How the 3.8% Real Estate Tax for South Florida and the U.S. Really Works

South Florida home salesRecently, the National Association of REALTORS® released a helpful statement about how health care reform does and does not affect real estate taxes.

Evidently, rumors have been circulating for months that the law contains a 3.8 percent tax on real estate.

In fact, the NAR has said that the tax does not target real estate and will likely not affect most home sales. That’s because this tax will only affect high-income households who experience substantial financial gains after an asset sale (including a home sale).

The National Association of REALTORS® went on to say that the tax would likely only affect 2 to 3 percent of home sellers.

Dispelling Rumors on the Real Estate Tax

Here’s what else the National Association of REALTORS® wants you to know about health care reform and how it affect real estate taxes:

The tax will affect few home sellers because there are a lot of criteria that must be met first for the tax to apply

  • First, the home sale gain on the principal residence must be greater than the $250,000 to $500,000 capital gains exclusion that’s in effect today. Please note, this says gain and not sales amount. Thus, it’s a pretty substantial profit margin.
  • Second, those homes that do see a gain of more than $250,000 to $500,000 (specifically $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers) need only count the amount above the exclusion into the tax calculation. This would still only apply to high income households, which is defined by law as single people earning $200,000 a year. For joint filers, that figure is $250,000 a year.
  • Once that value is plugged in and if it’s seen as taxable, then the amount could be subject to a 3.8 percent tax.
  • Although the tax took effect in 2013, any impact on taxes would not happen until 2014 because the tax filer would do the calculation in 2014 for the 2013 tax year.
  • Finally, because this is not considered a tax on a real estate sale but rather on a capital gain, it would not be calculated at the time of closing. Rather it would be calculated at the time the individual files his or her taxes.

Of course, it’s important to check with a professional tax preparer about your specific situation but this is generally how the tax works.

Your Dedicated South Florida REALTOR®

Hopefully you now have some added clarity on what the health care reform tax on real estate does and doesn’t’ do.

For more information on this recent change as well as some perspective on how it may affect you as a South Florida home buyer or seller, make sure to contact me, Scott Patterson.

I will be more than happy to assist you with all of your South Florida real estate needs in such communities as:

  • Aventura, Florida
  • Hallandale, Florida
  • Sunny Isles, Florida
  • And others!

Until next time,

Scott

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