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What is the us capital gains tax rate for 2016

what is the us capital gains tax rate for 2016

It's true that the top personal tax rate on capital gains (20%, Taxes Now,” Americans for Tax Fairness notes that in 2016 (the latest. Use the calculator below to compute the Spouse Tax Adjustment (STA) amount to enter on your Virginia income tax return. The STA allows married couples to. The rate for most long-term capital gains was reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent; further, qualified dividends were taxed at this same 15-percent rate.

What is the us capital gains tax rate for 2016 -

IDT Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

It is a tax on all tobacco products other than premium cigars sold to consumers in this state under RSA Chapter 78 and NH Code of Administrative Rules, Rev 1000. Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, little cigars, electronic cigarettes (or "e-cigarettes" , among other names), loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars.

What is the Tobacco Tax rate?

  • The tax rate for each package containing 20 cigarettes or little cigars is $1.78 per package.
  • The tax rate for each package containing 25 cigarettes or little cigars is $2.23 per package.
  • The tax rate for closed system e-cigarettes is $0.30 per milliliter on the volume of the liquid or other substance containing nicotine as listed by the manufacturer (effective January 1, 2020).
  • The tax rate for open system e-cigarettes is 8% of the wholesale sales price of the container of liquid or other substance containing nicotine (effective January 1, 2020).
  • The tax rate for all other tobacco products (OTP), except premium cigars, is 65.03% of the wholesale sales price.

Who pays it?

All taxes upon tobacco products are direct taxes upon the consumer at retail and when purchased from a licensed retailer are conclusively presumed to be pre-collected by the wholesaler who shipped or transported the tobacco products to the retailer (RSA 78:2, III).

Who do I contact with questions?

Call the Department's Tobacco Tax Group at (603) 230-4359 or write to the NH DRA, Tobacco Tax Group, PO Box 1388, Concord, NH 03302-1388.

Note: If calling to inquire about the purchase of Tobacco Tax Stamps, please contact the Collections Division at (603) 230-5900.

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Utility Property Tax
RSA 76 Tobacco Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

A tax is imposed upon the value of utility property at the rate of $6.60 on each $1000 of such value, to be assessed annually as of April 1, and every year thereafter, and paid in accordance with RSA 83-F.

Who pays it?

Utility property owners.

When is the tax due?

The Utility Property Tax is due annually on or before January 15.

Do I have to make estimated payments?

Yes. Contact the Municipal and Property Division for information on estimates due for the current tax year.  Declarations and payments of 25% of the estimated tax, based on the tax for the preceding year, are due on April 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15.

Who do I contact with questions?

Call the Municipal and Property Division at (603) 230-5950 or write to the NH DRA, Municipal and Property Division, PO Box 487, Concord, NH 03302-0487.

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What is the us capital gains tax rate for 2016 -

What is it?

A state education property tax rate of total equalized valuation is assessed on all New Hampshire property owners. The tax is assessed and collected by local municipalities.

Who pays it?

Owners of New Hampshire property.

When is the tax due?

Property tax bills are issued by the municipality where the property is located on either an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis. Due dates vary based upon the issue date of the bill.

Who do I contact with questions?

Call Municipal and Property Division at (603) 230-5090 or write to the NH DRA, Municipal and Property Division, PO Box 487, Concord, NH 03302-0487.

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Timber Tax

Federal Income Tax Rates for Tax Year 2016

Not everyone is taxed at the same rate. The U.S. tax code is set up so that someone who earns $30,000 a year doesn't pay the same percentage of income on their top dollar as someone who earns $150,000. Income is divided into tax brackets, and a percentage rate applies to each bracket and the corresponding segment of income.

These percentage rates began at 10% in 2016 and gradually increased to 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and finally a top rate of 39.6%. The dollar thresholds for these tax brackets depended on your filing status.

The following tax rates and tax brackets applied only to tax year 2016. These bracket thresholds are adjusted periodically for inflation, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made additional—and somewhat significant—changes effective tax year 2018. As of 2021, the federal tax rates are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and the top rate has dropped to 37%.

The 2016 Tax Brackets 

The charts below show tax rates in the first column, followed by the beginning and ending income perimeters for each tax bracket. These dollar amounts apply to your taxable income—what's left over after you've taken the standard deduction or itemized your deductions and you've claimed any other tax breaks that you might be entitled to.

If you're a single individual and earned $90,000 in 2016, you'd fall into the 25% tax bracket, but you wouldn't pay that rate on all your income. You'd actually pay only 10% on the portion of your income that fell between $0 and $9,275, and you'd pay 15% on the portion between $9,276 and $37,650. That 25% tax rate would apply only to the balance of your income.

These numbers have been rounded off to the nearest dollar for simplicity's sake.

Ordinary Tax Rates for Single Filing Status

FromUp toRateTaxTotal Tax
$0$9,275× 0.10$927$927
9,27637,650× 0.154,2565,183
37,65191,150× 0.2513,37518,558
91,151190,150× 0.2827,72046,278
190,151413,350× 0.3373,656119,934
413,351415,050× 0.35$595120,529
415,051--× 0.396

The tax and total tax in the final row would depend upon how much of your income fell into the 39.6% bracket—how much did you earn over $415,050?

Calculating Your Effective Tax Rate—an Example

If you're single and earned $100,000 in 2016, the effective tax rate math would work out like this:

  • The first $9,275 would be taxed at a rate of 10%, for a total of $927.
  • The next $27,825 of your income, that which falls between $9,276 and $37,650, would be multiplied by 15%, arriving at a tax of $4,256. 
  • The next $53,449 of your income, that which falls between $37,651 and $91,150, is taxed at 25%, for a tax of $13,375.
  • Finally, the balance of your income over $91,150 and up to your total income of $100,000 falls into the 28% bracket. Tax on this portion of your income—$8,850—works out to $2,478. 

Add each segment together to come up with a total tax liability of $21,036.

Ordinary Tax Rates for Head of Household Filing Status

FromUp toRateTaxTotal Tax
$0$13,250× 0.10$1,325$1,325
13,25150,400× 0.155,5726,897
50,401130,150× 0.2519,93726,834
130,151210,800× 0.2822,58249,416
210,801413,350× 0.3366,841116,257
413,351441,000× 0.359,677125,934
441,001--× 0.396

Ordinary Tax Rates for Married-Filing-Separately Filing Status

FromUp toRateTaxTotal Tax
$0$9,275× 0.10$927$927
9,27637,650× 0.154,2565,183
37,65175,950× 0.259,57514,758
75,951115,725× 0.2811,13725,895
115,726206,675× 0.3330,01355,908
206,676233,475× 0.359,38065,288
233,476--× 0.396

Ordinary Tax Rates for Married-Filing-Jointly and Qualifying Widow or Widower Status

FromUp toRateTaxTotal Tax
$0$18,550× 0.10$1,855 $1,855
18,55175,300× 0.158,51210,367
75,301151,900× 0.2519,15029,517
151,901231,450× 0.2822,274


231,451413,350× 0.3360,027111,818
413,351466,950× 0.3518,760130,578
466,951--× 0.396

Social Security and Medicare Tax Rates

Unfortunately, we don't just pay income tax on our earnings and income. These taxes also apply: 

  • Social Security tax is imposed at a rate of 12.4% on wages and on self-employment income up to the annual Social Security wage base, which was $118,500 in 2016. This wage base increases periodically to keep up with inflation. It's $142,800 in 2021 and will increase to $147,000 in 2022. Income beyond this threshold is not subject to the Social Security tax.
  • Medicare tax at a rate of 2.9% on wages and self-employment income. There is no wage base for Medicare.

These taxes apply to most earners, but most workers don't pay the entire tax themselves. Only self-employed workers must pay the full percentage of both taxes. Collectively, this is referred to as the "self-employment tax." Taxpayers employed by others pay only half these percentages, and their employers pay the other half.

The Additional Medicare Tax

Some high-income taxpayers pay an Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9%. The thresholds for which these liabilities kick in are:

  • $250,000 for those married filing jointly
  • $200,000 for single, head of household, and qualifying widow(er)s
  • $125,000 for married filing separately

The Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT

Some high-income taxpayers can use deductions and credits to significantly reduce their tax bills. That's why Congress introduced an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)—to help ensure that all Americans pay a minimum tax rate. In 2016, the AMT was set at 26% of income up to $186,300 ($93,150 if married filing separately). After that threshold, the AMT became 28%.

The Net Investment Income Tax

A tax of 3.8% applies to the lower of net investment income or modified adjusted gross income over the following thresholds:

  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) with a child: $250,000
  • Single or head of household: $200,000
  • Married filing separately: $125,000

Capital Gains Taxes 

Capital gains tax rates apply when you sell an asset for more than your tax basis in it. Your tax basis is what you paid for it plus any costs of sale or improvements you made. This profit is taxed at special rates.

The capital gains tax rates depend on whether your gains were short-term or long-term. Short-term gains apply when you owned the asset for just one year or less. They're taxed at ordinary income tax rates—your tax bracket rate for your other income.

Long-term gains apply to assets you held for more than a year. These profits and qualified dividends were taxed at the following rates in 2016:

  • 0% for income in the 10% or 15% marginal tax brackets
  • 15% for income in the 25%, 28%, 33% or 35% marginal tax brackets
  • 20% for income in the 39.6% marginal tax bracket
  • 25% on depreciation recapture
  • 28% on collectibles and qualified small business stock (small business stock must be held for five years to qualify for this rate—not just one)

IRS Publication 550 helps taxpayers calculate their liability from investment gains.

The TCJA gave long-term capital gains their own tax rates in 2018. These rates are no longer tied to your marginal tax bracket. They're now tied to their own income thresholds.

The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to them. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.


What is it?

For taxable periods ending before December 31, 2016, a 0.75% tax is assessed on the enterprise value tax base, which is the sum of all compensation paid or accrued, interest paid or accrued, and dividends paid by the business enterprise, after special adjustments and apportionment.

For taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 2016, the BET rate is reduced to 0.72%. For taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 2018, the BET rate is reduced to 0.675%. For taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 2019, the BET rate is reduced to .60%. For taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 2022, the BET rate is reduced to .55%.


BPT and BET Rates Chart

Who pays it?

Pursuant to RSA 77-E:5, I, the Commissioner of DRA biennially adjusts the BET filing thresholds for inflation, rounding to the nearest $1,000, using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, Northeast Region as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor using the amount published for the month of June in the year prior to the start of the tax year.

Business Enterprise Tax Historical Filing Thresholds
Tax Periods Beginning:Gross Receipts In Excess Of:OREnterprise Value Tax Base Greater Than:
On or after 1/1/2021$222,000OR$111,000
Tax Periods Ending:Gross Receipts In Excess Of:OREnterprise Value Tax Base Greater Than:
12/31/15 - 12/31/16$207,000OR$103,000
12/31/13 - 12/30/15$200,000OR$100,000
07/01/01 - 12/30/13$150,000OR$75,000
Prior to 7/1/2001$100,000OR$50,000

When is the return due?

For taxable periods beginning on or before December 31, 2015, corporate returns are due on the 15th day of the 3rd month following the end of the taxable period. Proprietorship, partnership and fiduciary returns are due on the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the taxable period. Non-profit returns are due on the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the taxable period.

For taxable periods beginning after December 31, 2015, partnership returns are due on the 15th day of the 3rd month following the end of the taxable period. Corporate, proprietorship, fiduciary and combined returns are due on the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the taxable period. Non-profit returns are due on the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the taxable period.

Do I have to make estimated payments?

Yes, for taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 2013, if your estimated tax liability exceeds $260. Four estimate payments are required, paid at 25% each on the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th and 12th month of the taxable period. 

For taxable periods ending before December 31, 2013, if your estimated tax liability exceeds $200, four estimate payments are required, paid at 25% each on the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th and 12th month of the taxable period.

How do I register my new business?

New businesses must register by writing to the NH Secretary of State's Office, Corporate Division, 107 N. Main Street, Concord, NH 03301-4989 or by calling (603) 271-3246.

Who do I contact with questions?

Call Taxpayer Services at (603) 230-5920 or write to the NH DRA at PO Box 637, Concord, NH 03302-0637.

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Business Profits Tax

Taxpayer Assistance - Overview of New Hampshire Taxes

It is the intent of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration that this publication be for general tax information purposes and, therefore, should not be construed to be a complete discussion of all aspects of these tax laws.  Since rates, percentages and other aspects of taxation change, it is recommended that any interested person review the Laws and Rules or inquire directly to this Department for current information pertinent to your situation.

Overview of New Hampshire Taxes  pdf file – Governor and Council presentation 1/23/2019


Business Enterprise Tax
RSA 84-A

What is it?

An Excavation Tax at the rate of $.02 per cubic yard of earth excavated is assessed upon the owner as defined in RSA 72-B:2, VIII.

If we are excavating on our own property and not selling our gravel commercially, are we subject to paying the gravel tax?

Incidental excavations as described under RSA 155-E:2-a, I, (a) & (b) which do not remove more than 1000 cubic yards of earth from the site are exempt from the excavation tax and filing the Notice of Intent to Excavate.  Excavation that removes more than 1000 cubic yards is taxable whether it is sold or given away.

Who do I contact with questions?

Call Municipal and Property Division at (603) 230-5950 or write to the NH DRA, Municipal and Property Division at PO Box 487, Concord, NH 03302-0487.

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Inheritance and Estate Tax

Capital gains tax in the United States

US Capital Gains Tax

This article is about Capital gains tax in the United States. For other countries, see Capital gains tax.

In the United States of America, individuals and corporations pay U.S. federal income tax on the net total of all their capital gains. The tax rate depends on both the investor's tax bracket and the amount of time the investment was held. Short-term capital gains are taxed at the investor's ordinary income tax rate and are defined as investments held for a year or less before being sold. Long-term capital gains, on dispositions of assets held for more than one year, are taxed at a lower rate.[1]

Current law[edit]

The United States taxes short-term capital gains at the same rate as it taxes ordinary income.

Long-term capital gains are taxed at lower rates shown in the table below. (Qualified dividends receive the same preference.)

Filing status and annual income - 2021 Long-term
capital gain
Single Married filing jointly or qualified widow(er) Married filing separately Head of household Trusts and estates
$0–$40,400$0–$80,800$0–$40,400$0–$54,100$0–$2,700 0%
$40,401–$445,850$80,801–$501,600$40,401–$250,800$54,101–$473,750$2,701–$13,250 15%
Over $445,850Over $501,600Over $250,800Over $473,750Over $13,250 20%

Separately, the tax on collectibles and certain small business stock is capped at 28%. The tax on unrecaptured Section 1250 gain — the portion of gains on depreciable real estate (structures used for business purposes) that has been or could have been claimed as depreciation — is capped at 25%.

The income amounts ("tax brackets") were reset by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for the 2018 tax year to equal the amount that would have been due under prior law.[2] They will be adjusted each year based on the Chained CPI measure of inflation. These income amounts are after deductions: There is another bracket, of income below that shown as $0 in the table, on which no tax is due. For 2021, this amount is at least the standard deduction, $12,550 for an individual return and $25,100 for a joint return, or more if the taxpayer has over that amount in itemized deductions.

Additional taxes[edit]

There may be taxes in addition to the tax rates shown in the above table.

  • Taxpayers earning income above certain thresholds ($200,000 for singles and heads of household, $250,000 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widowers with dependent children, and $125,000 for married couples filing separately) pay an additional 3.8% tax on all investment income. This tax is known as the net investment income tax.[3][4] Therefore, the top federal tax rate on long-term capital gains is 23.8%.
  • State and local taxes often apply to capital gains. In a state whose tax is stated as a percentage of the federal tax liability, the percentage is easy to calculate. Some states structure their taxes differently. In this case, the treatment of long-term and short-term gains does not necessarily correspond to the federal treatment.

Capital gains do not push ordinary income into a higher income bracket. The Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends Worksheet in the Form 1040 instructions specifies a calculation that treats both long-term capital gains and qualified dividends as though they were the last income received, then applies the preferential tax rate as shown in the above table.[5] Conversely, however, this means an increase in ordinary income will withdraw the 0% and 15% brackets for capital gains taxes.

Cost basis[edit]

The capital gain that is taxed is the excess of the sale price over the cost basis of the asset. The taxpayer reduces the sale price and increases the cost basis (reducing the capital gain on which tax is due) to reflect transaction costs such as brokerage fees, certain legal fees, and the transaction tax on sales.


In contrast, when a business is entitled to a depreciation deduction on an asset used in the business (such as for each year's wear on a piece of machinery), it reduces the cost basis of that asset by that amount, potentially to zero.[6] The reduction in basis occurs whether or not the business claims the depreciation.

If the business then sells the asset for a gain (that is, for more than its adjusted cost basis), this part of the gain is called depreciation recapture. When selling certain real estate, it may be treated as capital gain. When selling equipment, however, depreciation recapture is generally taxed as ordinary income, not capital gain. Further, when selling some kinds of assets, none of the gain qualifies as capital gain.

Other gains in the course of business[edit]

If a business develops and sells properties, gains are taxed as business income rather than investment income. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Byram v. United States (1983), set out criteria for making this decision and determining whether income qualifies for treatment as a capital gain.[7]

Inherited property[edit]

Under the stepped-up basis rule,[8] for an individual who inherits a capital asset, the cost basis is "stepped up" to its fair market value of the property at the time of the inheritance. When eventually sold, the capital gain or loss is only the difference in value from this stepped-up basis. Increase in value that occurred before the inheritance (such as during the life of the decedent) is never taxed.

Capital losses[edit]

If a taxpayer realizes both capital gains and capital losses in the same year, the losses offset (cancel out) the gains. The amount remaining after offsetting is the net gain or net loss used in the calculation of taxable gains.

For individuals, a net loss can be claimed as a tax deduction against ordinary income, up to $3,000 per year ($1,500 in the case of a married individual filing separately). Any remaining net loss can be carried over and applied against gains in future years. However, losses from the sale of personal property, including a residence, do not qualify for this treatment.[9]

Corporations with net losses of any size can re-file their tax forms for the previous three years and use the losses to offset gains reported in those years. This results in a refund of capital gains taxes paid previously. After the carryback, a corporation can carry any unused portion of the loss forward for five years to offset future gains.[10]

Return of capital[edit]

Corporations may declare that a payment to shareholders is a return of capital rather than a dividend. Dividends are taxable in the year that they are paid, while returns of capital work by decreasing the cost basis by the amount of the payment, and thus increasing the shareholder's eventual capital gain. Although most qualified dividends receive the same favorable tax treatment as long-term capital gains, the shareholder can defer taxation of a return of capital indefinitely by declining to sell the stock.


US Capital Gains Taxes history chart

From 1913 to 1921, capital gains were taxed at ordinary rates, initially up to a maximum rate of 7%.[11] The Revenue Act of 1921 allowed a tax rate of 12.5% gain for assets held at least two years.[11] From 1934 to 1941, taxpayers could exclude from taxation up to 70% of gains on assets held 1, 2, 5, and 10 years.[11] Beginning in 1942, taxpayers could exclude 50% of capital gains on assets held at least six months or elect a 25% alternative tax rate if their ordinary tax rate exceeded 50%.[11] From 1954 to 1967, the maximum capital gains tax rate was 25%.[12] Capital gains tax rates were significantly increased in the 1969 and 1976 Tax Reform Acts.[11] In 1978, Congress eliminated the minimum tax on excluded gains and increased the exclusion to 60%, reducing the maximum rate to 28%.[11] The 1981 tax rate reductions further reduced capital gains rates to a maximum of 20%.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 repealed the exclusion of long-term gains, raising the maximum rate to 28% (33% for taxpayers subject to phaseouts).[11] The 1990 and 1993 budget acts increased ordinary tax rates but re-established a lower rate of 28% for long-term gains, though effective tax rates sometimes exceeded 28% because of other tax provisions.[11] The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 reduced capital gains tax rates to 10% and 20% and created the exclusion for one's primary residence.[11] The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 reduced them further, to 8% and 18%, for assets held for five years or more. The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 reduced the rates to 5% and 15%, and extended the preferential treatment to qualified dividends.

The 15% tax rate was extended through 2010 as a result of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, then through 2012. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made qualified dividends a permanent part of the tax code but added a 20% rate on income in the new, highest tax bracket.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 caused the IRS to introduce Form 8949, and radically change Form 1099-B,[13] so that brokers would report not just the amounts of sales proceeds but also the amounts of purchases to the IRS, enabling the IRS to verify reported capital gains.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 exempted taxes on capital gains for angel and venture capital investors on small business stock investments if held for 5 years. It was a temporary measure but was extended through 2011 by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 as a jobs stimulus.[14][15]

In 2013, provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obama-care") took effect that imposed the Medicare tax of 3.8% (formerly a payroll tax) on capital gains of high-income taxpayers.

Summary of recent history[edit]

From 1998 through 2017, tax law keyed the tax rate for long-term capital gains to the taxpayer's tax bracket for ordinary income, and set forth a lower rate for the capital gains. (Short-term capital gains have been taxed at the same rate as ordinary income for this entire period.)[16] This approach was dropped by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, starting with tax year 2018.[2]

July 1998 – 20002001 – May 2003May 2003 – 20072008 – 20122013 – 2017
Ordinary income tax rate Long-term capital gains
tax rate
Ordinary income tax rate Long-term capital gains
tax rate**
Ordinary income tax rate Long-term capital gains
tax rate
Long-term capital gains
tax rate
Ordinary income tax rate Long-term capital gains
tax rate
15% 10%10%10%10%5%0%10%0%
28% 20%27%*20%25%15%15%25%15%
31% 20%30%*20%28%15%15%28%15%
36% 20%35%*20%33%15%15%33%15%***
39.6% 20%38.6%*20%35%15%15%35%15%***

* This rate was reduced one-half percentage point for 2001 and one-half percentage point for 2002 and beyond.
** There was a two percentage point reduction for capital gains from certain assets held for more than five years, resulting in 8% and 18% rates.
*** The gain may also be subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax.


Percent of personal income from capital gains and dividends for different income groups (2006).

Who pays it[edit]

Capital gains taxes are disproportionately paid by high-income households, since they are more likely to own assets that generate the taxable gains.[17] While this supports the argument that payers of capital gains taxes have more "ability to pay,"[18] it also means that the payers are especially able to defer or avoid the tax, as it only comes due if and when the owner sells the asset.

Low-income taxpayers who do not pay capital gains taxes directly may wind up paying them through changed prices as the actual payers pass through the cost of paying the tax. Another factor complicating the use of capital gains taxes to address income inequality is that capital gains are usually not recurring income. A taxpayer may be "high-income" in the single year in which he or she sells an asset or invention.[19]

Debate on tax rates is often partisan; the Republican Party tends to favor lower rates, whereas the Democratic Party tends to favor higher rates.[20]

Existence of the tax[edit]

The existence of the capital gains tax is controversial. In 1995, to support the Contract with America legislative program of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Stephen Moore and John Silvia wrote a study for the Cato Institute. In the study, they proposed halving of capital gains taxes, arguing that this move would "substantially raise tax collections and increase tax payments by the rich" and that it would increase economic growth and job creation. They wrote that the tax "is so economically inefficient...that the optimal economic policy...would be to abolish the tax entirely."[21] More recently, Moore has written that the capital gains tax constitutes double taxation. "First, most capital gains come from the sale of financial assets like stock. But publicly held companies have to pay corporate income tax....Capital gains is a second tax on that income when the stock is sold."[22]

Richard Epstein says that the capital-gains tax "slows down the shift in wealth from less to more productive uses" by imposing a cost on the decision to shift assets. He favors repeal or a rollover provision to defer the tax on gains that are reinvested.[23]

Preferential rate[edit]

The fact that the long-term capital gains rate is lower than the rate on ordinary income is regarded by the political left, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, as a "tax break" that excuses investors from paying their "fair share."[18][24] The tax benefit for a long-term capital gain is sometimes referred to as a "tax expenditure" that government could elect to stop spending.[25] By contrast, Republicans favor lowering the capital gain tax rate as an inducement to saving and investment. Also, the lower rate partly compensates for the fact that some capital gains are illusory and reflect nothing but inflation between the time the asset is bought and the time it is sold. Moore writes, "when inflation is high....the tax rate can even rise above 100 percent",[22] as when a taxpayer owes tax on a capital gain that does not result in any increase in real wealth.

Holding period[edit]

The one-year threshold between short-term and long-term capital gains is arbitrary and has changed over time. Short-term gains are disparaged as speculation and are perceived as self-interested, myopic, and destabilizing,[26] while long-term gains are characterized as investment, which supposedly reflects a more stable commitment that is in the nation's interest. Others call this a false dichotomy.[27] The holding period to qualify for favorable tax treatment has varied from six months to ten years (see History above). There was special treatment of assets held for five years during the Presidency of George W. Bush. In her 2016 Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton advocated holding periods of up to six years with a sliding scale of tax rates.[28]

Carried interest[edit]

Carried interest is the share of any profits that the general partners of private equity funds receive as compensation, despite not contributing any initial funds.[29] The manager may also receive compensation that is a percentage of the assets under management.[30] Tax law provides that when such managers take, as a fee, a portion of the gain realized in connection with the investments they manage, the manager's gain is afforded the same tax treatment as the client's gain. Thus, where the client realizes long-term capital gains, the manager's gain is a long-term capital gain—generally resulting in a lower tax rate for the manager than would be the case if the manager's income were not treated as a long-term capital gain. Under this treatment, the tax on a long-term gain does not depend on how investors and managers divide the gain.

This tax treatment is often called the "hedge-fund loophole",[31] even though it is private equity funds that benefit from the treatment; hedge funds usually do not have long-term gains.[32] It has been criticized as "indefensible" and a "gross unfairness",[33] because it taxes management services at a preferential rate intended for long-term gains. Warren Buffett has used the term "coddling the super rich".[34] One counterargument is that the preferential rate is warranted because a grant of carried interest is often deferred and contingent, making it less reliable than a regular salary.[35]

The 2017 tax reform established a three-year holding period for these fund managers to qualify for the long-term capital-gains preference.[36]


The capital gains tax raises money for government but penalizes investment (by reducing the final rate of return). Proposals to change the tax rate from the current rate are accompanied by predictions on how it will affect both results. For example, an increase of the tax rate would be more of a disincentive to invest in assets, but would seem to raise more money for government. However, the Laffer curve suggests that the revenue increase might not be linear and might even be a decrease, as Laffer's "economic effect" begins to outweigh the "arithmetic effect."[37] For example, a 10% rate increase (such as from 20% to 22%) might raise less than 10% additional tax revenue by inhibiting some transactions. Laffer postulated that a 100% tax rate results in no tax revenue.

Another economic effect that might make receipts differ from those predicted is that the United States competes for capital with other countries. A change in the capital gains rate could attract more foreign investment, or drive United States investors to invest abroad.[38]

Congress sometimes directs the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to estimate the effects of a bill to change the tax code. It is contentious on partisan grounds whether to direct the CBO to use dynamic scoring[39] (to include economic effects), or static scoring that does not consider the bill's effect on the incentives of taxpayers. After failing to enact the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014,[40] Republicans mandated dynamic scoring in a rule change at the start of 2015, to apply to the Fiscal Year 2016 and subsequent budgets.[41]

Measuring the effect on the economy[edit]

Supporters of cuts in capital gains tax rates may argue that the current rate is on the falling side of the Laffer curve (past a point of diminishing returns) — that it is so high that its disincentive effect is dominant, and thus that a rate cut would "pay for itself."[39] Opponents of cutting the capital gains tax rate argue the correlation between top tax rate and total economic growth is inconclusive.[42]

Mark LaRochelle wrote on the conservative website Human Events that cutting the capital gains rate increases employment. He presented a U.S. Treasury chart to assert that "in general, capital gains taxes and GDP have an inverse relationship: when the rate goes up, the economy goes down". He also cited statistical correlation based on tax rate changes during the presidencies of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan.[43]

Top tax rates on long-term capital gains and real economic growth (measured as the percentage change in real GDP) from 1950 to 2011. Burman found low correlation (0.12) between low capital gains taxes and economic growth.[44]

However, comparing capital gains tax rates and economic growth in America from 1950 to 2011, Brookings Institution economist Leonard Burman found "no statistically significant correlation between the two", even after using "lag times of five years." Burman's data are shown in the chart at right.[42][44]

Economist Thomas L. Hungerford of the liberal Economic Policy Institute found "little or even a negative" correlation between capital gains tax reduction and rates of saving and investment, writing: "Saving rates have fallen over the past 30 years while the capital gains tax rate has fallen from 28% in 1987 to 15% today .... This suggests that changing capital gains tax rates have had little effect on private saving".[17][45]

Factors that complicate measurement[edit]

Researchers usually use the top marginal tax rate to characterize policy as high-tax or low-tax. This figure measures the disincentive on the largest transactions per additional dollar of taxable income. However, this might not tell the complete story. The table Summary of recent history above shows that, although the marginal rate is higher now than at any time since 1998, there is also a substantial bracket on which the tax rate is 0%.

Another reason it is hard to prove correlation between the top capital gains rate and total economic output is that changes to the capital gains rate do not occur in isolation, but as part of a tax reform package. They may be accompanied by other measures to boost investment, and Congressional consensus to do so may derive from an economic shock, from which the economy may have been recovering independent of tax reform. A reform package may include increases and decreases in tax rates; the Tax Reform Act of 1986 increased the top capital gains rate, from 20% to 28%, as a compromise for reducing the top rate on ordinary income from 50% to 28%.[46][47]

Tax avoidance strategies[edit]

Further information: tax avoidance

Strategic losses[edit]

The ability to use capital losses to offset capital gains in the same year is discussed above. Toward the end of a tax year, some investors sell assets that are worth less than the investor paid for them to obtain this tax benefit.

A wash sale, in which the investor sells an asset and buys it (or a similar asset) right back, cannot be treated as a loss at all, although there are other potential tax benefits as consolation.[48]

In January, a new tax year begins; if stock prices increase, analysts may attribute the increase to an absence of such end-of-year selling and say there is a January effect. A Santa Claus rally is an increase in stock prices at the end of the year, perhaps in anticipation of a January effect.

Versus purchase[edit]

A taxpayer can designate that a sale of corporate stock corresponds to a specified purchase. For example, the taxpayer holding 500 shares may have bought 100 shares each on five occasions, probably at a different price each time. The individual lots of 100 shares are typically not held separate; even in the days of physical stock certificates, there was no indication which stock was bought when. If the taxpayer sells 100 shares, then by designating which of the five lots is being sold, the taxpayer will realize one of five different capital gains or losses. The taxpayer can maximize or minimize the gain depending on an overall strategy, such as generating losses to offset gains, or keeping the total in the range that is taxed at a lower rate or not at all.

To use this strategy, the taxpayer must specify at the time of a sale which lot is being sold (creating a "contemporaneous record"). This "versus purchase" sale is versus (against) a specified purchase. On brokerage websites, a "Lot Selector" may let the taxpayer specify the purchase to which a sell order corresponds.[49]


Section 121[50] lets an individual exclude from gross income up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple filing jointly) of gains on the sale of real property if the owner owned and used it as primary residence for two of the five years before the date of sale. The two years of residency do not have to be continuous. An individual may meet the ownership and use tests during different 2-year periods. A taxpayer can move and claim the primary-residence exclusion every two years if living in an area where home prices are rising rapidly.

The tests may be waived for military service, disability, partial residence, unforeseen events, and other reasons. Moving to shorten one's commute to a new job is not an unforeseen event.[51] Bankruptcy of an employer that induces a move to a different city is likely an unforeseen event, but the exclusion will be pro-rated if one has stayed in the home less than two years.[52]

The amount of this exclusion is not increased for home ownership beyond five years.[53] One is not able to deduct a loss on the sale of one's home.

The exclusion is calculated in a pro-rata manner, based on the number of years used as a residence and the number of years the house is rented-out.[54][55][56] For example, if a house is purchased, then rented-out for 4 years, then lived-in for 3 years, then sold, the owner is entitled to 3/7 of the exclusion.[57] This method of calculating the primary residence exclusion was implemented in 2008, aimed at eliminating a loophole where owners could rent out a house for many years, then move into it for two years and get the full exclusion.

Deferral strategies[edit]

Taxpayers can defer capital gains taxes to a future tax year using the following strategies:[58]

  • Section 1031 exchange—If a business sells property but uses the proceeds to buy similar property, it may be treated as a "like kind" exchange. Tax is not due based on the sale; instead, the cost basis of the original property is applied to the new property.[59][60]
  • Structured sales, such as the self-directed installment sale, are sales that use a third party, in the style of an annuity. They permit sellers to defer recognition of gains on the sale of a business or real estate to the tax year in which the proceeds are received.[61] Fees and complications should be weighed against the tax savings.[62]
  • Charitable trusts, set up to transfer assets to a charity upon death or after a term of years, normally avoid capital gains taxes on the appreciation of the assets, while allowing the original owner to benefit from the asset in the meantime.[63]
  • Opportunity Zone—Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, investors who reinvest gains into a designated low-income "opportunity zone" can defer paying capital gains tax until 2026, or as long as they hold the reinvestment, and can reduce or eliminate capital gain liability depending on the number of years they own it.[64]



In 2011, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13531 establishing the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (the "Simpson-Bowles Commission") to identify "policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run". The Commission's final report took the same approach as the 1986 reform: eliminate the preferential tax rate for long-term capital gains in exchange for a lower top rate on ordinary income.[65]

The tax change proposals made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform were never introduced. Republicans supported the proposed fiscal policy changes, yet Obama failed to garner support among fellow Democrats; During the 2012 election, presidential candidate Mitt Romney faulted Obama for "missing the bus" on his own Commission.[66]

In the 2016 campaign[edit]

Tax policy was a part of the 2016 presidential campaign, as candidates proposed changes to the tax code that affect the capital gains tax.

President Donald Trump's main proposed change to the capital gains tax was to repeal the 3.8% Medicare surtax that took effect in 2013. He also proposed to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would reduce tax liability for taxpayers with large incomes including capital gains. His maximum tax rate of 15% on businesses could result in lower capital gains taxes. However, as well as lowering tax rates on ordinary income, he would lower the dollar amounts for the remaining tax brackets, which would subject more individual capital gains to the top (20%) tax rate.[67] Other Republican candidates proposed to lower the capital gains tax (Ted Cruz proposed a 10% rate), or eliminate it entirely (such as Marco Rubio).[68]

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton proposed to increase the capital gains tax rate for high-income taxpayers by "creating several new, higher ordinary rates",[69] and proposed a sliding scale for long-term capital gains, based on the time the asset was owned, up to 6 years.[69] Gains on assets held from one to two years would be reclassified short-term[70] and taxed as ordinary income, at an effective rate of up to 43.4%, and long-term assets not held for a full 6 years would also be taxed at a higher rate.[71] Clinton also proposed to treat carried interest (see above) as ordinary income, increasing the tax on it, to impose a tax on "high-frequency" trading, and to take other steps.[72] Bernie Sanders proposed to treat many capital gains as ordinary income, and increase the Medicare surtax to 6%, resulting in a top effective rate of 60% on some capital gains.[69]

In the 115th Congress[edit]

The Republican Party introduced the American Health Care Act of 2017 (House Bill 1628), which would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA" or "Obamacare") to repeal the 3.8% tax on all investment income for high-income taxpayers[73] and the 2.5% "shared responsibility payment" ("individual mandate") for taxpayers who do not have an acceptable insurance policy, which applies to capital gains.[74] The House passed this bill but the Senate did not.

2017 tax reform

House Bill 1 (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017) was released on November 2, 2017 by Chairman Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee. Its treatment of capital gains was comparable to current law, but it roughly doubled the standard deduction, while dropping personal exemptions in favor of a larger child tax credit. President Trump advocated using the bill to also repeal the shared responsibility payment, but Rep. Brady believed doing so would complicate passage.[75] The House passed H.B. 1 on November 16.

The Senate version of H.B. 1 passed on December 2. It zeroed out the shared responsibility payment, but only beginning in 2019. Attempts to repeal "versus purchase" sales of stock (see above),[76] and to make it harder to exclude gains on the sale of one's personal residence, did not survive the conference committee.[77] Regarding "carried interest" (see above), the conference committee raised the holding period from one year to three to qualify for long-term capital-gains treatment.[36]

The tax bills were "scored" to ensure their cost in lower government revenue was small enough to qualify under the Senate's reconciliation procedure. The law required this to use dynamic scoring (see above), but Larry Kudlow claimed that the scoring underestimated economic incentives and inflow of capital from abroad.[78] To improve the scoring, changes to the personal income tax expired at the end of 2025.

Both houses of Congress passed H.B. 1 on December 20 and President Trump signed it into law on December 22.

"Phase two"

In March 2018, Trump appointed Kudlow the assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council, replacing Gary Cohn.[79] Kudlow supports indexing the cost basis of taxable investments to avoid taxing gains that are merely the result of inflation, and has suggested that the law lets Trump direct the IRS to do so without a vote of Congress.[80][81] The Treasury confirmed it was investigating the idea, but a lead Democrat said it would be “legally dubious” and meet with “stiff and vocal opposition”.[82] In August 2018, Trump said indexation of capital gains would be "very easy to do", though telling reporters the next day that it might be perceived as benefitting the wealthy.[83]

Trump and Kudlow both announced a "phase two" of tax reform, suggesting a new bill that included a lower capital gains rate.[84] However, prospects for a follow-on tax bill dimmed after the Democratic Party took the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections.[85]


  1. ^See subsection (h) of 26 U.S.C. § 1.
  2. ^ abcMatthew Frankel (2017-12-22). "Your Guide to Capital Gains Taxes in 2018". Motley Fool.
  3. ^"Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax". IRS. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  4. ^26 U.S.C. § 1411
  5. ^Dilip Sarwate (2014-03-12). "How are long-term capital gains taxed if the gain pushes income into a new tax bracket?". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  6. ^26 U.S.C. § 168
  7. ^Dodge, Joseph M.; Jr, J. Clifton Fleming; Peroni, Robert J. (2012-02-16). Federal Income Tax: Doctrine, Structure, and Policy: Text, Cases, Problems. LexisNexis. ISBN .
  8. ^26 U.S.C. § 1014
  9. ^See subsection (b) of 26 U.S.C. § 1212.
  10. ^See subsection (a) of 26 U.S.C. § 1212.
  11. ^ abcdefghiJoseph J. Cordes, Robert D. Ebel, and Jane G. Gravelle (ed). "Capital Gains Taxation entry from The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax PolicyProject". Retrieved 2007-10-03.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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  17. ^ abThomas L. Hungerford (2010-06-18). "The Economic Effects of Capital Gains Taxation"(PDF).
  18. ^ abSen. Bernie Sanders (2016). "Making the Wealthy, Wall Street, and Large Corporations Pay their Fair Share". Archived from the original on 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
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  22. ^ abStephen Moore (2015-08-02). "Five myths about capital gains taxes". Washington Times. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
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  29. ^Matthew Johnston. "Carried Interest: A Loophole in America's Tax Code". Investopedia.
  30. ^"Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options"(PDF). Congressional Budget Office. March 2011.
  31. ^"Kill the hedge fund tax break". USA Today. 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  32. ^Timothy Spangler, One Step Ahead: Private Equity and Hedge Funds After the Global Financial Crisis, page 93.
  33. ^Michael B. Marois; Cristina Alesci (2012-02-13). "Calpers's Dear Calls Private Equity Tax Break 'Indefensible'". Bloomberg.
  34. ^Buffett, Warren E. (2011-08-14). "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
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  36. ^ abStaff (2017-12-15). "Factbox: What's in the Republicans' final tax legislation". Reuters.
  37. ^Laffer, Arthur. "The Laffer Curve: Past, Present, and Future". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  38. ^Robert Wood (2015-03-25). "U.S. Capital Gain Rate Among World's Highest but President Obama Wants More". Forbes.
  39. ^ abJoseph Lawler (2015-03-16). "Can tax reform pay for itself?". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  40. ^"H.R.1872 - Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014". United States Congress. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
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  48. ^26 U.S.C. § 1091
  49. ^IRS Publication 551, Basis of Assets
  50. ^26 U.S.C. § 121
  51. ^Real Estate Notebook, Robert J. Bruss, August 20, 2006
  52. ^Bruss, Robert J. "Real Estate Mailbag". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
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  56. ^"New law's reduced homesale exclusion for nonqualified use will mean headaches for sellers years down the road". The Flores Group: Business & Tax Attorneys. 28 August 2008.
  57. ^,order%20to%20take%20advantage%20of%20the%20121%20exclusion.
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  59. ^Internal Revenue Code, section 1031, Exchange of Property held for Productive Use or Investment published February 2008
  60. ^IRS "Like Kind Exchanges Tax Tips"
  61. ^IRS Publication 537, Installment Sales
  62. ^"Deferral Games". Forbes. 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  63. ^Internal Revenue Code, section 4947(a)(1). 2014-04-18.
  64. ^Brezski, Jan. "Opportunity Zone Investment vs. 1031 Exchanges". Arixa Capital. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  65. ^Robert Bixby (2013-04-23). "Simpson-Bowles Plan Could Play Vital Role in Moving Towards Compromise". Concord Coalition. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  66. ^Amy Sherman (2012-10-11). "Obama says his plan made "some adjustments" to Simpson-Bowles". Politifact. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  67. ^Alan Cole (2015-09-29). "Details and Analysis of Donald Trump's Tax Plan". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  68. ^"Comparing the 2016 Presidential Tax Reform Proposals". Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  69. ^ abcRyan Ellis (2016-01-26). "Clinton And Sanders Propose Highest Capital Gains Tax Rate In History". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  70. ^Everett Rosenfeld (2015-09-24). "Hillary Clinton proposes sharp increase in short-term capital gains taxes". CNBC. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
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  72. ^Hillary Clinton. "Wall Street Reform". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  73. ^Laura Saunders (2017-07-14). "What the Senate's 3.8% Surtax Means for American Taxpayers". Wall Street Journal.
  74. ^Golstein, Amy; DeBonis, Mike; Snell, Kelsey (2017-03-06). "House Republicans release long-awaited plan to repeal and replace Obamacare". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  75. ^Sahil Kapur (2017-11-01). "Trump Calls for Using Tax Bill to Repeal Obamacare's Individual Mandate". Bloomberg.
  76. ^"Senate Tax Reform Bill Restricts Choice of Which Shares to Sell First". Tax Foundation. 2017-11-27.
  77. ^Joseph Lawler (2017-12-15). "Beer wins, bikers lose in final Republican tax bill". Washington Examiner.
  78. ^Larry Kudlow (2017-12-05). "I'd Vote for It - You Should, Too".
  79. ^Kevin Liptak and Dan Merica (2018-03-14). "Kudlow to become Trump's next top economic adviser". CNN. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  80. ^Jonathan Chait (2018-03-20). "Trump Economist Wants to Give Rich People Another Tax Break, Without a Vote in Congress". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
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  82. ^David Morgan (2018-07-31). "Capital gains tax cut idea puts pressure on Trump administration". Reuters.
  83. ^Brittany De Lea (2019-09-11). "Trump's capital gains tax change may still be on the table". Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  84. ^Toluse Olorunnipa (2018-03-14). "Americans May Get Permanent Tax Cut in 'Phase Two,' Kudlow Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
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Further reading[edit]

what is the us capital gains tax rate for 2016
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  1. Can anyone tell me that in the cast certificate , dm's sign is mandatory ? Or co's sign is sufficient ??

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