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I am trying to save money by not using my accountant to prepare my taxes.

I sold a home in 2009 and I am using Turbo Tax and I'm concerned there is only 1 box for all deductions related to the sale of your home. It's one bulk number that is to include everything related to the expenses and improvements to your home. Someone on the 800 line told me that "our software isn't right for everyone" and I was wondering would an accountant break out all or a good part of my expenses and improvements, or does their software also only include one spot for a total number of expenses and improvements.

Seems the IRS has so many forms and they ask you to break down deductions for much minor things and now you're selling a home with major improvements and expenses and all they want is one big number?

TIA for any info or guidance.

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redrover said: I am trying to save money by not using my accountant to prepare my taxes.

I sold a home in 2009 and I am using Turbo Tax and I'm concerned there is only 1 box for all deductions related to the sale of your home. It's one bulk number that is to include everything related to the expenses and improvements to your home. Someone on the 800 line told me that "our software isn't right for everyone" and I was wondering would an accountant break out all or a good part of my expenses and improvements, or does their software also only include one spot for a total number of expenses and improvements.

Seems the IRS has so many forms and they ask you to break down deductions for much minor things and now you're selling a home with major improvements and expenses and all they want is one big number?

TIA for any info or guidance.
Assuming this was just your personal residence (as opposed to a business or investment property), you never took the home office deduction, and you don't have to repay one of the tax credits that required you to live in the house for a certain number of years, it's really that simple. You don't have to itemize individual expenses. All you have to do is fill in one line on Schedule D. Look at Schedule D, don't be scared. It's either line 1 or line 8, depending on how long you held the property. And you may not even have to list it at all if you didn't get a 1099-S for the sale and your profit was less than the exclusion amount.

Of course, you must hang onto your documentation and be prepared to justify your numbers if you are selected for an audit.

Of course, a tax professional might be able to properly advise you as to what does or does not constitute a legitimate expense or deduction. You may have overlooked a legitimate expense or may have tried to claim an unallowable expense which a tax pro could spot.

One thing I don't like about the software packages is that they follow the instructions a bit too closely. The Schedule D instructions (page D-2) say not to report a sale at all if the profit (capital gain) is less than the $250,000 or $500,000 exclusion amount. If a 1099-S was issued, the IRS may contact you later about the fact that you didn't report the sale. You can legitimately explain it of course, but any letter from the IRS tends to send people into a panic. Similarly, in certain situations where you may have a questionable deduction or there may be a question about whether you qualify for the exclusion, there may be statute of limitations benefits to reporting the sale.

Thanks, lastgaspjr.

this was my personal residence, no home office etc. Back to my original question, would an accountant's software break things out or would they also use the bulk number?

I also have a few more questions if you're up to it

1. I had to pay State and City finance when the sale closed, I assumed that would be listed on the taxes paid portion instead of expenses/deductions?

2. Our co-op had major assesments during the time I lived there, I assume those are just lumped with everything else?

3. it seems the list of deductions and expenses is rather limited and I'm not sure where to put somethings that might not be usual in the sale of a residential surburban home.

Turbo Tax seems to make somethings very simple, but the home sale portion could be expanded.

I appreciate any help.

redrover said: Thanks, lastgaspjr.

this was my personal residence, no home office etc. Back to my original question, would an accountant's software break things out or would they also use the bulk number?

I also have a few more questions if you're up to it

1. I had to pay State and City finance when the sale closed, I assumed that would be listed on the taxes paid portion instead of expenses/deductions?

2. Our co-op had major assesments during the time I lived there, I assume those are just lumped with everything else?

3. it seems the list of deductions and expenses is rather limited and I'm not sure where to put somethings that might not be usual in the sale of a residential surburban home.

Turbo Tax seems to make somethings very simple, but the home sale portion could be expanded.

I appreciate any help.

Schedule D is the same whether TuboTax or your accountant prepares it. In neither case does it ask you to itemize the expenses.

1. I'm not sure what you mean by state and city finance. If you mean transfer taxes, those would be added to the cost of the sale. Only taxes that are imposed annually can be listed as an itemized (Schedule A) deduction. One time taxes imposed on a sale or purchase are added to the basis (cost) of the property.

2. Only assessments for capital improvements (not maintenance, repairs, and ordinary expenses) can be added to your expenses. Assessments for mortgage interest and property taxes can be taken as itemized deductions (Schedule A). You need to obtain a breakdown of how much of the assessments were used for which purpose in order to claim deductions.

3. Again, the IRS does not ask you to break out the expenses. Your talk about "not so usual" expenses leads me to believe you might be better off seeking a tax professional. Meaning no offense, but if you don't even know how to fill out a tax form, maybe you aren't in the best position to make a decision about whether some unusual expense is a legitimate deduction.

lastgaspjr said: redrover said: Thanks, lastgaspjr.

this was my personal residence, no home office etc. Back to my original question, would an accountant's software break things out or would they also use the bulk number?

I also have a few more questions if you're up to it

1. I had to pay State and City finance when the sale closed, I assumed that would be listed on the taxes paid portion instead of expenses/deductions?

2. Our co-op had major assesments during the time I lived there, I assume those are just lumped with everything else?

3. it seems the list of deductions and expenses is rather limited and I'm not sure where to put somethings that might not be usual in the sale of a residential surburban home.

Turbo Tax seems to make somethings very simple, but the home sale portion could be expanded.

I appreciate any help.

Schedule D is the same whether TuboTax or your accountant prepares it. In neither case does it ask you to itemize the expenses.

1. I'm not sure what you mean by state and city finance. If you mean transfer taxes, those would be added to the cost of the sale. Only taxes that are imposed annually can be listed as an itemized (Schedule A) deduction. One time taxes imposed on a sale or purchase are added to the basis (cost) of the property.

2. Only assessments for capital improvements (not maintenance, repairs, and ordinary expenses) can be added to your expenses. Assessments for mortgage interest and property taxes can be taken as itemized deductions (Schedule A). You need to obtain a breakdown of how much of the assessments were used for which purpose in order to claim deductions.

3. Again, the IRS does not ask you to break out the expenses. Your talk about "not so usual" expenses leads me to believe you might be better off seeking a tax professional. Meaning no offense, but if you don't even know how to fill out a tax form, maybe you aren't in the best position to make a decision about whether some unusual expense is a legitimate deduction.



1. Yes. they are tranfer taxes, so they would be including on Schedule D/


2. I know 100% of the assessments were for capital improvements, major repair project to outside of building and roof.

3. I have waited too long to have my accountant prepare my taxes, I have no choice but to make the Turbo Tax work for me and I can always send it to the accountant for review after I've filed. Not much more I can do.



What I meant was, I guess I was surprised that there are so many specific questions for each step and line of Turbo Tax, but when it came to some of these items related to the sale of the home, there's not much help in their softare and I'll do my best. I had my accountant prepare my return on other home sales and I didn't realize the expenses weren't itemized.


Thanks for your help

OK. But before you go sweating out every last nickel and dime...
Remember that a loss on personal home is non-deductible. It doesn't matter whether the loss is $1 or $1,000,000. As soon as it becomes a loss, you don't have to worry about finding any more expenses.

Remember the $250,000 (single) or $500,000 (married filing jointly) exclusion on capital gains from a sale of your primary residence if you lived in and owned the property for two of the last five years. You won't gain anything by finding more expenses that reduce your profit below the $250,000 or $500,000 number.



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