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Closing costs would not include refinance fees. These are fees that are paid when you close on the sale of the house. An example would be sales commissions
Also, if you are selling the house and are unmarried at the time of the sale, you would use the $250,000 exclusion not the $500,000 exclusion.
Improvements would be any improvements you made to the property, such as a new roof or HVAC system, a kitchen remodel or something similar
Thanks! I don't see the place on the IT-2663 to take into account the $250,000 exclusion - where does that go?
You're not even required to fill out the form if your house qualifies for the exclusion
See this http://www.firstamny.com/doc/805.pdf page 1 of the instructions to the form.
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Yes, if I pay taxes on the sale of this NY property while living in California, will I need to pay CA taxes on the sale as well?
Yes, you will owe tax to California as well, but you will get credit for the tax paid to New York