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6 Things You Should Know About Capital Gains Tax

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6 Things You Should Know About Capital Gains Tax

What is the Capital Gains Tax?

One of the most talked about, and controversial taxes that investors must deal with is the capital gains tax. Depending on your level of education in investment types and financial law, you may or may not know what the capital gains tax is. The capital gains tax is something which affects almost every investment type, from mutual funds, collectibles, bonds, or options. Essentially, the capital gains tax is a tax on anything which provides capital gains. Capital gains are the profits from the sale of an item of non-inventory nature bought for an amount less than the transaction value.

Because capital gains taxes can apply to a wide variety of investments, it is important to take each of the major components of the tax, and see how accurately it will apply to you and your investments. Below, some of the most important and far-reaching facts and effects of the capital gains tax will be explained, so that it is no longer a mystery, but something which we can all understand.

How Can You Calculate Capital Gains?

When dealing with the capital gains tax, it is important to know exactly how the IRS is going to define what your capital gains are. There is an easy method of finding out what your capital gains are, and then you can see what percentage of tax on that amount. Subtracting the amount that you paid for investment from the sales price of the investment is Capital Gains. The price that you paid for the investment also includes any broker commissions.

The cost of the investment is calculated using one of the several methods. For those who purchased their own investment, you simply use what you paid for the investment. If you have inherited an investment, on the other hand, you must use the value of the investment as it was when the person who passed the investment onto you died. Finally, if the investment is like a gift from a third party, the cost of the investment is the cost that was paid by the third party. However, the caveat with all the gifts investments is that if the market value of the investment is lower now than it was when purchased, the lower value is used.
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Types of Capital Gains

When the IRS calculates capital gains, they sort capital gains into two categories – longer-term capital gains and short-term capital gains.

Long-term capital gains are any profits made on any and all investments held for a minimum of a year. They will have a different tax rate than short-term capital gains. For those investors who are in the 25% or higher tax bracket, you will be taxed at a rate of 15%. For those who are in the 39.9% tax bracket, your capital gains will be taxed at 20%.

Short term capital gains are any profit or gains made on investments which the investor held for less than a year. While long-term capital gains have fewer delineations within their tax bracket regarding how much tax the investors will face, short-term capital gains have more delineations. The exact percentage of tax depends on the tax bracket you belong. However, the IRS encourages long-term investment much more than short-term investing, due to its lower risks. As such, long-term capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than short-term capital gains.

Residential Real Estate Capital Gains Tax

When dealing with the capital gains tax regarding your residential home, you may find that you are exempt from the capital gains tax. If you have been in your home for at the minimum two years in a row, you may be able to exempt yourself from the tax. Your income must also fall into the income bracket of $250,000 for taxpayers who are filing on their own, and $500,000 for any married couples which will be filing their taxes jointly. If you do not find yourself exempt from this tax, the capital gains tax will be applied to any money which you make from the sale of your primary home.

How to Minimize Capital Gains Taxes

While taxes are inevitable, nobody wants to pay more taxes than they have to. Most people will want to find strategies which will help them decrease the overall amount that they will have to pay for their investments and capital gains. One of the most efficient ways in which you can limit and reduce a number of capital gains taxes that you will have to pay is to get rid of any investments that are costing you money in a year in which you have offsetting capital gains.

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‘Storm Area 51’ Event is a Joke, but the Military is Serious

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Storm Area 51 Event is a Joke but the Military is Serious

Key points:

  • Over 1 million jokingly pledge to storm Area 51 to expose the existence of aliens.
  • The U.S. Air Force publicly discourages anyone from participating.
  • The public continues to have a good laugh by creating memes.
  • The real history of Area 51 involved flight testing.

What is the Storm Area 51 Event?

Over one million people have jokingly pledged to storm Area 51 in the hopes of finding evidence of aliens.

Area 51 has long been associated with alien activity and is frequently referenced in pop culture as a secret government base that holds aliens or alien technology.

People are signing up through a Facebook event called Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.

However, the event is satirical and many “joining” the storm are simply having a good laugh online.

The details of the Facebook event state, “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets,” and concludes with “Let’s see them aliens.”

“Naruto running” is a reference to a Japanese anime, in which the main character runs with his arms straight back. Most of the discussion on the event page is likewise humorous.

The supposed plan is to gather a large group at the Alien Tourist center and “coordinate their entry,” with the nearest lodging being over 20 miles from Area 51’s runway.

The joke event will take place on Friday, September 20, 2019, between the local hours of 3 AM and 6 AM.

Their goal is to discover and expose the secrets of Area 51, which some speculate involves aliens.

The U.S. Air Force Responds to the Area 51 Event

Although the Facebook event is intended for humor, the U.S. Air Force publicly discouraged anyone from actually participating.

Laura McAndrews, a representative of the U.S. Air Force, told the Washington Post,

“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

On another occasion, a spokesman explained to NPR that “The U.S. Air Force is aware of the Facebook event encouraging people to ‘Storm Area 5’” and “Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged.”

With over 1 million people attending the event on Facebook, the U.S. government is now monitoring the situation.

The internet continues to joke about Area 51

The subject of Area 51 and the government’s response make for rich comedic content. The public has largely reacted by creating memes and videos online.

On Twitter, popular hashtags to follow are #Area51 and #Theycantstopallofus. Here’s a popular “training” video of attendees preparing for the event.

Even famous brands like Burger King are poking fun at the event.

With all the humor it’s unclear how many individuals will actually attend the Storm Area 51 event and what will happen.

There’s no discernible leadership or event coordination, but some have expressed genuine interest in going.

Connie West, co-owner of a local lodge, told NPR, “Yes, it sounds like a joke, but there apparently are some people who want to check out the joke.”

She goes on to explain that several people have called her to book rooms for September 19th and 20th.

But joke or not, the U.S. Air Force stands ready to defend Area 51.

The Real History of Area 51

In 2013, the CIA formally disclosed information about Area 51. In this document, the public learned that the U.S. Air Force acquired Area 51 in 1955 to flight test the U-2 spy plane.

The U.S. government admitted to being deeply secretive about Area 51, but not for the reason of extraterrestrials. Area 51 was a secret because the U.S. was developing a plane to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The government’s effort to keep Area 51 a secret fueled public speculations that aliens were involved.

Additionally, locals reported strange objects flying high in the air, which were likely the U-2 plane. This furthered suspicions of the existence of alien technology at Area 51.

Its actual purpose is to serve as a training ground for the United States Air Force. Historically, the Air Force has used Area 51 to flight test planes.

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Trump Team to Talk NAFTA This Week…

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https://thecapitalist.com/trump-team-talk-nafta-week/

Frame this Kodak moment; I agree with President Trump as he calls NAFTA the worst trade agreement in American history. We have been on this trajectory since 1961, and NAFTA was the foot on the gas of a car crashing through plate glass…

Trump now wants to fulfill one of his core campaign promises; to make better a deal for American workers. The Trump administration will begin to renegotiate NAFTA on Wednesday with counterparts from Mexico and Canada. The first round of talks are to kick off in Washington, D.C. hopefully, this goes better than his efforts to repeal and replace, well, you know…

Ignoring the past as prologue…

While every president likes to pretend that the jobs issue is the fault of the last administration, Trump blames NAFTA for millions of lost jobs and thousands of shuttered factories in America. Nonpartisan congressional research concluded in 2015that NAFTA didn’t cause a jobs exodus, although many other studies have concluded the exact opposite.

https://thecapitalist.com/trump-team-talk-nafta-week/About 14 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business advocacy group. But roughly 800,000 jobs were lost to Mexico between 1997 and 2013, to the Economic Policy Institute, a research group. Moreover, this study leaves out jobs lost to Chinese and Indonesian workers.

Trump even credited his tough talk on NAFTA with getting him to the White House. Trump supporters have reported that they voted for him in part to see him renegotiate better deals. Although, he never really said how on the campaign trail so it’s not clear exactly what Trump plans to do to get that “better deal.”

When U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer outlined the administration’s NAFTA objectives in July, he included a top goal which was to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, which last year hit $63 billion.

A spanking like last summer?

Last summer, when Candidate Trump went to Mexico, he looked like a chastised toddler standing next to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto when his “build the wall” rhetoric was at full tilt, only to be re-energized two hours later by his base at an Arizona rally. Could this be a repeat?

Trump’s ultimate aim is to increase the number of American factory jobs. One possible way to do that is to force companies to produce more parts in the United States. There is a key part of NAFTA known as “rules of origin.” It means a certain percentage of parts in a product, such as a car, must originate from North America.

For example, 62% of the parts in a car sold in Mexico, Canada or the United States must come from there. The Trump administration has hinted it could raise that percentage and that it plans to more strictly enforce the standards for rules of origin. However, trade experts caution that forcing more parts to be made in America could mean car prices go up.

https://thecapitalist.com/trump-team-talk-nafta-week/Trump’s team also runs the risk of contradicting the very trade deal Trump has bashed. Experts say his administration’s list of NAFTA objectives is nearly identical to key parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Trump withdrew from that deal before it became law, but not before making his opposition to it a center piece of his campaign, sounding more like Bernie Sanders…But U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says TPP’s sections on labor and environmental standards are a “starting point” for NAFTA negotiations with Mexico and Canada.

Trump promised Americans he would bring together the best negotiators to get a new deal. He appointed Ross, Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro to lead on trade policy. Meanwhile, Lighthizer tapped John Melle, a career USTR official who was not nominated by Trump, to lead the talks. Melle was on the original USTR staff in 1993 that helped get the deal across the finish line in Congress. NAFTA became law in 1994.

So much for the swamp and that sort of thing…Sleep tight.

 

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Penalty Reversed in ACA Battle

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In a bold move to look like your cool uncle who sadly still rocks the mullet, Donald Trump has removed the Obamacare tax penalty for not carrying insurance by way of executive order. This was probably one of the more hated parts of a plan that was not at all the single payer (or even public option) platform Obama ran on in 2008. Despite holding a majority for two years in both houses, the ACA was what we got stuck with.

What Exactly is ACA?

The GOP’s recent drubbing in the Senate was well earned; in their repeal/replace debacle, they had a “continuous coverage penalty.” I’m sure their mamas were proud; it increased premiums for people buying insurance, if they had no coverage for 63 consecutive days within the previous 12 months. In other words, losing your job or your provider bailed out of the ACA, meant that you’d be facing an increase, regardless of how long you were previously covered…So thankfully, their Ebenezer Scrooge bill went south, hard!

However, this is a double edged sword; while the tax penalty is gone, many are still under insured, or uninsured. This screams the question; since we had to buy insurance, under law, why weren’t carriers, who were paid subsidies by the government, not mandated to participate for pre-determined amounts of time? If business owners were mandated (over 50 employees) to provide benefits, why weren’t carriers mandated to stay in a plan that they made billions from?

That’s more than I have room for here. However, consider this; you have a break in your taxes but you still need coverage. Alternative methods include non-profit, reference based pricing organizations that can provide quality health care for as low as $100 a month. What is reference based pricing? Simply put, if I ask the Blues (Shield and Cross) if they ever find errors in billing, they’ll say, “NO!” Ask Medicaid if they find errors and their answer is always.

In reference based pricing, the carrier rides the provider like Zorro. I know of one case where a woman had an $80,000 knee surgery knocked down to $17,000 through Christian Healthcare Ministries. She had this plan while unemployed, covering her and her husband for $150 a month! Even after she got another job, she kept the plan because it cheaper than her employer paid health plan. A 20% deductible on $17,000 is less than on $80,000…

Watch this video from Fox News regarding the ACA reform:

There secular versions like Medical Cost Share. Companies have been using this for years and with these lower cost non-profits, available to self- employed and unemployed people, we don’t need no stinkin’ ACA…

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