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How to Lessen Your Capital Gains Tax

Aside from paying income tax and payroll tax, individuals who buy and sell personal and investment assets should also 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 ways to keep them as low as possible.

The following are useful tips that help you minimize your capital gains tax:

Wait one year 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 hardly 12 month, you’ll pay $560 or 28% of $2,000 in taxes on the transaction.

Sell when you’re receiving a low income.

Your income level influences the amount of long-term capital gains tax you need to pay. Taxpayers within the 10% and 15% brackets don’t even have to pay long-term capital gains tax at all. If your income level is expected to go down- for instance, if your spouse is about to be unemployed or if you’re nearing retirement – sell within this low income year and cut your capital gains tax rate.

Bring down your taxable income.

As your capital gain tax rate depends on your taxable income, general tax-savings methods can help you grab a nice rate. Maximize your deductions, for example, by completing expensive medical procedures before yearend, donating to charity, or maximizing your traditional IRA or 401k contributions.

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 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. If you use up your capital losses during the years you have capital gains, you can reduce your tax. There’s no ceiling on the amount of capital gains you have to report, for each tax year, you are only allowed to take net capital losses worth $3,000. 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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