Capital Gains Taxes 101

Dated: January 4 2021

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Buying a home is one of the biggest and most useful investments that you’ll make in your lifetime. One thing you should understand when you're making big improvements to a home or doing any kind of high return renovations is that of the Capital Gains Tax. This tax can take away from the return on your investment, especially under the right circumstances. Even with minimal improvements to a home, if an area has seen an upswing in popularity, you could end up paying the price when you go to sell. 

 

 

Taxpayer Relief Act

 

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 can help many people to hang on to the returns they see from the sale of their home. 

 

Previously, homeowners could qualify for a one-time tax exemption of up to $125,000 on the sale of a home. They also could combine the earnings in on the purchase of another home. Currently, there are a few ways that you can save on the Capital Gains Tax thanks to the TRA. 

 

House Flippers And Homeowners Aren’t Equal

 

Not all home sales receive an equal tax treatment. If you are flipping houses, you’re out of luck when it comes to receiving profit-friendly tax breaks. You need to have lived in a home as your primary residence for two out of five years of owning a home in order to qualify for tax breaks. If this isn’t the case, you’ll end up paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. If you’re a professional house flipper, your homes are considered inventory and taxed as income. The tax on this can vary from 15% to 20%, depending upon the tax bracket you fall into.

 

 

The Type Of Property Matters When It Comes To Taxes

 

Whether the property is a primary place of residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, the gains are all taxed differently. If you own a second home that you’re interested in selling, it’s not treated the same as a primary residence for tax purposes. You’ll be taxed based on the amount of time that you owned the property, or the amount of time that the property was used as a second home. The taxes are based on a prorated amount of time.

 

The Price Of The Home Doesn’t Matter

 

You may think that higher priced homes are taxed more heavily than less expensive homes. This would be the case when it comes to property taxes, but it isn’t so when we’re talking about Capital Gains Taxes. These taxes are based on how much profit is made from the sale of the home. If a loss was taken, or the homeowner “broke even,” they may not owe as many taxes. A smaller home that had significant improvements made could be taxed a bit more than a home that was sold at a higher price with fewer upgrades.

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Patricia Magno

I relocated from North Jersey to Florida about 10 years ago. I spent 30+ years working in the legal and corporate world. I have always been intrigued and had a passion for real estate, and knowing how....

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