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Tips for Decreasing Your Capital Gains Tax

Besides paying income tax and payroll tax, persons who buy and sell personal and investment assets also have to work with the capital gains tax system. Capital gain rates may be equally high 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 one year before selling.

To qualify capital gains for long-term status (and a tax rate cut), wait until a calendar year has passed before you sell your property. Depending on your tax rate, you may be able to save 10% to 20%. If you sell stock with a $2,000 capital gain, for instance, and you are in the 28% income tax bracket and have owned the stock for longer than a year, you need to pay 15% on the transaction. If you’ve held the stock for hardly 12 month, you’ll pay $560 or 28% of $2,000 in taxes on the transaction.

Sell when you’re earning low income.

Your income level changes the amount of long-term capital gains tax you have to pay. Those within the 10% and 15% brackets need not even pay 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.

Because your capital gain tax rate is dependent on your taxable income, general tax-savings tricks can help you grab a favorable 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.

Look for little-known deductions as well, such as the moving expense deduction, which you get when you move for a certain job. Pick bonds issued by states, local governments, or municipalities – whose income is non-taxable – over corporate bonds. There’s an entire range of possible tax breaks, so study the IRS’s Credits & Deductions database so you know what you can qualify for.

When possible, time your capital losses with your capital gains.

One important feature of capital gains is that they’re diminished by any capital losses you incur within a specific year. Using up your capital losses in the years you have capital gains, will lessen your tax. 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. You can, however, carry extra capital losses into future tax years, but if you’ve had a particularly substantial loss, it may take a while for you to use those up.

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