Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
man checking financial information on a smart phone while doing his bookkeeping
Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan

    How Much is Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate?

    Capital gains taxes on real estate can be a tricky subject, but by understanding the basics of how they work and taking advantage of resources such as online calculators and tax professionals, you can make the process less intimidating.


    Capital gains tax is a form of taxation applied to the profits made from selling certain assets, including real estate. When you sell a piece of real estate for more than you paid for it, the difference between the two amounts is considered a capital gain and is subject to taxes. However, not all real estate sales are subject to capital gains taxes, and the rules can be complex.

    Capital Gains and Losses

    A capital gain is the profit made from selling an asset for more than its adjusted basis, which is typically the original purchase price plus any improvements made to the property. A capital loss, on the other hand, is when an asset is sold for less than its adjusted basis. The tax implications of capital gains and losses depend on whether they are classified as long-term or short-term. Long-term capital gains are gains from assets held for more than one year before being sold, while short-term capital gains are from assets held for one year or less.

    Tax Rates

    The tax rate on most net capital gain is no higher than 15% for individuals with taxable income below certain thresholds; 20% if it exceeds those thresholds in some cases; 28% if it involves section 1202 qualified small business stock or collectibles; 25% if it involves unrecaptured section 1250 gain from real property sale.

    Most net short-term capital gains are subject to taxation as ordinary income at graduated tax rates instead of the lower rates that apply to long-term gains. It is important to keep in mind that these rates can change over time and may vary depending on your income level and filing status. Additionally, special tax rates apply to certain assets like collectibles, so it's important to consider the specific rules for the asset you're selling.

    Deductions and Carryovers

    In some cases, you may be able to claim a limited deduction for capital losses, which is known as an excess loss. The limit on deductions for excess losses is the lesser of $3000 ($1500 if married filing separately) or the total net loss shown on line 16 of Schedule D (Form 1040). If you have more losses than the limit allows, you can carry the excess loss forward to offset capital gains in future years, subject to certain limitations and rules.

    Reporting and Payment

    When you sell a piece of real estate, you'll need to report the transaction and any resulting capital gains or losses on your tax return. The forms typically used for reporting capital gains and losses are Form 8949 and Schedule D. Depending on the amount of your capital gain, you may be required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. Additionally, the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) may apply to certain high-income taxpayers, so it's important to consult a tax professional to determine if this applies to you.


    To help you determine the amount of taxes you'll owe from the sale of real estate, you can use an online capital gains tax calculator or seek advice from a tax professional. H&R Block's Premium services offer built-in calculators for calculating capital gains and guidance from tax professionals who can assist with calculating and filing taxes due to the sale of real estate.


    Capital gains taxes on real estate can be complex and are affected by a variety of factors, including how long the property was held, the sale price, and the taxpayer's income level. It's important- It's important to be aware of the different tax implications for long-term and short-term capital gains, as well as the special tax rates that may apply to certain assets. Capital losses may be able to offset capital gains, but there are limits on the deductions you can claim and certain rules that apply to carrying over losses. Properly reporting capital gains and losses on your tax return is crucial, and consulting with a tax professional or using online resources can help ensure accuracy. Remember that capital gains tax rules may change over time, so it's important to stay informed and seek advice when necessary. Always consult professional for specific tax advice.

    In conclusion, capital gains taxes on real estate can be a tricky subject, but by understanding the basics of how they work and taking advantage of resources such as online calculators and tax professionals, you can make the process less intimidating.

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