting in your home 15 years ago. Later, you replaced that carpeting with new wall-to-wall carpeting. The cost of the old carpeting you replaced is no longer part of your home's adjusted basis.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200701

Repairs.(p9)

rule
These maintain your home in good condition but do not add to its value or prolong its life. You do not add their cost to the basis of your property.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200702

Examples.(p9)

Repainting your house inside or outside, fixing your gutters or floors, repairing leaks or plastering, and replacing broken window panes are examples of repairs.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200703
Exception.(p9)
The entire job is considered an improvement if items that would otherwise be considered repairs are done as part of an extensive remodeling or restoration of your home. For example, if you have a casualty and your home is damaged, increase your basis by the amount you spend on repairs that restore the property to its pre-casualty condition.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000200704

Decreases to Basis(p9)

rule
These include the following.
taxmap/pubs/p523-002.htm#en_us_publink1000296760

Discharges of qualified principal residence indebtedness.(p10)

rule
You may be able to exclude from gross income a discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness. This exclusion applies to discharges made after 2006 and before 2013. If you choose to exclude this income, you must reduce (but not below zero) the basis of your principal residence by the amount excluded from gross income.
File Form 982 with your tax return. See the form's instructions for detailed information.
Deposit
A decrease in basis due to a discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness that is excluded from income occurs only if you retain ownership of the principal residence after a discharge. In most cases, this would occur in a refinancing or a restructuring of the mortgage.