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Capital Gains Tax Calculator

Calculators Investments Taxes

If you sell stocks, Bitcoin or a large asset, such as a car or boat, for a profit, you may be on the hook to pay capital gains taxes on that income.  Capital gains are broken into two categories based on the timing of their sale date. Short-term capital gains are assets sold less than a year from purchase. Long-term capital gains are assets sold more than a year from purchase.

capital gains tax graph seen in a tablet

Use TaxAct’s capital gains tax calculator to estimate your potential capital gains taxes for the tax year.

Capital Gains Tax Calculator Instructions

Part 1: Enter your personal details

Step 1: Select the tax year in which you sold the item(s).
Step 2: Select your tax filing status.
Step 3: Enter your taxable income excluding profits from asset sales.  For most people, that is the same as your adjusted gross income (AGI).
Step 4: Enter your state’s tax rate.

Part 2: Detail each asset sale within the tax year

Step 1: Enter the purchase date and purchase price of the specific item.  The purchase date can be any time up to December 31st of the tax year selected.
Step 2: Enter the sale date and sale price of the same item.  Make sure the sale date is within the tax year selected.
Step 3: Repeat for all asset sales within the tax year selected.

Capital Gains Tax Calculator

Frequently Asked Questions about Capital Gains

What are capital assets?

Any asset you own could be considered a capital asset.  That includes your primary residence, cars, stocks, or bonds.  There are some exceptions and exclusions such as home sales.  Couples that sell a home are excluded from paying capital gains tax on up to $500,000 in profit. Individuals can exclude up to $250,000.

What are capital gains?

When you sell an asset for a profit, that profit is generally defined as a capital gain.  Conversely, selling an asset for a loss is known as a capital loss.

What is the difference between short-term and long-term capital gains?

As briefly mentioned above, the difference between a short-term and long-term capital gain is the amount of time between the purchase and the sale dates. Another way to look at it is the amount of time the asset was held by the owner.

Short-term capital gains include the profits on any assets sold one year or less from the original purchase date. Long-term capital gains are derived from the profits of assets or investments sold beyond one year of the original purchase date.

What happens if you have a mix of capital gains and capital losses?

When calculating capital gains taxes, you should first evaluate all short term and long term transactions separately.  For transactions within a given tax year, here’s a simplified version of how to start:

  1.  Sum all long-term gains and subtract all long-term capital losses.
  2.  Sum all short-term gains, subtract all short-term capital losses.
  3. If both long-term and short-term capital gains are positive, evaluate each separately against relevant tax rates.
  4. If both long-term and short-term capital gains are negative, your capital gains tax is zero.
  5. If the sum of total your long-term and short-term gains is zero, your capital gains tax is zero.
  6. If one of your long-term or short-term gains is positive while the other is negative, subtract the negative from the positive. Next, evaluate the capital gains tax on the remaining amount.

For example, if your long-term gains are $1,000, and your short-term losses are -$500, you should subtract the loss from the long-term profit. Then, you can calculate the long-term capital gains tax on the remaining $500.

Capital Gains Tax Tables

Like income tax brackets, capital gains tax brackets can be confusing and easily misunderstood.  And, under tax reform that went into effect in 2018, they were significantly adjusted in the past few years.  Refer to the tables below to estimate your capital gains taxes.

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