Reducing Your Capital Gains Tax
On top of paying income tax and payroll tax, people buying and selling personal and investment assets also need to deal with the capital gains tax system. Capital gain rates can be about as much as regular income taxes. The good news is there are strategies to bring them lower.
Below are helpful tips for minimizing your capital gains tax:
Wait a year (at least) before selling.
For capital gains to be qualified for long-term status (and less tax), wait a year before you sell the property. You could save, depending on your tax rate, between 10% and 20%. For instance, if you sell stock leading to a capital gain of $2,000, and you fall under the 28% income tax bracket and have held the stock for over 12 months, you are to pay 15% of $2,000, which is $300. If you’ve held the stock for shorter than one year, you’ll pay 28% of $2,000, which is $560, on the transaction.
Sell when your earnings are low.
Your income level influences the amount of long-term capital gains tax you need 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 going down -your spouse is about to go jobless, for example, or you’re almost retiring – sell during a low income year to reduce your capital gains tax rate.
Bring down your taxable income.
Since your capital gain tax rate relies on your taxable income, general tax-savings techniques can help you get a good rate. For example, increase your deductions by donating to charity, contributing more to your traditional IRA or 401k, or completing expensive medical procedures before the end of the year.
Also look for vague or not-so-known deductions, like the moving expense deduction for those who have to move for a job. Rather than buying corporate bonds, get bonds issued by municipalities, local governments and states, as the income they produce is non-taxable. There’s a whole bunch of potential tax breaks, so take time to check the IRS’s Credits & Deductions database to know which ones you may be qualified for.
When possible, sync your capital losses with your capital gains.
One remarkable feature of capital gains is that they’re moderated by any capital losses incurred on a particular year. To lower your tax, use up your capital losses in the years you have capital gains. 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. However, you may carry additional capital losses into future tax years, although it may take some time to use those up if you’ve had a particularly big loss.