Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


3.8% Tax on Real Estate: National News

This one explains a very complicated new tax.  And sadly, it gives people like me no incentive whatsoever to downsize, or to move at all.  A lot of people are going to be scratching their heads trying to do their 2013 taxes!

If you'd like to leave a comment, hop over to Sharron's blog!

There is a 3.8% tax in the healthcare reform bill; however much of the information circulating on the Internet is grossly inaccurate – the tax is not a transfer tax, and it will not be imposed on all real estate transactions. The 3.8% tax will take effect beginning January 1, 2013.

The new tax will apply to high-income households and their “unearned” investment income, including capital gains, dividends, interest, and rents minus expenses. The tax could impact some real estate transactions, but with this tax being so complicated we cannot predict how it may or may not impact every buyer or seller. The new tax would apply only to households with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) above $200,000 for individuals, or $250,000 for couples filing a joint return.

The current capital gains tax law allows individuals to exclude up to $250,000 of profit from taxation, and $500,000 for married couples when selling a personal residence. The tax would only be imposed on the gain over the threshold amount. The 3.8% tax would apply to whichever amount is less an individual or married couple’s total investment income or the amount that their AGI exceeds the high-income threshold ($200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for married couples).

Are the net proceeds, on the sale of your personal residence going to exceed $250,000 of profit, as an individual or $500,000 as a married couple? Does your adjusted gross income exceed the high-income threshold of $200,000 if an individual, or $250,000 for a married couple? If yes to both, please seek advice from your Certified Public Accountant.


John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain).

The tax applies as follows:

AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000
Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000
Taxable Gain (added to AGI) $25,000 ($525,000 - $500,000)
New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000 ($350,000 - $250,000)
Lesser Amount(Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)
Tax Due: $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

If John and Mary had a gain of less than $500,000 on the sale if their residence, none of that gain would be subject to the 3.8% tax. Whether they paid the 3.8% tax would depend on the other components of their $325,000 AGI.

The Bridgers own a vacation home that they purchased for $275,000. They have never rented it to others. They sell it for $335,000. In the year of sale they also have earned income from other sources of $225,000.

The tax applies as follows:

Gain on Sale of Vacation Home $60,000 ($335,000 - $275,000)
Income from other sources $225,000
New AGI $285,000 ($60,000 + $225,000)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $35,000 ($285,000 - $250,000)
Capital Gain $60,000
Lesser Amount (Taxable) $35,000 (AGI Excess)
Tax Due $1,330 ($35,000 x 0.038)

Note: If the Bridgers rent the home for 14 or fewer days in the course of the year, the rental income is non-taxable and the results in the year of sale will be the same as shown above.

It is best to refer to your Certified Public Accountant for any tax advice, however if you are looking to buy or sell real estate in Northern Illinois, please contact The Sharron Kelley Team today!

The Northern and Northwest Suburbs of Illinois is a wonderful place to live. If you are looking to buy or sell a home contact Sharron Kelley your local Realtor out of the Buffalo Grove Coldwell Banker Office at 847-465-3638, or email me at You can also visit my website at for all of your real estate needs. Click here to search homes for FREE.

The Sharron Kelley Team

Comment balloon 0 commentsPatricia Kennedy • December 28 2012 09:41AM