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Form 4797

Form 4797 and Rental Property Sales: A Comprehensive Guide for Taxpayers (2024 Update)

Selling a property at decent rates, earning a significant gain, and anticipating a tax refund on it is a genuine and confirmed blessing. However, before you celebrate the transactions and benefits, it is extremely important to understand how the sale impacts your tax obligations. 

Just to ensure that you are heading in the right direction, Form 4797 appears to rescue and salvage from the prospective pitfalls. This IRS form plays a vital role in reporting the sale of business property, including rental real estate. Let’s discuss Form 4797 in more detail and how it applies to rental property sales according to the latest US Tax Laws of 2024.

Who Needs to File Form 4797?

Every individual who sells a property that qualifies as business property must file Form 4797. In other words, it applies to all your rental activities that are substantial and regular and that’s just not to be treated as a casual sideline. Below are some indicators discussed that identify whether your rental operation might be considered a business.

  • The property is actively advertised for rent.
  • A separate set of books for the rental income and expenses are maintained.
  • Significant services are provided to the tenants such as repairs or maintenance beyond normal wear and tear.

What Information Do You Need to Gather?

There is some important information that needs to be gathered before tackling Form 4797:

  1. Property Details: It should cover the description, purchase date and date of sale.
  2. Costs: Under this, original purchase price, any additional improvements made (basis adjustments) and selling expenses are mentioned.
  3. Depreciation: Total depreciation claimed on the property over the years. This information should be readily available and accessible from the previous tax returns.

Understanding Capital Gains and Recapture

When you sell any property, it will likely result in a capital gain or loss. This gain or loss will be computed by subtracting the adjusted basis (purchase price + improvements – Depreciation) from the sales proceeds.

  1. Capital Gains: In case you earn a gain, or the result is positive on the selling of property, it will be taxed from 0% to 20% depending upon the taxable income for 2024 where higher income brackets face the top rate.
  2. Recapture: There’s a twist and turn, depreciation claimed on the property in the prior years might be subject to recapture as ordinary income at a higher tax rate than capital gains. In this regard, Form 4797 facilitates you in calculating any potential depreciation recapture.

Completing Form 4797

The Form 4797 itself might seem as scary and difficult, but now there is no need to worry as the IRS provided details instructions at Below is a basic breakdown of the relevant sections for rental property sales:

Part I: It starts by putting all the details about the property including description, date acquired, and date sold.

Part II: After entering all the basic details, the selling prices and selling expenses need to be reported.

Part III: This part will deal with all the basis of the property including the original purchase price, any improvements made, and total depreciation claimed.

Part IV: This lets you know what your gain or loss from the sale is.

Part V: This section discusses depreciation recapture if applicable.


Selling property, although fascinating, involves various tax implications. A detailed understanding of Form 4797 and its role in reporting the sales is important for accurate tax filing. It is to be remembered that the above excerpt only gives you a general view, for understanding and managing the exact technicalities consulting a tax professional like is highly recommended.

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