What is a Main Home?

Malcolm Tatum

Also known as a primary or principal residence, a main home is the physical location where an individual lives for the majority of the calendar year. This type of residence may or may not be owned by the occupant. A main home can be a house, a leased apartment, or a mobile home. The designation of a main home is important for several different legal purposes, including the calculation of income taxes.

People may choose a mobile home as their main residence.
People may choose a mobile home as their main residence.

In most nations, there are several criteria that must be met in order for a dwelling to be recognized as a main home. While qualifications vary slightly from one country to the next, most will require that the individual physically reside in the home for a minimum amount of time each calendar year. Often, allowances are made for individuals who travel for work, especially if his or her work duties involve remaining at distant locations for a considerable portion of the year. In these special circumstances, the time spent living in a different location is not counted as actually being away from the residence, and does not affect the designation of a permanent home.

A main home is a primary residence.
A main home is a primary residence.

The address of the main home is typically utilized in many different types of legal documents. A license to operate a motor vehicle usually includes the main home address of the individual in the license detail. In like manner, various types of loans or mortgages also require the designation of a main home, complete with full contact information for the debtor. The identification of a primary residence is also important when it comes to determining which voting district the individual actually belongs to, and which polling location he or she should use when casting votes in local, state or national elections. Even something as simple as joining a social club may require providing accurate information regarding a primary residence.

For homeowners, the designation of a main home is often very important in terms of assessing property taxes. Many local and national tax agencies utilize different tax tables to determine the amount of taxes due on a primary residence versus a vacation home or other secondary real estate. This is because the land value may be assessed differently, and different percentages of that value may be assessed if the property is the primary residence for the taxpayer. The importance of determining which property is considered the principal residence is also important when property is sold, since the calculation of capital gains taxes will often depend on whether the property was the main home or a secondary real estate holding.

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