Archive for the ‘Selling Your Rental’ Category

Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Taxes – UGH! Unless you’re an accountant with a love for numbers, the word probably brings with it a feeling of dread when you hear it. Some folks pay them annually to the IRS. Others must pay them quarterly. And we all get to pay them daily when we purchase stuff. Like death, they cannot be avoided! And if you’re selling your rental, there are a couple tax basics you should know. First, your rental is a business asset. So the taxes you need to pay on it are due only when it sells at a profit. But if your rental sells at a loss, you can write off the loss to offset taxable income. The key to knowing the taxes you need to pay is found in correctly calculating the amount of gain or loss on the rental you sold.

How a Profit or Loss is Determined

Your profit or loss is determined by subtracting your property’s adjusted basis on the date of sale from the sales price you receive (plus expenses, such as real estate commissions).

To understand your property’s adjusted basis, you must first know what “basis in property” and “adjusted basis” mean. Basis in property is the amount of your total investment in a property. And it is not fixed. It changes over time to reflect the true amount of your investment. Each change or new basis is called the adjusted basis.

Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental Property at a Profit

When you sell a rental property at a profit, you pay taxes on the gain (profit) you realize (earn). These taxes are called Capital Gains Tax.

Reductions in basis increase the gain or profit you realize and therefore increase your tax liability when you sell your rental.

Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling Your Rental Property at a Loss

If you sell at a loss or lose money, you’ll be able to deduct the loss, but not without being subject to important limitations.

Increases in basis are lower your tax liability because they lower your profits.

Here’s an example from Nolo.com:

Viola bought a small apartment building and sold it six years later for $300,000. Her starting basis was $200,000. During the time she owned the property she took $43,000 in depreciation deductions and paid $13,000 for a new roof (an improvement). Her depreciation deductions reduced the property’s basis, but the roof improvement increased it. Her basis at the time of the sale is $170,000. Viola calculates her taxable gain on the property by subtracting her adjusted basis from the sales price: $300,000 – $170,000 = $130,000.

As you can see, when you sell your property, you effectively give back the depreciation deductions you took on it. Since they reduce your adjusted basis, they increase your taxable gain. Thus, Viola’s taxable gain was increased by the $43,000 in depreciation deductions she took. The amount of your gain attributable to the depreciation deductions you took in prior years is taxed at a single 25% rate. Viola, for example, would have to pay a 25% tax on the $43,000 in depreciation deductions she received. The remaining gain on the sale is taxed at capital gains rates (usually 15%, 20% for taxpayers in the top tax bracket).

How to Avoid Taxes You Need to Pay When Selling a Rental Property

Rental properties generate a respectable profit each month, provided you choose the right rental properties. But they can cost you when you sell. Here are three strategies that help ease the burden of a significant tax bite when you sell a profitable rental.

  1. Offset gains with losses
  2. Take advantage of Section 1031 of the Tax Code
  3. Turn your rental property into your primary residence

Offsetting gains with losses through tax-loss harvesting is for those with capital losses in a given tax year. This strategy allows a landlord to subtract those losses from the capital gains from the sale of their rental.

Taking advantage of the IRS Section 1031 “Like-kind” exchange is for those who are able to reinvest the proceeds of selling their rental property in new real estate. This strategy allows them the ability to defer some or all of the taxes on the capital gain.

Converting your rental property into your primary residence is for people who want to do so for better tax treatment when they sell. Landlords who convert a rental into their home to live in are able to exclude as much as $500,000 in capital gains from taxes.

Hire the Right Financial Advisor

When it comes to investments and knowing what taxes you need to pay on the sale of a rental, it’s always best to find and hire the right financial advisor. And it doesn’t have to be hard to find one who fits your needs. SmartAsset offers a free tool to match you with fiduciary financial advisors in your area in five minutes.

Hire the Right Real Estate Agent

If you’re selling a rental property, contact Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] With 30-plus years of real estate experience in Brooklyn, he can help you with all your real estate needs.


Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 206
[email protected]