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Beware tax traps on vacation home sale

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Q. I’ve rented out my vacation home full time since 2006. If I now move there as my principal residence, can I qualify for the home sale gain exclusion after two years? S.A.S., Houston

A. Partially. First, the depreciation claimed for the home as a rental property is “recaptured” as taxable income, at a 25% rate, if you later sell the property for a gain. Also, if you later show a gain on the sale, the portion of the gain attributable to “nonqualified use” after 2008 isn’t eligible for the home sale exclusion. For this purpose, renting out the property is a nonqualified use. But your pre-2009 nonqualified use won’t count against you.

Tip: The maximum home sale gain exclusion is $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers), but the two considerations discussed above may reduce the amount of gain you can exclude.

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