Prior to the TCJA, individual taxpayers faced three federal income tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends: 0%, 15% and 20%. The rate brackets were tied to the ordinary-income rate brackets.
Specifically, if the long-term capital gains and/or dividends fell within the 10% or 15% ordinary-income brackets, no federal income tax was owed. If they fell within the 25%, 28%, 33% or 35% ordinary-income brackets, they were taxed at 15%. And, if they fell within the maximum 39.6% ordinary-income bracket, they were taxed at the maximum 20% rate.
In addition, higher-income individuals with long-term capital gains and dividends were also hit with the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). So, many people actually paid 18.8% (15% + 3.8% for the NIIT) or 23.8% (20% + 3.8% for the NIIT) on their long-term capital gains and dividends.
The TCJA retains the 0%, 15% and 20% rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends for individual taxpayers. However, for 2018 through 2025, these rates have their own brackets that are not tied to the ordinary-income brackets. Here are the 2018 brackets for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends:
|Tax Rates||Single||Married Joint Filers||Head of Household|
|0%||$0 – $38,600||$0 – $77,200||$0 – $51,700|
|15%||$38,601 – $425,800||$77,201 – $479,000||$51,701 – $452,400|
|20%||$425,801 and up||$479,001 and up||$452,401 and up|
After 2018, these brackets will be indexed for inflation.
The new tax law also retains the 3.8% NIIT. So, for 2018 through 2025, the tax rates for higher-income people who recognize long-term capital gains and dividends will actually be 18.8% (15% + 3.8% for the NIIT) or 23.8% (20% + 3.8% for the NIIT).
Rates for Trusts and Estates
For 2018, the brackets for trusts and estates that collect long-term capital gains and qualified dividends are as follows:
|Tax Rate||Long-term capital gains and qualified dividends|
|0%||$0 – $2,600|
|15%||$2,601 – $12,700|
|20%||$12,701 and up|
For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA stipulates that these trust and estate rates and brackets are also used to calculate the so-called “kiddie tax” when it applies to long-term capital gains and qualified dividends collected by dependent children and young adults. The kiddie tax can potentially apply until the year that a dependent young adult turns age 24. (Under prior law, the kiddie tax was calculated using the marginal rates paid by the parents of affected children and young adults.)
In a nutshell, the new law keeps the same tax rates for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, but the rate brackets are no longer tied to the ordinary-income tax brackets for individuals. If you have questions or want more information about how long-term capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed under the TCJA, contact your tax advisor.
|Paying Taxes on Short-Term Capital Gains
As under prior law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) taxes short-term capital gains recognized by individual taxpayers at the regular ordinary-income rates. For 2018, the ordinary-income rates and brackets are as follows:
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