Ask Bob: What Home Sale Expenses Are Tax Deductible?

Robert Powell, CFP®


I sold my primary home in Florida in April 2019. I'm 78 years old. Can I take any income tax deductions from the sale (about $33,000 for commissions, $4,300 tax stamps, and some legal fees)? My net gain on the home I owned for 11 years was under the allowed amount of $250,000 for a single person. Is there any place other than Sale of Home forms to take these deductions? Otherwise I must forget all these expenses and take the standard deduction of $13,850.


Unfortunately, says Craig Steinhoff, CPA, a member of the American Institute of CPAs Consumer Financial Education Advocates, only the interest and real estate taxes coming through a closing statement on the sale of a personal residence are deductible to a seller.

“The commissions, stamps and legal fees are not deductible on your personal tax return if the house was used as your primary residence,” says Steinhoff. “However, if the interest and real estate taxes, combined with other itemized deductions are not more than your standard deduction, $13,850 in your case, then it will not be advantageous to claim the itemized deduction on your return.” (See Schedule A to view the Itemized Deductions form).

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