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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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29.9 Loss on Residence Converted to Rental Property

You are not allowed to deduct a loss on the sale of your personal residence. If you convert the house from personal use to rental use you may claim a loss on a sale if the value has declined below the basis fixed for the residence as rental property.

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image Filing Tip
Loss Allowed
If you sell a house that has been converted from personal to rental use, and the sales price is less than the conversion date basis, a loss on the sale is deductible (29.9).
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To determine if you have a loss for tax purposes, you need to know the conversion date basis. This is the lower of (1) your adjusted basis (29.6) for the house at the time of conversion or (2) the fair market value at the time of conversion. Add to the lower amount the cost of capital improvements made after the conversion, and subtract depreciation and casualty loss deductions claimed after the conversion. To deduct a loss, you have to be able to show that this basis exceeds the sales price. For example, if you paid $200,000 for your home and convert it to rental property when the value has declined to $150,000, your conversion date basis for the rental property is $150,000. If the property continues to decline in value, and you sell for $125,000 after having deducted $10,000 for depreciation, you may claim a loss of $15,000 ($140,000 − $125,000). ...

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