Q: What are the IRS instructions for Form 1099-S reporting with respect to a married couple?
A: The IRS makes an exception to its Multiple Transferor guidelines for spouses. The IRS instruction for spouses is set out below.
For multiple transferors of the same real estate, you must file a separate Form 1099-S for each transferor. At or before closing, you must request from the transferors an allocation of the gross proceeds among the transferors. The request and the response are not required to be in writing. You must make a reasonable effort to contact all transferors of whom you have knowledge. However, you may rely on the unchallenged response of any transferor, and you need not make additional contacts with other transferors after at least one complete allocation is received (100% of gross proceeds, whether or not received in a single response). If you receive the allocation, report gross proceeds on each Form 1099-S accordingly.
You are not required to, but you may, report gross proceeds in accordance with an allocation received after the closing date but before the due date of Form 1099-S (without extensions). However, you cannot report gross proceeds in accordance with an allocation received on or after the due date of Form 1099-S (without extensions).
If no gross proceeds are allocated to a transferor because no allocation or an incomplete allocation is received, you must report the total unallocated gross proceeds on the Form 1099-S made for that transferor. If you do not receive any allocation or you receive conflicting allocations, report on each transferor’s Form 1099-S the total unallocated gross proceeds.
If the transferors were spouses at the time of closing, who held the property as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety, tenants in common, or as community property, treat them as a single transferor. Only one Form 1099-S showing either of them as the transferor is required. You need not request an allocation of gross proceeds if spouses are the only transferors. But if you receive an uncontested allocation of gross proceeds from them, file Form 1099-S for each spouse according to the allocation. If there are other transferors, you must make a reasonable effort to contact either spouse to request an allocation.
However, even if the transaction is not reportable, each spouse would have to give the certification. The IRS instruction provides as follows: Sale or exchange of a residence (including stock in a cooperative housing corporation) for $250,000 or less if you received an acceptable written assurance (certification) from the seller that such residence is the principal residence (within the meaning of section 121) of the seller and the full amount of the gain on such sale is excludable from gross income under section 121. If the certification includes an assurance that the seller is married, the preceding sentence shall be applied by substituting “$500,000” for “$250,000.” If there are joint sellers, you must obtain a certification from each seller (whether married or not) or file Form 1099-S for any seller who does not make the certification. The certification must be signed by each seller under penalties of perjury.