Book Review: Home Seller's Guide to Tax Savings

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Almost five years ago, in A New Book on Taxation of Residence Sales: Don't Leave Home Without It, I reviewed Julian Block’s HOME SELLER’S GUIDE TO TAX SAVINGS.” I concluded that it was useful,” solid, well-organized,” and a book that every real estate agent and broker in the country who handles residential home transactions ought to acquire.” I must not have been alone in that conclusion, because the book has now appeared in a new printing. That suggests to me that people are buying it.

As an author, I know that’s good news. Nor was I alone in my reaction, as similar and even more effusive praise for Julian’s book has appeared in Money, the New York Times, Forbes, and a variety of other magazines, newspapers, and professional association newsletters.

The new version is no less useful, no less well-organized, and no less informative. Julian continues to provide numerous examples, and to delve into almost every possible variation on the home sale theme” as he did the first time around. He continues to focus on the issues specifically affecting surviving spouses, divorced and unmarried individuals, unmarried couples, owners of condominiums and cooperatives, and those who have used part of their residence as an office in home, to mention some of those to whose problems he gives attention. The checklists in the book have been retained and updated to reflect developments in the tax law. The discussion of record retention remains no less important than it was five years ago.

At a time when taxpayers are realizing losses on the disposition of residences because of the housing market collapse, Julian's chapter on when losses can and cannot be deducted is especially timely. No less important is the chapter that deals with insolvency, foreclosures, and debt cancellation. There are chapters on casualty losses, home improvements in the form of medical expenses, and the mortgage interest deduction, though again Julian leaves the details of other home-related tax issues, such as real estate tax deductions and the computation of depreciation for home offices, to other books. That makes sense considering the basic theme of the book is residence sales.

There continues to be all sorts of misinformation circulating on the Internet and among home sellers, and there accordingly continues to be a need for Julian’s book. My suggestion five years ago that real estate agents and brokers get themselves a copy is no less valid today than it was then. The numbers of people selling homes without using realtors continues to increase, and they, too, would benefit from having a copy of Julian’s book.

HOME SELLER’S GUIDE TO TAX SAVINGS” is available from PassKey Publications, as well as at outlets such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.Reprinted with permission from MauledAgain

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