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How To Calculate Capital Gains On Rental Property
2023-06-01

Rental properties can be a valuable investment,providing both rental income and the potential for capital appreciation.However,when it comes time to sell a rental property,it's important to understand how capital gains taxes are calculated.We will provide a comprehensive guide to help you calculate capital gains on rental property,including key concepts,considerations,and step-by-step calculations.

Understanding Capital Gains and Basis

Before diving into the calculation process,it's crucial to grasp the fundamental concepts of capital gains and basis:

a.Capital Gains:Capital gains are the profits realized from the sale of a capital asset,such as a rental property.It is calculated by subtracting the property's adjusted basis from the sale price.

b.Basis:The basis of a rental property is the original cost of acquiring the property,including purchase price,closing costs,and certain improvements or renovations.Over time,the basis may be adjusted to account for factors such as capital improvements and depreciation.

To calculate capital gains accurately,you must determine the property's adjusted basis.Consider the following factors:

a.Initial Purchase Price:Start with the purchase price of the property,including any additional costs incurred during the acquisition,such as closing costs and legal fees.

b.Capital Improvements:Include the cost of significant improvements or renovations made to the property during your ownership.These may include additions,upgrades,or major repairs that enhance the property's value or extend its useful life.

c.Depreciation:If you have claimed depreciation deductions on the property during the ownership period,subtract the accumulated depreciation from the basis.Depreciation is a tax deduction that accounts for the wear and tear or obsolescence of the property over time.

d.Other Adjustments:Consider any other adjustments that may impact the property's basis,such as casualty losses or insurance reimbursements related to the property.

Calculate the Property's Net Selling Price

The net selling price is the final sale price of the rental property after deducting selling expenses,such as real estate agent commissions,closing costs,and legal fees.This is the amount you will use to calculate capital gains.

Calculate the Capital Gain

Now that you have determined the adjusted basis and the net selling price,you can calculate the capital gain by subtracting the adjusted basis from the net selling price.If the net selling price is higher than the adjusted basis,you have a capital gain.

Consider Tax Rates and Holding Period

The tax rate applied to your capital gain depends on your tax bracket and the length of time you held the rental property:

a.Short-Term Capital Gains:If you owned the rental property for one year or less before selling,the capital gain is considered short-term.Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income,subject to your individual tax rate.

b.Long-Term Capital Gains:If you held the rental property for more than one year before selling,the capital gain is classified as long-term.Long-term capital gains are subject to different tax rates,typically lower than ordinary income tax rates.

Apply Applicable Exemptions and Deductions

In certain situations,you may be eligible for exemptions or deductions that can reduce your taxable capital gain:

a.Primary Residence Exemption:If the rental property was your primary residence for at least two out of the last five years before the sale,you may qualify for the primary residence exemption.This allows you to exclude a portion of the capital gain from taxation,subject to certain limitations.