Maximising Tax Benefits: Selling Your Home to Your S-Corporation

Maximising Tax Benefits: Selling Your Home to Your S- Corporation

Converting your home into a rental property can be a strategic financial move. One effective way to enhance the tax benefits of this conversion is by selling your home to your S corporation. This guide explores the benefits, addresses common doubts, and outlines the steps to implement this strategy successfully.

Benefits of Selling Your Home to Your S Corporation

a. Tax Savings on Home Sale Profit

By selling your home to your S corporation, you can leverage the home-sale profit exclusion. For married couples, this exclusion allows up to $500,000 in tax-free gains from the sale, provided you meet the eligibility criteria. This exclusion can significantly reduce your tax liability, making the transaction financially advantageous.

b. Increased Depreciation Deductions

Selling your home to your S corporation increases the depreciable basis of your property. This higher basis results in greater annual depreciation deductions, which can enhance your cash flow by reducing taxable rental income. Over time, these increased deductions can lead to substantial tax savings.

2. Addressing Common Doubts

a. Property Tax Concerns

One concern is the potential increase in property taxes due to reassessment at the current market value. While this may lead to higher property taxes, the overall financial benefits from tax savings on the gain and increased depreciation typically outweigh these additional costs. It’s essential to weigh these factors to determine the net benefit.

b. Homestead Exemption

Another concern is the loss of any homestead exemption benefits. It’s important to note that you will lose the homestead exemption whether you sell the home to your S corporation or convert it directly into a rental property. Therefore, the homestead exemption is a non-issue in this context as it applies in either scenario.

c. Related-Party Sale Concerns

Selling to your S corporation is a related-party transaction, which raises questions about its legitimacy under tax law. However, this type of sale is perfectly legitimate. The key consideration is that the profit on the sale is subject to ordinary income treatment. If you can use your home-sale exemption against the profit, you won’t pay federal taxes on that ordinary income, making this a viable strategy.

3. Implementation Steps

a. S Corporation Formation

To maximize flexibility, consider creating a separate S corporation to hold your old home as the S corporation’s rental property. This approach provides a clear distinction between your personal and business assets, simplifying management and tax reporting.

b. Appraisal

Obtain an independent appraisal to establish the fair market value of your home. This appraisal is crucial for ensuring the transaction reflects an arm’s-length sale, which can withstand IRS scrutiny. The appraisal provides a solid basis for the sale price, helping to avoid any disputes about the property’s value.

c. Formal Procedures

Engage professional services for title transfer and legal documentation to ensure the sale mirrors an arm’s-length transaction. Proper legal and administrative procedures are essential for validating the transaction and maintaining compliance with tax laws. Professional assistance ensures that all necessary steps are correctly followed.

d. Documentation

Maintain thorough records and documentation to support the transaction’s validity. Proper documentation includes the appraisal report, legal contracts, and records of any professional services used. These records will be crucial if the IRS examines the transaction, providing evidence that it was conducted appropriately.

Detailed Considerations

a. Understanding the Home-Sale Profit Exclusion

The home-sale profit exclusion is a valuable tax benefit that allows homeowners to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) of capital gains from the sale of their primary residence. To qualify, you must have owned and lived in the home for at least two of the five years preceding the sale. Utilizing this exclusion when selling to your S corporation can significantly reduce your taxable income.

b. Calculating Depreciation Deductions

Depreciation is a tax deduction that allows property owners to recover the cost of property over time. By increasing the depreciable basis through the sale to your S corporation, you can claim higher depreciation deductions. The depreciable basis typically includes the purchase price, plus any improvements made to the property. This increased basis results in higher annual deductions, reducing your taxable rental income and improving cash flow.

c. Impact of Property Reassessment

When a property is sold, it is often reassessed at its current market value, which can increase property taxes. However, this increase is typically offset by the tax savings from the home-sale profit exclusion and the enhanced depreciation deductions. It’s essential to calculate the potential increase in property taxes and compare it to the overall tax benefits to understand the net financial impact.

d. Handling the Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption provides a reduction in property taxes for homeowners on their primary residence. When you convert your home to a rental property, you lose this exemption. Selling the home to your S corporation also results in losing the exemption, but since you lose it in either case, it should not be a deciding factor in your decision. The focus should be on the overall financial benefits of the transaction.

e. Legitimacy of Related-Party Transactions

The IRS scrutinizes related-party transactions to ensure they are conducted at arm’s length and reflect fair market value. Selling your home to your S corporation is legitimate if it meets these criteria. The transaction should be properly documented, with an independent appraisal supporting the sale price, and all legal procedures should be followed. This thorough approach helps ensure the transaction stands up to IRS scrutiny.


Selling your home to your S corporation before converting it into a rental property can offer substantial financial advantages. While there are considerations such as increased property taxes and the loss of the homestead exemption, the potential tax savings and increased cash flow typically provide a net positive outcome. By carefully implementing this strategy and maintaining proper documentation, you can enhance the financial benefits of converting your home to a rental property.

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