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Tax Treatment on Real Estate Loss: Sale of Lot
Old 07-09-2020, 05:49 PM   #1
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Tax Treatment on Real Estate Loss: Sale of Lot

Hi,

DW and I purchased an unimproved lot back in the boom days of real estate. Our thinking was either to use it as in investment or possibly build a retirement home on it one day.

Neither of those panned out, and we sold it last month at a significant loss.

What are we allowed to recover, if any, of the loss when filing our 2020 taxes?

Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:45 PM   #2
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I am not a CPA, but unless there was a business or rental involved, you cannot deduct the loss.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:49 PM   #3
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I am not a CPA, but unless there was a business or rental involved, you cannot deduct the loss.
I am not sure that is true. I inherited some property, sold it at a loss from the day of death value, and took a deduction as a capital loss. Maybe I was wrong, and it never got caught? Turbotax seemed to think it was OK.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:50 PM   #4
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I pretty sure personal RE property losses cannot be deducted.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:54 PM   #5
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I am not a CPA, but unless there was a business or rental involved, you cannot deduct the loss.
No business, no rental.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:59 PM   #6
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I am not sure that is true. I inherited some property, sold it at a loss from the day of death value, and took a deduction as a capital loss. Maybe I was wrong, and it never got caught? Turbotax seemed to think it was OK.
We also inherited some property and were expecting a loss which our CPA told us would be a capital loss deduction. I don't know if this applies to OP's situation.
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Old 07-09-2020, 07:25 PM   #7
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I certainly had to pay tax on a capital gain resulting from an unimproved lot.
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Old 07-09-2020, 07:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trooper View Post
Hi,

DW and I purchased an unimproved lot back in the boom days of real estate. Our thinking was either to use it as in investment or possibly build a retirement home on it one day.

Neither of those panned out, and we sold it last month at a significant loss.

What are we allowed to recover, if any, of the loss when filing our 2020 taxes?

Thanks.
You need to decide whether you bought it as an investment or for a retirement home, because the tax treatment for the two is different. If it was an investment on which you intended to make a profit, and just weren't able to, that is a capital loss for tax purposes. If you bought it to build a house and never got around to it and eventually changed your mind, that is a personal loss and has no effect on your taxes.

This might be helpful: https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/in...perty/00/25623

Quote:
Originally Posted by CardsFan View Post
I am not sure that is true. I inherited some property, sold it at a loss from the day of death value, and took a deduction as a capital loss. Maybe I was wrong, and it never got caught? Turbotax seemed to think it was OK.
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Originally Posted by TrvlBug View Post
We also inherited some property and were expecting a loss which our CPA told us would be a capital loss deduction. I don't know if this applies to OP's situation.
Inherited property is treated like investment property (i.e. you can claim the loss) unless you live in/on it. If you lived there, then it's personal property and you can't deduct the loss.
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper View Post
Hi,

DW and I purchased an unimproved lot back in the boom days of real estate. Our thinking was either to use it as in investment or possibly build a retirement home on it one day.

Neither of those panned out, and we sold it last month at a significant loss.

What are we allowed to recover, if any, of the loss when filing our 2020 taxes?

Thanks.
Sounds like investment to me and that while there was a possibility that it might be converted to personal use that in fact it never was converted to personal use.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:15 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
Sounds like investment to me and that while there was a possibility that it might be converted to personal use that in fact it never was converted to personal use.
That is really my situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathy63 View Post
You need to decide whether you bought it as an investment or for a retirement home, because the tax treatment for the two is different. If it was an investment on which you intended to make a profit, and just weren't able to, that is a capital loss for tax purposes. If you bought it to build a house and never got around to it and eventually changed your mind, that is a personal loss and has no effect on your taxes.

This might be helpful: https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/in...perty/00/25623
Thanks for the link. If the property is considered investment property, how is the capital loss treated? Can I fully net the capital loss against all of my capital gains (sales of mutual funds, mutual fund capital gain distributions), or am I limited to $3,000 capital loss per year?
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:15 PM   #11
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I'm thinking the former.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:14 AM   #12
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The $3000 limit applies after you deduct the loss from all your gains.
For example,
If your gains were $20,000 and your loss was $15,000 you can deduct all of it
However, if your gains were $15,000 and your loss was $20,000 you could only deduct $3000 that year. The remaining $2000 would be a capital loss carry forward you could deduct the following year.
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:02 AM   #13
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Thanks Souschef. My situation is the second one in your response. Using your numbers I would have a LTCG of $0 and a LTCL of $3,000 in 2020, and I would start off 2021 with a LTCL of $2,000 to be netted against 2021 LTCGs?

What is the treatment of the 2020 LTCL of $3,000? Does it reduce Qualified Dividends or Ordinary Income?
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Old 07-10-2020, 02:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CardsFan View Post
I am not sure that is true. I inherited some property, sold it at a loss from the day of death value, and took a deduction as a capital loss. Maybe I was wrong, and it never got caught? Turbotax seemed to think it was OK.
Inherited property is a different situation. You were entitled to the loss but you may have gotten away with something. Normally if sold within a reasonable time after date of death the sales price becomes the DOD value and there is therefore no gain or loss.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:16 PM   #15
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Inherited property is a different situation. You were entitled to the loss but you may have gotten away with something. Normally if sold within a reasonable time after date of death the sales price becomes the DOD value and there is therefore no gain or loss.
Gill
Our CPA advised that any loss would be calculated on the purchase price and disposal costs. We assumed a loss would happen based on the horrendous condition of the property (located in a small midwestern town), but we were pleasantly surprised. We sold at auction w/in a couple of months of death and used the sale price as DOD value.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:42 PM   #16
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Inherited property is a different situation. You were entitled to the loss but you may have gotten away with something. Normally if sold within a reasonable time after date of death the sales price becomes the DOD value and there is therefore no gain or loss.
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Many times a loss can be taken when you factor in the expenses of selling the property!
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:45 PM   #17
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Many times a loss can be taken when you factor in the expenses of selling the property!
Yes, of course.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:47 PM   #18
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Our CPA advised that any loss would be calculated on the purchase price and disposal costs. We assumed a loss would happen based on the horrendous condition of the property (located in a small midwestern town), but we were pleasantly surprised. We sold at auction w/in a couple of months of death and used the sale price as DOD value.
Your CPA told you the basis of inherited property would be the purchase price? Was it inherited from an irrevocable trust?
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:01 PM   #19
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Your CPA told you the basis of inherited property would be the purchase price? Was it inherited from an irrevocable trust?
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That's my recollection, however, I could be wrong. No trust involved.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:08 PM   #20
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That's my recollection, however, I could be wrong. No trust involved.
Not all CPAs are conversant with estate matters. If it was inherited from a decedent the basis is date of death value, the best indication of which is sale price within a reasonable time after death.
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