How Will Selling My Stocks Affect My Taxes?

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Question: How Will Selling My Stocks Affect My Taxes?


Selling stocks will affect your income taxes. If you are going through a broker or financial adviser, he should be able to briefly explain the tax information for you, but it is still your responsibility to have the correct paperwork on hand. If you are using an online brokerage site, then you need to make sure that you keep all receipts for the purchase and the sales of the stocks.

You should plan now when you are selling stocks for your tax bill. 

Taxes on the Profit from the Sale

When you sell your stocks, you are taxed on the profit of the stocks. If you sell at a lost, you can claim a loss on your taxes. For this reason you need to keep a receipt of the purchase of the stocks. If your stocks have split, you take your purchase price, and divide it by the number of shares you have now to determine the value to be assigned to each individual stock. When you sell you subtract the purchase price from the sell price. The result is the number you report on your taxes.

Capital Gains Tax

If the number is positive, then you are reporting a capital gain. If you bought the stocks and then sold them within a year of the purchase date, then the amount is added to your regular income, and is taxed at the same rate as your income. However if it has been more than a year the amount is taxed at the capital gains rate, which is lower than most income tax rates.

If you can hold onto the stocks for a year, you can save a lot in taxes. It is possible to claim both long term and short-term gains in the same tax year.

Reporting a Capital Loss

If the number is negative, then you are reporting a capital loss. You can claim a capital loss on your taxes, as well. This is process has very specific guidelines that must be followed.

You should talk to an accountant about how to claim this, as well. You will still need the original receipt for the price that you purchased, and then the receipt of the sale to show how much you lost. You should do this even if you purchase them through stock options at your job.

Waiting a Year to Sale Lowers Your Tax Liability

If you are trying to lower the amount of taxes that you pay on your investment, it is best to wait a year before selling the stocks. This will lower your tax liability while allowing you to profit from your stocks. As you sell your stocks, it is important to set aside the additional money you will need to pay on your taxes for the year. You can simply set aside the amount determined by your tax rate. If it has been less then a year, then you will need to set aside the percentage that you are taxed based on your bracket. It  is important to remember that your tax bracket may go up based on this money. If it is a capital tax rate, set aside about fifteen percent to be safe.

Keep Careful Records of Your Stock Purchases

It is always important to keep records of your purchases of stocks so that you can correctly claim then on your taxes. This is the most important thing you can do.

Keep a copy of the original purchase, as well as the sale price of each of your stocks. Your accountant can help you determine how to file losses and gains in the best way possible. IF you only sale part of your stocks, you may still receive dividends. You will need to report any dividends you are paid on your taxes. The company should send you a 1099-DIV that you can use to file your taxes.

Seek Professional Help

If you are concerned about your tax situation and how much you will owe on your taxes, then you should consult an accountant. Your accountant can help you determine how much you should set aside from the sale of any stocks This will make it easier when it comes time to file your taxes.