A 3.8 percent levy on certain investment income was included in healthcare legislation two years ago, and now misinformation about the tax’s application to home sales is being passed along over the Internet and e-mail, throwing some prospective home sellers into a panic. In actuality, very few owners will be affected by the new tax taking effect in 2013.
The tax will only be on investment income of upper income taxpayers. Included in the definition of investment income is capital gains from home sales above a certain amount and for households whose income is above a certain amount. This means individuals who make $200,000 a year or more, or married couples who earn at least $250,000 a year are affected. Additionally, the tax is only applied to home sales if the proceeds exceed $250,000 for an individual, or $500,000 for married couples. And there still are other income and tax particulars that are considered before the 3.8 percent tax is triggered.
The National Association of REALTORS® recommends that members become familiar with the tax, but avoid coaching their clients on the policy because the amount of tax will vary from individual to individual as the elements that comprise adjusted gross income differ from taxpayer to taxpayer. NAR has published a brochure on how the tax works, which is now available online.