We are almost done with our overview of how to determine if you must pay a capital gains tax on the sale of your home. A quick recap of the last two posts: Start with what you paid for the home, then add anything that increased the value of the property and deduct anything that may have decreased the value of the property.
Those of us who remember publisher-millionaire Steve Forbes' presidential campaigns may still be able to close their eyes and hear his mantra: "Do the math." His platform was based on instituting a flat tax rate for income tax. It sounds so easy. But so does a comedian's tax reform idea: "How much did you make? Pay that amount."
The Internal Revenue Service's position on digital currency such as Bitcoin continues to evolve. As we discussed previously, the IRS issued a decision in March to categorize Bitcoin as taxable property and not official currency. While Bitcoin essentially functions as money, no nation recognizes digital currency as legal tender, though the IRS decision means that federal income taxes and payroll taxes will apply to wages paid in Bitcoin.
An individual is planning on selling their rental home that they have kept as an investment for ten years. They paid $400,000 on the property and have sold it for $500,000. They have also made no capital improvements upon it and are not paying for closing costs or sales commissions. They would then like to pay the $100,000 net profit towards their principal residence.
In our last post we discussed some different possibilities for how the Internal Revenue Service might tax the virtual currency known as bitcoin. The new type of currency has generated a lot of controversy and exists in a legal grey area because people are trading it for goods and services, holding it as an investment, and producing it as a business, but it is not recognized as a currency by any sovereign nation.
At this point in the year California taxpayers are getting serious about submitting their income tax returns. This means carefully combing through one’s finances and making sure that all income and deductions are properly accounted for and that the details are all correct on the forms being submitted to the IRS. For California residents who are holders of the virtual currency bitcoin, there are some important decisions to make about how to report bitcoins on a tax return.
In the process of beginning to create an estate plan a lot of people have probably heard that it is best to give away a substantial portion of one’s wealth before they are gone in order to minimize tax liability and to make sure that gifts go to the people and organizations that they are intended for. This can be a very good method for pre-emptively managing an estate, but in some circumstances might not be the best possible option.
Determining one's capital gains tax can be simple for California residents, but it can also become complicated for certain kinds of assets. You need to have held on to an asset for at least a year or more or it will be categorized as a short-term capital gain and be taxed at the same rate as regular income. One should also remain mindful of the fact that, for high-income earners, the Golden State has the highest rate at 13.3 percent.
What this translates into for a high-income earner is paying a combination of state and federal long-term capital gains taxes that can hit a total rate of 33.3 percent. Don't forget to add the 3.8 percent Medicare tax to that figure. Add it all up and you can easily see how important it is to engage in some careful and knowledgeable tax planning.