How Are Capital Gains Tax Rate Determined?


Quick Answer

As of January 2015, the current capital gains tax rate is available for reference on the Internal Revenue Service website. The rate varies over time due to changes in the tax code, but the IRS publishes the most current information.

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Full Answer

The profit from the sale of any asset held longer than one year is considered a long-term capital gain, according to efile.com. Profit from the sale of an asset held for one year or less is considered a short-term capital gain. It is taxed at a different rate than a long-term capital gain.

Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income at the effective tax rate, reports efile.com. As of the 2014 tax year, long-term capital gains are taxed at a rate of 15 percent with some exceptions. If the marginal tax rate is 10 or 15 percent, nothing is owed on capital gains. A capital gains tax rate of 20 percent applies to taxpayers with taxable income over $400,000 for single filers; $450,000 for spouses filing jointly or qualifying widows and widowers; $425,000 for head of household; and $225,000 for spouses filing separately. There are special situations, such as the sale of collectibles or real estate, which may be taxed at special rates per the tax code prevailing at the time, explains the IRS.

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