Home (Tax) Free

If you've sold a residence since 1999, the IRS might have some cash for you

With the stock market in a slump, chances are you're not fretting about owing taxes on stock gains come April 15. In fact, your only gain is probably in your house. But if you bought and sold a home for a profit over the past five years, here's some welcome tax-season news: recently issued guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service say you may have shelled out capital-gains taxes unnecessarily, and you should get the money back.

Here's why. The big tax-rule overhaul of 1997 let married homeowners filing jointly pocket up to $500,000 of their home-sale gains tax free, while...

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