What is the difference between a home repair and a home improvement? As defined by the IRS, an improvement lasts for more than one year and adds value to your home. There are exceptions, such as when the upgrade is no longer part of your residence. (Ex. You installed wall-to-wall carpet years earlier and then replaced it with wood flooring.). In cases of fire damage and natural disasters, all work applies, from the smallest repair to the largest addition. Knowing these details is especially important when you plan to sell your home because it may help reduce the taxes you owe on profit.