I am 65 years old. If I were to sell my cooperative apartment for approximately $70,000, would I have to pay a tax of any kind on it? The selling price is quite a bit more than I paid for the co-op 14 years ago. G. F.
The tax laws have a present for people like you, and last year's new tax law made the present even bigger. Anyone who is 55 or older can now exclude from taxes up to $125,000 in profits from the sale of his or her residence. The previous law had a $100,000 exemption. This is a once-in-a-lifetime exclusion, however, so probably it should not be used by people who think they may be buying another home and selling it later. The provision was basically aimed at helping senior citizens. The rule applies to anyone who sold his home after July 20, 1981, so even if someone has already sold his house and he wants this exemption, he can claim it on future returns or by filing an amended income tax return now.
If you sell, however, you may have to pay state taxes on profits from the sale, so check with a tax preparer, accountant, or tax official in your state before you spend it.
If you would like a question considered for publication in this column, please send it to ''Moneywise,'' The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. No personal replies can be given by mail or phone. References to investments are not an endorsement or recommendation by this newspaper.