Q&A: When selling a vacation home, here are the taxes to expect

Dear Liz: I am one-third owner of a vacation house. My siblings own the other two-thirds. We inherited the house from a parent about 10 years ago. I want to sell my third to my siblings, who are willing and able to buy it. Can I do anything to avoid capital gains? Would it make a difference if I sell my interest over several years?

Answer: Vacation homes aren’t eligible for the tax break that allows people to exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains from their income when they sell their primary home. If the property was used full time as a vacation or second home, rather than as a rental, it’s also not eligible to be swapped for another property in a 1031 exchange. (These exchanges allow investors to defer capital gains on real estate investment properties.)

Selling your share of the property over time won’t eliminate the capital gain, but it would spread out the tax bill. Discuss your options with a tax pro to see which approach makes the most sense.

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