title>Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter Wizard Animation


Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Donating Part Of Home


Subject: Tax Question

Dear Kerry,

I have friends that want to sale their residence valued at $1.5 million.  They also want to make a contribution to a charity of approximately $500,000.  They are wondering if they can donate 1/3 of the residence to charity before it is sold.  Then after the home is sold and they get $1 million for their 2/3 share of the residence, still deduct the $500,000 exclusion for sale of a partial interest of a residence.  Your thoughts are appreciated.


Such a plan could be possible, with proper documentation, including an IRS approved appraisal of the value of the partial interest.

However, such a plan might not work out to give your friends the lowest tax.  It could very well work out that having them sell the home as 100% owners and then donate $500,000 cash would have a smaller bottom line than the scenario you are proposing.  Long term capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate than is ordinary income. 

Their personal tax professional should run the numbers under both scenarios.  It could end up showing that a $500,000 cash donation saves them more ordinary income tax than the extra capital gains tax on $500,000 additional taxable profit from their residence sale. 

Of course, with numbers that large, all kinds of other factors will kick in, including the insane AMT and phase-outs of deductions and exemptions.  The only way to get a decent handle on the figures is with a good tax software program, which their personal tax professional should have.

Kerry Kerstetter


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