Last updated on April 20th, 2024 at 06:22 am

Quick Answer

Most people won't have to pay capital gains on their house they sell! However, if you have a profit of more than $250K [500K for married couplesyou may not be able to claim the exemption.

Selling your home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

But before you start counting your profits, it’s important to understand how capital gains taxes may impact your sale.

In Texas, there are specific rules and regulations surrounding capital gains taxes on home sales that every homeowner should know.

The taxes you might owe should be taken into account when selling a home in Texas along with a number of other issues. 

Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, which is one of the greatest things about selling a house there; and makes the state a very desirable location

However, in some circumstances, you are still responsible for paying federal taxes. Let’s examine the taxes you might owe when you sell your Texas house in more detail.


What are Capital Gains

Understanding capital gains and the taxes associated with them is important when it comes to real estate taxes. If you are looking into capital gains, then you interested in your investments and the tax liability you are responsible for. 

When you sell a house for a profit of any type, you must pay these taxes

This rule applies to any asset you’ve owned for longer than a year and that you were able to sell for a profit, not only homes

Calculating this tax involves a simple equation: Selling Price – Cost Basis = Capital Gain.

The “selling price” is straightforward, but understanding the “cost basis” requires a bit more unpacking.

Think of it as the investment you originally made in the property, including the purchase price, closing costs, and any capital improvements you undertook.

Subtracting this cost basis from the selling price reveals the “capital gain,” the taxable portion.

People should be aware of two types of capital gains.

If you’ve owned the property for less than a year, short-term capital gains will be taxable on the selling of your home. 

The amount you would pay would be based upon your tax bracket. 

You will be responsible for paying income taxes at your standard tax rate. 

Long-term capital gains are another possibility, and they will be relevant if you owned the asset for more than a year. 

Rates on long-term capital gains are far lower and, depending on exemptions, seller income, and filing status, they may even be zero.

Is Your Capital Gains Tax Exempt

It’s likely that you won’t owe tax liabilities on the sale of your Texas house.

 In fact, due to exclusions incorporated into the tax legislation, many homeowners wind up without paying them.

 But how can you tell if you’re eligible?

It’s all about the purchase price.

The most potent shield against capital gains is the Home Sale Exclusion.

This magical provision allows single taxpayers to exclude up to $250,000 and married couples filing jointly to exclude up to $500,000 of profit from the sale of their primary residence. That’s a substantial buffer!

You will have to pay capital gains on the sale of the home!

In Texas, property buyers can avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of your home  But there are a few caveats

  • The home must be your primary residence.
  • The owner must have lived in the home for at least 730 days during the five-year period.
  • The last restriction is that you cannot have used this exemption on another property during the previous two years
  • You can only claim this exemption once every five years. 

If you don’t meet the primary residence requirement, you may still be able to exclude a portion of your capital gain from taxes by using the capital gains exclusion for home sellers.

If you satisfy those conditions, you probably won’t owe capital gains taxes on the sale of your Texas house if the proceeds are less than those sums. 

However, if your profits exceed those limits listed above, you will still be required to pay capital gains taxes on them. 

Of course, you will still need to pay tax to the IRS if you don’t meet all of these standards. The capital gains tax rate in Texas is currently 6.25%.

And if you wanted to know, the capital gains tax exemption is not applicable to rental properties or second homes.

Remember, navigating the intricacies of capital gains is best done with expert guidance.

Consult a qualified tax professional for a personalized assessment of your situation and maximize the relief available under Texas and federal laws.

Strategies to Minimize Capital Gains on Your Texas Home Sale

Selling your Texas home can be a bittersweet experience.

While it might be time to move on to new adventures, the prospect of capital gains taxes looming on the horizon can dampen the celebratory mood.

A toolbox of strategies exists to help you minimize your financial bite and maximize your profit. Let’s delve into some of the most effective tactics:

1. The Art of Timing: Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to capital gains taxes.

Holding onto your property for over a year qualifies you for long-term capital gains rates, significantly lower than ordinary income rates.

In Texas, these rates can be as low as 0% for certain income brackets, offering a substantial advantage. Consider delaying your sale if possible to reap the rewards of time.

2. The Magic of a 1031 Exchange: Feeling attached to the Texas real estate game? Fear not, a 1031 exchange allows you to defer capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds from your home sale into a “like-kind” property of equal or greater value.

Think of it as trading up without taking a tax hit. This strategy is ideal for investors looking to upgrade their portfolio or relocate while maintaining their tax advantage.

3. The Power of Installment Sales: Spreading out your gains can be a smart move.

An installment sale allows you to receive the sale price of your home in installments over time, instead of a lump sum.

This strategy defers capital gains taxes until you receive each payment, effectively lowering your annual tax burden and potentially pushing you into a lower tax bracket.

4. The Generosity Gambit: Sharing your wealth can also benefit your wallet. Donating a portion of your home sale profits to a qualified charity can be a tax-deductible move, reducing your taxable income and potentially offsetting some capital gains.

Remember, charity and tax benefits go hand-in-hand, creating a win-win situation.

5. The Professional Compass: Navigating the tax code can be tricky. Consulting a qualified tax professional is your best bet for maximizing your tax advantage and implementing these strategies effectively.

They can assess your specific situation, recommend the most suitable approach, and help you avoid any unintended tax consequences.


When Do I Have to Pay 

Remember, even if you qualify for the Home Sale Exclusion, some capital gains might still be taxable depending on your overall income and filing status. 

So, when the calendar chimes certain dates, it’s time to answer the call and file your tax return:

Federal Tax Return: April 15th (or October 15th with extension): This is the grand finale, the moment you reconcile your total income with any deductible expenses and exemptions, including your home sale gains/losses. Remember, any federal capital gains tax owed is reported and settled during this annual tax ritual.

Estimated Tax Payments (optional, but strategic): Proactive taxpayers can opt for quarterly estimated tax payments throughout the year to avoid a hefty lump sum on April 15th. Think of it as pre-paying your potential tax bill in digestible installments. If you anticipate owing at least $1,000 in federal taxes (including capital gains), this might be a wise financial move.

Penalties for Late Payment: Nobody likes late fees, and Uncle Sam is no exception. Late tax filings or payments incur penalties and interest, adding unnecessary stress to your financial situation. Filing on time or requesting an extension is key to avoiding these unwelcome charges.

Reporting Capital Gains Taxes on Your Texas Home Sale

Forms and Documents:

  • Form 1040: This is your main income tax return, where you’ll report all your income, including any capital gains from your home sale.
  • Schedule D: This schedule is attached to Form 1040 and specifically details your capital gains and losses. You’ll use it to calculate your taxable capital gain on your home sale.
  • Closing Statement: Your closing statement from the sale of your home will provide vital information like the sale price, purchase price, and any closing costs you incurred. This helps determine your cost basis and ultimately,your taxable gain.
  • Additional Documentation: Keep any paperwork related to home improvements you made, as these can increase your cost basis and further reduce your taxable gain.

Reporting Process:

  1. Identify Your Gain or Loss: Subtract your cost basis (purchase price + closing costs + improvements) from the sale price to determine your capital gain or loss.
  2. Determine Your Taxable Gain: If you held the property for more than a year, you’ll benefit from long-term capital gains rates, usually lower than ordinary income rates. For primary residences, the Home Sale Exclusion might further reduce or eliminate your taxable gain depending on your filing status and ownership/occupancy periods.
  3. Report on Schedule D: Fill out Schedule D, detailing your capital gain (or loss) from the home sale.
  4. Attach Schedule D to Form 1040: Include Schedule D with your completed Form 1040 when filing your tax return.

Additional Resources:

  • IRS Publication 544: This comprehensive guide from the IRS provides detailed information on reporting capital gains and losses, including on home sales.
  • IRS Website: The IRS website offers valuable resources like tax forms, filing instructions, and helpful FAQs on everything related to capital gains taxes.
  • Tax Professional: Seeking advice from a qualified tax professional is always recommended for personalized guidance and ensuring you maximize your tax advantage. 

Can I avoid capital gains tax by selling my home to a family member

Selling your home to a family member does not necessarily exempt you from paying capital gains tax.

  • The IRS has rules in place to prevent people from using this tactic to avoid taxes.
  • If the sale is not conducted at fair market value, the difference between the sale price and the fair market value will be treated as a gift and may be subject to gift taxes.
  • Additionally, if the buyer does not use the property as their primary residence or does not meet other qualifications, they may still be liable for capital gains tax when they sell the property in the future. It’s best to consult with a tax professional

Receive a Cash offer on your Property

Now that you know that the vast majority of sellers aren’t going to have to pay capital gains taxes in Texas, you still might want a fair cash offer for your property in any condition.

Other options would be to sell your house to a cash buyer like us and simply walk away without having to make any repairs or pay any closing costs. 

Investors will purchase your home in any condition and will pay for the home quickly after determining the value. 

Sellers won’t be responsible for any fees or additional commissions. 

This means you won’t have to pay commission to a realtor or list the property on the MLS.

We can write up an easy to read contract and get the buying process started.

And if a seller owes taxes on the investment property, we can help alleviate any outstanding issues you might have with the government. 

By working with a buyer (with experience), this might mean more money in your pocket

Frequently Asked Questions

Capital gains are defined as the profit realized from the sale of certain types of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. In order to be subject to capital gains taxes in Texas, you must have sold the asset for more than you paid for it.

A Texas resident is an individual who is domiciled in Texas, or an individual who is not domiciled in Texas but who maintains a permanent place of abode in Texas and spends more than 185 days of the year in the state.