Beneficial Tax Laws
American tax law offers a significant capital gains tax exemption that allows taxpaying homeowners to unlock home equity and end the spiraling cycle of “investing up.” First-time buyers enjoy expanded rules for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and 401(k) plans, rules that allow penalty-free withdrawals to purchase a home.
Every two years, married sellers of principal residences who file joint federal income tax returns are allowed a $500,000 exclusion ($250,000 for singles) from capital gains tax. For sales that took place after May 6, 2003, the maximum capital gains tax rates for profits above the exclusion dropped from 20% to 15% for higher income taxpayers, and from 10% to 5% for lower income taxpayers.
Homeowners can now consider several new options. People who find themselves at an empty-nester stage (no children at home) in a four or five bedroom home with a large equity have been able to unlock their equity dollars, using the income to help their children buy a first home, take a luxury cruise, remodel the house or purchase a second home for vacation or retirement.
Consult your tax advisor for advice regarding your particular circumstance.