can raise the basis or cost in their home by money spent on capital
improvements. The benefit is that it will lower their gain and may save
them taxes when they sell their home.
Improvements must add value to your home, prolong its useful life or
adapt it to new uses. Repairs are routine in nature to maintain the
value and keep the property in an ordinary, operating condition.
Additions of decks, pools, fences and landscaping add value to a home
as well as new floor covering, counter-tops and other updates.
Replacing a roof, appliances or heating and cooling systems would be
considered to extend the useful life of the home. Completing an
unfinished basement or converting a garage to living space are common
examples of adapting a portion of the home to a new use.
Other items that can raise the basis in your home are special
assessments for local improvements like sidewalks or curbs and money
spent to restore damage from casualty losses not covered by insurance.
Here’s a simple idea that could save you money years from now.
Every time you spend money on your home other than the house payment and
the utilities, put the receipt or canceled check in an envelope labeled
“Home Improvements.” Regardless of whether you know if the money
would be classified as maintenance or improvements, the receipt or
cancelled check goes in the envelope.
Years from now, when you’ve sold your home and you need to report the
gain on the property, you or your accountant can go through the
envelope and determine which of the expenditures will be adjustments to
Some people disregard this idea because of the generous exclusion
allowed on principal residences. At the unknown point in the future
when you sell your home, circumstances may have changed and the proof of
these expenditures will be valuable. The tax laws could lower the
exclusion amount or eliminate it altogether. Your marital status may
change because of death or divorce. The market value of your home may
Since the future is unknown, it is better to keep track of the
improvements as they are made and how much is spent on them. Download
an Improvement Register and examples or read more in Publication 523 on Increases to Basis.
Author:Lisa Hayden Phone: 941-730-3102 Dated: October 14th 2014 Views: 603 About Lisa: I am a Michigan native but call Sarasota “Home” for the last 8 plus years and have proven to be ...
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