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jwilding
New Member

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

DTPA settlement, realtor/seller lied on several items on sellers disclosure, as a result there are multiple items that have to be repaired, old wiring, MOLD, and other items.  Are these repairs deductible from the gross settlement?

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Opus 17
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

Generally,

1. If you use some of the settlement money for repairs, it is not taxable income but it does not increase your cost basis.  A repair is something that keeps the property in as condition.   Fixing a hole in the roof without replacing the entire roof would be a repair. 

2. If you use some of the settlement to make improvements, that is not taxable and it increases the cost basis of your home.  An improvement extends the life of the property or adds value to the property, makes the property better.   Remediating mold damage or replacing all the wiring with modern wiring would be an improvement.  Increasing the cost basis of your home may result in lower capital gains tax when you sell.

3.  If some of the settlement is compensation for hidden lost value   (the home was worth less than you thought due to seller misconduct), that money is not taxable either. However, it reduces your cost basis. 

 So, putting that all together, let's suppose you paid $100,000, and due to concealed damage you received a settlement of $30,000. And you make $25,000 of improvements to restore the property. Your cost basis for the home will now be $95,000. 

4.  However, there is a complicating factor. If some of the settlement is punitive damages, that is, punishment to the real estate agent or seller for lying and not compensation for loss of value, then those punitive damages are taxable income (and they don't adjust your cost basis one way or the other).

 It may not always be clear whether part of the settlement includes punitive damages.   This is something you might want to discuss with your attorney. 

 However you decide to allocate costs, keep excellent records of your financial decisions, how you determined the loss of value, and your repair costs.  And keep these records for at least seven years and preferably for at least seven years after you sell the house. You will need these records if you are audited to show the IRS how you determined the allocation of the settlement. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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10 Replies
Carl
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

No, they're not deductible at all. However, I think they add to your cost basis on the property. What say you @TaxGuyBill ?
TaxGuyBill
Level 9

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

I agree, I don't see anything as deducible, but the improvements to the property increase its Basis.
jwilding
New Member

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

In researching more, it depends on how the settlement is written, if it states xyz$ for repairs and damages then that portion is not taxable, only the punitive amount is. In other words I receive $500K but have $200K in repairs, I only have to pay on $300K.
Opus 17
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

Yes, punitive damage awards are always taxable income no matter what the original injury was.
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
jwilding
New Member

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

Injury? There's no injury here.
Opus 17
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

Technically you were financially injured by the seller and agent.  A similar case would be the banks that committed mortgage fraud or charged military service persons higher interest rates than allowed by law.  The recovery for the "injury" usually is not taxable but punitive damages always are.  (Of course, the same principle also applies to punitive damages when awarded for physical injuries.)
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
jwilding
New Member

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

but the cost of the repairs/damages they knew about could be can be deducted from settlement, correct?
Opus 17
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

The part that is not taxable is what it actually costs you to repair or restore the property--your actual costs, even if your actual costs are more or less than what was estimated in the settlement.
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
jwilding
New Member

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

that's what I thought, thank you so much!! Last question, I promise! Mediation is in early Dec 2017, if I get the settlement in Dec and I know repairs will not start til Jan 2018, how does that work?
Opus 17
Level 15

Dtpa settlement, is it taxable

Generally,

1. If you use some of the settlement money for repairs, it is not taxable income but it does not increase your cost basis.  A repair is something that keeps the property in as condition.   Fixing a hole in the roof without replacing the entire roof would be a repair. 

2. If you use some of the settlement to make improvements, that is not taxable and it increases the cost basis of your home.  An improvement extends the life of the property or adds value to the property, makes the property better.   Remediating mold damage or replacing all the wiring with modern wiring would be an improvement.  Increasing the cost basis of your home may result in lower capital gains tax when you sell.

3.  If some of the settlement is compensation for hidden lost value   (the home was worth less than you thought due to seller misconduct), that money is not taxable either. However, it reduces your cost basis. 

 So, putting that all together, let's suppose you paid $100,000, and due to concealed damage you received a settlement of $30,000. And you make $25,000 of improvements to restore the property. Your cost basis for the home will now be $95,000. 

4.  However, there is a complicating factor. If some of the settlement is punitive damages, that is, punishment to the real estate agent or seller for lying and not compensation for loss of value, then those punitive damages are taxable income (and they don't adjust your cost basis one way or the other).

 It may not always be clear whether part of the settlement includes punitive damages.   This is something you might want to discuss with your attorney. 

 However you decide to allocate costs, keep excellent records of your financial decisions, how you determined the loss of value, and your repair costs.  And keep these records for at least seven years and preferably for at least seven years after you sell the house. You will need these records if you are audited to show the IRS how you determined the allocation of the settlement. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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