Apps like Robinhood make it easy for everyone to play the stock market. If you’re a retail investor who made money last year buying and selling stocks, you may owe capital gains tax when you file your tax return this year. If you lost money, you may be able to deduct that loss and reduce your income.
Here’s what you need to know about capital gains tax:
Capital Gains And Losses Defined
A capital gain or loss is the difference between your basis – the amount you paid for the asset – and the amount you receive when you sell an asset. All capital gains (or losses) must be reported on your tax return.
Losses Limited To $3,000
The GameStop stock saga will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most mystifying market events Wall Street has ever seen. Indeed, the markets have seen a massive influx of new retail investors into the space. But many of these investors have not previously participated in the market. As noted by CNBC:
There were 3.7 million downloads of Robinhood in January, according to app market intelligence firm SensorTower, even with the millennial-favored stock trading app’s unpopular decision to put trading restrictions on a handful of stocks during GameStop’s climb. After the GameStop drama in February, downloads are still tracking strongly with 1.8 million month-to-date.
The capital gains income of: nonresident alien students, scholars, and employees of foreign governments and international organizations may be taxed in a different way than the capital gains income of other nonresident aliens.
The following discussion assumes that the capital gains in question are not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
Most foreign students, foreign scholars, and alien employees of foreign governments and of international organizations in the United States are considered to be “exempt individuals.” That is, they are exempt for extended periods of time from counting days of presence in the United States for the purposes of determining whether they are resident aliens of the United States.
Thus, most foreign students, foreign scholars, and the alien employees of foreign governments and of international organizations in the United States remain nonresident aliens in the United States for extended periods of time.
A flat tax of 30 percent was imposed on U.S. source capital gains in the hands of nonresident alien individuals physically present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year. This 183-day rule bears no relation to the 183-day rule under the substantial presence test of IRC section 7701(b)(3).
According to the IRS:
To figure out the basis of property you receive as a gift, you must know three amounts:
If the FMV of the property at the time of the gift is less than the donor’s adjusted basis, your adjusted basis depends on whether you have a gain or loss when you dispose of the property.
Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme relief are being considered by a large number of companies at the moment as a way of raising funds but at the same time enabling investors to obtain attractive income tax and capital gains tax reliefs.
A number of cases have been heard before the First tier and Upper Tribunals that demonstrate how easy it is to fall foul of the complex provisions granting these reliefs. Moreover, there have been a number of changes to the legislation in recent years, and more changes have been announced that will have a significant impact on the operation of the relief.
Risk To Capital Condition Read More
For a unique group of foreign individuals (i.e., non-US citizens referred to in the tax world as “aliens”), living in the U.S. does not trigger “resident” status for tax purposes. These so-called “exempt” individuals include foreign students, foreign scholars, and alien employees of foreign governments and of international organizations in the United States. U.S. tax law considers this lucky bunch to be exempt from counting days of presence in the United States for the purposes of determining whether they are resident aliens of the United States. Read More
Prior to 2016, it was CRA’s administrative practice that the disposition of your principal residence was not reportable where the entire gain is exempt. There have been a few court cases where the administrative practice was not upheld because CRA Form T2091 was not filed.
On October 3, 2016 changes were announced to the computation of the available principal residence exemption. Changes were made to properties held by individuals and to properties held by trusts. Discussion below is limited to the changes affecting individuals. Changes to trust is more complex and may be addressed later.
Today, all owners face three significant headwinds that increase the difficulty of a successful business exit. One is our flat economy—today and for the foreseeable future. The second is the substantially higher tax bill that’s due upon the sale of a business. And last, but not least, is the long-term mediocre investment climate that depresses the amount of income owners can expect from their sale proceeds and other investments. Combined, these three headwinds wreak havoc on an owner’s ability to cross the finish line at all, let alone as they originally planned.
For the past few years, year-end tax planning has been challenging due to the lateness of action by Congress. This year is no different because of uncertainty over whether Congress will extend any of the many expired or expiring tax provisions. However, regardless of what Congress does later this year, solid tax savings can still be realized by taking advantage of tax breaks that are still on the books for 2015. For individuals and small businesses, these include:
• Capital Gains and Losses – You can employ several strategies to suit your particular tax circumstances. If your income is low this year and your tax bracket is 15% or lower, you can take advantage of the zero percent capital gains bracket benefit, resulting in no tax for part or all of your long-term gains. Others, affected by the market downturn earlier this year, should review their portfolio with an eye to offsetting gains Read More
• Keeping home improvement records
• Home gain exclusion amounts
• Records may be required to avoid tax
Many taxpayers don’t feel the need to keep home improvement records, thinking the potential gain will never exceed the amount of the exclusion for home gains ($250,000 or $500,000 if both filer and spouse qualify) if they meet the 2-out-of-5-year use and ownership tests. Here are some situations when having home improvement records could save taxes: Read More