Posts Tagged ‘Capital Gains Tax’

How Does Capital Gains Tax Affect Property Owners?

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Man's hands calculating  capital gains tax.

President Biden has proposed a capital gains tax increase. At the time of writing this blog post, it has not yet passed. But, many are wondering how this increase would affect them when they sell their real estate holdings.

When was capital gains tax implemented?

Capital gains tax has been in existence as far back as 1913. Taxes were calculated at the ordinary tax rate of the time. The capital gains tax rate has been lower than the top ordinary income tax rate since the 1950s. The percentage of taxation and rules about the sale of capital assets has changed over the years.

Capital assets are homes, cars, investment properties, stocks, bonds, and collectible art with a useful life longer than one year. An asset sale can result in a short-term gain or a long-term gain. Assets held less than a year are considered short-term gains. Long-term gains pertain to assets held longer than one year.

Ordinary tax rates apply to short-term gains. Tax rates on long-term capital gains vary by filing status and income bracket; rates range from 0%, 15% to 20%. Higher-income taxpayers may have to pay an additional 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT).

Let’s take a look at how capital gains affect real estate.

If you sell your primary residence, you first need to determine if you realize a loss or a gain. To calculate that information, you need to determine your basis. The basis is generally what you paid for the home. You can include the cost for some improvements, but not the expense for regular maintenance and repair of the house. A good rule of thumb is that improvements must add value to the property, change its use, or increase longevity. Consult with your tax professional to learn what can and can not be included to determine your basis.

Special exemptions apply for primary residences if you live in the home for two of the previous five years before the sale date. You also must have owned the house for at least two out of the last five years. They do not need to be the same two years for each requirement. You can only use this exclusion once every two years. There may be exceptions that can disqualify you, which is why you will need to consult with a tax preparer before filing your income tax return. 

If you qualify for the exemption, you will be able to exclude up to $250,000 of capital gains if you are a single tax filer and up to $500,000 of capital gains if you are married filing jointly. 

If you own a second home, it will not qualify for the capital gains exclusion. For example, you own a beach home that you live in for two months out of the year and rent out at other times.

How do capital gains apply to investment properties?

Investors must meet the requirements of living in the home to qualify for the exemption. If you have not, you will not be eligible for the exemption when you sell your investment properties.

Investment properties can also fall under short-term and long-term capital gains. The tax rate for this investment is calculated according to the ordinary income tax rate for your tax bracket if you held it for less than one year. Flipped houses usually fall into a short-term capital gains tax category because investors want to refurbish the home and turn it over quickly.

Any capital gains on an investment property held at least a year would be subject to long-term capital gains tax rates for the investor’s tax bracket.

Like a primary residence, you will need to calculate your cost basis, including purchase cost and any qualifying improvements. You calculate your gain by subtracting your sales price from your cost basis.

A 1031 Exchange can defer capital gains.

If investors want to sell a particular property and invest in a like-kind property, they may qualify for a 1031 exchange. This classification allows the investor to sell now and defer paying capital gains. A third-party facilitator is required to handle the process. The investor is under strict time limits to complete the exchange. The replacement property must be identified within 45 days and close within 180 days of selling the property. In the event of a missed deadline, capital gains tax is applicable.

What are the possible effects of the proposed changes?

The Biden administration’s proposed capital gains tax changes would increase the capital gains tax rates and limit the use of 1031 Exchanges. The proposal includes raising the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% for people making over $1 million per year. It is important to remember that this proposal will affect all capital assets, not just real estate, as we are talking about here.

It may seem that the capital gains tax will not affect many, but in areas where the cost of real estate has skyrocketed, that could be another story. For example, if the property has a low basis, the seller may make a significant capital gain when selling. This considerable gain could put them in a higher tax bracket triggering a higher capital gain tax rate.

Another area of concern in the proposed capital gains tax changes is eliminating stepping up the basis of inherited property. The capital gains on inherited properties are calculated on the home’s fair market value at the time of death or “stepping-up” the basis of the property from the owner’s original purchase price. Utilizing the stepping-up practice reduced the amount of capital gains the estate would be taxed on. 


Because of the increase in prices in New York, this could become an issue for families selling or inheriting long-held estate properties. You can find out more about the proposal’s effects on inherited properties in this recent article from Bankrate.

Should you sell your investment properties?

Real estate investors may be wondering if it is time to sell their investment properties. The answer is as individual as the investor. For example, if you need to sell and your property has held its value, it may be a good time for you to sell. In contrast, you may want to hold onto the property if the value has decreased yet the area expects to increase, and you don’t require cash right now.

There are so many variables to the proposed tax changes; you need to consult with a tax professional to understand how your portfolio will be affected and what the best next steps would be for you. It is unknown what the final changes will be in this proposed legislation and how far-reaching the effects will be.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I can help you find the right home for your primary residence or investment. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

Charles D'Allesandro

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]

When You Need to Sell Your House Now But It Isn’t Selling

Monday, April 15th, 2019
Sell your house
Renting your home is a great option when you’ve been relocated and can’t sell your house.

Are you relocating? If you took a new job in a new place, and you just can’t get your house sold, you’re probably feeling like you’re in a bit of a pickle. Whenever a home sells, it’s always our hope to close the sale within a certain amount of time. This is especially true when you’re relocating or need to sell your house before buying another one. But sometimes it takes a lot longer than planned. Don’t fret. You can rent your home.

When You Need to Sell Your House but It Isn’t Selling, Rent It

The people who first came to mind when I started this blog post are those in military service.

Some friends of mine who serve in the Air Force relocated from South Dakota to Wyoming. Since they couldn’t live on base in the military housing provided to Air Force Officers, they bought a home. Then, two years later, the Air Force gave them orders to serve in Wyoming. But they couldn’t sell their house in South Dakota.

So what could they do?

Renting Until You Sell Your House

Renting your home is one way to generate cash flow while you wait for your home to sell. The monthly rent pays all or part of your mortgage costs and therefore, helps you avoid foreclosure. And if the market is slow like it was in 2008, renting allows you to:

  • Sell your home for a profit when the market recovers
  • Keep the mortgage paid until you find a qualified buyer

But you’ve got to weigh your pros and cons with renting.

What to Know Before Renting Your Home

There are important things to consider about renting before you’re a landlord.

  • Costs
  • Rates
  • Tenants
  • Benefits

 

Costs

The costs of becoming a landlord involve Homeowner’s Insurance, Property Management, and Capital Gains.

  1. Your Homeowner’s Insurance needs to change to a policy that covers landlords and rental properties specifically. And landlord policies cost more than a standard homeowners policy since landlords need more protection than the typical homeowner.
  1. Property management could cost you a lot of the monthly rent payment your tenants pay you, especially if you are a remote landlord. Unless you live near the rental, and you are skilled to take care of clogged drains, routine maintenance, or even deadbeat tenants, you will have to hire a property manager. And the cost to pay a property manager is generally around 10 percent of the monthly rent.
  1. Simply, you must live in your home for two of the five years prior to the sale of your home in order to avoid paying Capital Gains Taxes on:
  • up to $250,000 of profit if you are single
  • $500,000 of profit if you are married

However, if you rent your home for longer than three years after you relocate and then sell your house for a profit, taxes on that profit gained are due to the federal government.

Rates

What will you charge your renters to rent your home? What’s appropriate? This alone can be difficult to determine due to all the factors that need to be considered.

  • In general, it is suggested that you charge at least one percent of the mortgage. This should generate enough positive cash flow.
  • Charging one percent of the mortgage must also be reasonable for your neighborhood. Find out what the rental properties near your home are renting for to help you determine what is reasonable. To learn about rates, talk to property management agencies, search for similar rentals online, and check Craigslist, Rentometer, and Rent.com.
  • To get an idea about how much money you can expect to receive from a year of renting, you have to factor in your vacancy rates. It is suggested that investment property owners plan for only ten and a half months of occupancy per year.

What if you find that the rent you should charge, minus the costs and vacancy rate, won’t actually be enough to cover your monthly mortgage? It may still make sense to rent out your home until you sell your house instead of attempting to carry the mortgage all by yourself.

Tenants

After researching the costs involved as a landlord and the rates you should charge to rent your home, you still have to find reliable tenants. How?

  • Advertise – Advertise online, on rental sites like Rent.com and Craigslist, and on social media. And advertise on local relocation firms, HR departments, and local universities, too. Always advertise the good old-fashioned way, too. Put a sign in your yard.
  • Ask questions – Put every applicant through a screening process. Boilerplate applications and lease agreements can be found online, but you must ask your potential tenants about their: income, employment history, rental history.
  • Call all of their references.

Note: You can request Social Security numbers for background and credit checks through a website like E-Renter. Background and credit checks cost around $25, but that’s nothing compared to the number of headaches you could be spared.

Benefits

The benefits of renting your home until you sell your house shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • Capital Loss. Renting your home and then selling it at a loss allows you to claim the capital loss against your income. That can be a huge tax break!
  • Tax Breaks. There are other tax breaks available to you as a homeowner who rents your home. Landlords can deduct almost any expense related to the maintenance and marketing of their rental property. Insurance premiums, repairs, advertising costs, landscaping services, property management services, mortgage interest, and travel expenses related to the rental can be deducted.

 

More Notes Worth Considering Before You Rent Your Home

Renting your home until you sell your home is a great way to generate cash flow, cover your mortgage costs, and avoid foreclosure. But if you choose to rent your home:

  • Plan to rent it for at least one year.
  • Draw up a lease. Most renters prefer the security of a lease. But include a clause in the lease about the home being for sale. And see a real estate attorney for help with making your lease agreement clear, making sure it protects you.
  • Know the rental laws in New York.
  • Save money for repairs. You will have to make repairs before your renters move in and again after they move out. You are responsible for repairing anything major that breaks, such as the air conditioner or refrigerator.

Do you need to sell your home? Call Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or email him at [email protected] Charles can help you sell your home or protect your home as a rental property.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]