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A 3.8 Percent “Sales Tax” on Your Home?

Q: Does the new health care law impose a 3.8 percent tax on profits from selling your home?

A: No, with very few exceptions. The first $250,000 in profit from the sale of a personal residence won’t be taxed, or the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple. The tax falls on relatively few — those with high incomes from other sources.

FULL ANSWER

Many are claiming that as a result of the new health care bill home sellers will incur a 3.8 percent tax on all home sales .This is inaccurate and needs to be corrected. The truth about the bill is that if you sell your home for a profit above the capital gains threshold of $250,000 per individual or $500,000 per couple then you would be required to pay the additional 3.8 percent tax on any gain realized over this threshold.

Most people who sell their homes will not be impacted by these new regulations. This is not a new tax on every seller, and that correction needs to be made. This tax is aimed at so-called "high earners" — if you do not fall into that category you will not pay any extra taxes upon the sale of your home.

For example, let’s assume that a couple with an income of $325,000 bought a house in 2004 for $300,000 and resold it in 2013 for $850,000, thus producing a $550,000 profit.

After excluding $500,000 from their gain of the sale, they are left with $50,000 investment income. Since their AGI is $75,000 over the married threshold amount the lesser amount of $50,000 would be subject to taxation – at 3.8 percent they would owe $1,900.

The referenced tax is therefore not a tax on all real estate sales; it is an investment income tax which could result in a very small percentage of home sellers paying additional taxes on home sales profits over a designated threshold amount. In short, if you’re a "high earner" and you sell your home at a substantial profit, you might be required to pay an additional 3.8% tax. However, given that only about 3% of U.S. households have incomes that exceed the specified income threshold amount, the existing home sale capital gains exclusion on a principal residence ($250,000 for individuals, $500,000 for couples) still stands, and the national median existing-home price in January 2012 was only $154,700.

The 3.8 percent tax will take effect beginning January 1, 2013.

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One Response

  1. Yes, that is correct. The medicare tax bill will only be imposed on individuals with an income above $200, 000 and couples with a joint income of more than $250, 000. And from that point, it excludes the 97% of all households in the US. Also, the tax will not be assessed in every house sale, but only on real estate transactions that will profit on a specified amount.

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