How to Know if You have Capital Gains
If you are in the process of going through your taxes, it’s time to understand your own taxes. Even if you have a tax professional doing your taxes, it’s still great to organize your files and know what you will owe.
Let’s look at how you should divide up your income and see if you have capital gains or losses to report this year.
Table of Contents
IRS Taxable Income Types
Currently, the IRS allows you to report your income in two taxable brackets that include capital and ordinary. This will determine how much tax you will pay on your income. Let’s look at both and compare the differences.
- Ordinary Income
This is the most common of the two taxable incomes. If you have any of the following income, you can consider it as ordinary income.
- Rental income;
- Salary income;
- Hourly income;
- Self-employment income; and
- Short-term capital gains.
We will get into the short-term capital gains in a moment. It will clarify what type of capital gains are considered short-term and long-term. However, if you fall within the other categories, you will have a higher tax percentage than a person with a long-term capital gain.
- Capital Gains Income
Capital gains can be explained as any personal asset that you sold at a higher rate than you purchased. Essentially, this can be categorized largely into three categories:
- Home sales;
- Stock sales; and
- Mutual fund Sales.
Taking it even further, though, the IRS breaks up capital gains into two types that include short-term and long-term. Any possession that was acquired and sold in less than 12 months of each other is considered a short-term capital gain. For this reason, the IRS views it as an ordinary income source.
If you owned the personal possession for longer than the 12 months, it’s considered a long-term capital gain. So, it’s given a lower percentage rate than the ordinary income.
How You Can Determine Your Own Capital Gains and Losses
As you go through your pile, you want to make sure you’re dividing your income into three separate piles. You want one with documents containing any ordinary income sources, including short-term capital losses. Store these files away once fully compiled and work on your long-term capital gains.
Go through your long-term capital documents. If the sale price was higher than the original cost you paid, you can place that into a capital gain folder. You will be given between a 0% to 28% personal income tax on it, depending on other income factors.
If the original cost of the asset was higher than the sale price, you can place that into the capital loss file. This can be written off on your taxes, giving you a $3,000 annual write-off. If you have anything over, you can deduct the property off your taxes for the additional year.
Personal Property Owners, Don’t Worry
If file your taxes with H&R Block online, you will be able to easily find out what your capital gains are for the year. You’ll be asked a few simple questions and you’ll get accurate calculations based on those answers.