How to determine your tax exclusion eligibility

There are a few general rules to remember to avoid paying a capital gains tax on your home sale:

• You have to have owned the home and used it as your primary residence for at least two of the past five years before it was sold.
• The maximum profit you can exclude from capital gains taxes is $250,000 for a single person or $500,000 for a couple filing a joint return.
• You can exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years.
• If you own more than one home, you can exclude only the taxes on the sale of your main home—the one you live in the majority of the time.