I believe the tax rate is the same for short term capital gains and regular income (other than earned income which is also subject to FICA) here in the US so it would't matter in this case. However, if the writer had a loss, he would be subject to a limitation of being able to write off more than $3000 against his other income unless he had offsetting gains. Also, since it appears this person is not a realestate professional is is unlikely the IRS world allow him to claim his gain/loss any place other than the capital gains schedule.
david ingram replies:
I seem to see more of the IRS imposing business income on short term real estate sales then anyone else. I agree that the tax rate is the same on short term and business income but on a $20,000 profit as an example, the FICA would be an extra $2,800, a significant difference.
Where the IRS finds the items is when they look at the financing and find that the person who was "building his own home" put "in writing" that he was going to sell the house when finished.
Or, an irate spouse or friend turns them in.
Thanks for the comment though. I learn more from this Q & A forum than anyone else does.
CEN-TA Cross Border Services - Tax, Visas, Immigration