Returns – My Most Valuable Tips

Tips for Decreasing Your Capital Gains Tax

Besides paying income tax and payroll tax, persons who buy and sell personal and investment assets also have to work with the capital gains tax system. Capital gain rates may be equally high as regular income taxes. The good news is there are ways to keep them as low as possible.

Below are helpful tips for minimizing your capital gains tax:

Wait at least one year before selling.

For capital gains to be qualified for long-term status (and less tax), wait a year before you sell the property. Depending on your tax rate, you may be able to save 10% to 20%. If you sell stock with a $2,000 capital gain, for instance, and you are in the 28% income tax bracket and have owned the stock for longer than a year, you need to pay 15% on the transaction. If you’ve held the stock for hardly 12 month, you’ll pay $560 or 28% of $2,000 in taxes on the transaction.

Sell when you’re receiving a low income.

Your income level changes the amount of long-term capital gains tax you have to pay. Individuals falling under the 10% and 15% brackets don’t even need to pay any long-term capital gains tax at all. If your income level is about to drop – let’s say your spouse is almost retiring or you’re about to lose your job – selling during this low income year will decrease your capital gains tax rate.

Bring down your taxable income.

As your capital gain tax rate depends on your taxable income, general tax-savings methods can help you grab a nice rate. Maximize your deductions, for example, by completing expensive medical procedures before yearend, donating to charity, or maximizing your traditional IRA or 401k contributions.

Look as well for not-so-known deductions, like the moving expense deduction, which is for those who need to move for employment. Pick bonds issued by states, local governments, or municipalities – whose income is non-taxable – over corporate bonds. There’s a whole range of potential tax breaks out there, so refer to the IRS’s Credits & Deductions database to know what you may qualify for.

Time your capital losses with your capital gains if possible.

One remarkable feature of capital gains is that they’re moderated by any capital losses incurred on a particular year. If you use up your capital losses during the years you have capital gains, you can reduce your tax. There’s no cap on the amount of capital gains you can report, but you may only take $3,000 of net capital losses every tax year. You can carry additional capital losses into future tax years, however, although it may take a while before you can use those up if you’ve absorbed a substantial loss.