The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Barack Obama promises higher taxes on "the sale of your home."

John McCain on Friday, August 8th, 2008 in in a radio ad.

Only the wealthy make big profits.

In a Spanish-language radio ad, John McCain makes the case that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class.

Translated into English, the ad asks, "Are you ready for the higher taxes on income, savings and the sale of your home that Barack Obama promises?"

We checked out some of the ad's other claims in a story we wrote . Here, we'll look at the claim that Obama wants to raise taxes on home sales.

We've seen this claim before in anonymous chain e-mails that attack Obama's tax policies. We ruled those claims false.

There's only one scenario in Obama's tax plan that we can find in which taxes on home sales would go up. You would have to be a wealthy person, making more than $200,000 if you're single and $250,000 as a couple, and you would have to make a substantial profit on your home -- more than $250,000 in profit.

Here's how it would work. Obama proposes to increase the capital gains tax on upper incomes. There are exemptions to the capital gains tax, however, and one of the best-known exemptions is on home sales. In general, if you own your home and sell it for a profit, you are not taxed on the first $250,000 of profit if you are single, or on the first $500,000 of profit if you are a married couple. Neither McCain nor Obama have proposed changing this exemption.

Most home sales under Obama's plan would also be taxed at 0 percent, unless, as we explained, profits on the home sale are more than $250,000 for a single person or $500,000 for couples.

To present this detail of Obama's plan as wholesale tax increase on home sales is deceptive. Obama promises no such thing. We rule this statement Barely True.

Editor's note: This statement was rated Barely True when it was published. On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.
About this statement:

Published: Friday, August 8th, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Taxes


The Tax Policy Center, An Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans , July 23, 2008, Capital gains home-sale tax break a boon for owners , Jan. 2, 2006, Capital gains taxes often don't apply to homeowners , March 13, 2008

Written by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: Scott Montgomery

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