The Basic Taxes Involved in a Sale of Real Estate Property

happy couple speaking with a realtor​​​​​​​
  • By Sell Tax Free
  • August 16, 2018
  • One of the aspects of real estate that many people find most confusing is what taxes are involved in a sale of a property, and it is easy to see why. While the exact taxes you will need to pay will depend on various factors including the state where you live and what part you play in the sale and purchase, there are some basic taxes that are involved in pretty much all real estate transactions.

    Taxes that the seller is responsible for

    If you are selling your home, the basic taxes that you will be responsible for include:


    Income tax (assuming the property is to be sold as an ordinary asset)

    The proceeds from the sale of your home should be included in your overall annual income under the IRS code ‘other income’, and this means that it is subject to 30% regular income tax or a graduated tax rate at a maximum of 32% if the seller is an individual. If you are a corporation, this will be charged at 2% minimum corporate income tax.


    Value added tax

    If you are engaged in the business of selling, developing, leasing or sub-leasing property then your sale will also be subject to 12% value added tax. However, certain value thresholds are applied meaning that some properties may be VAT exempt depending on their valuation. Those real estate sales that are exempt from VAT based on thresholds may still be subject to a 3% percentage tax.


    Capital gains tax

    The sale of a main residence is exempt from capital gains tax subject to certain rules and restrictions. However, if you own a vacation home or second property, you can expect to pay a tax of around 6% based on the highest value among the selling price, BIR zonal value and the assessed value by the city assessor or equivalent.


    Documentary stamp tax

    This is an additional tax levied on the paperwork side of a real estate transaction, including loan agreements, and papers, sale or transfer of an obligation etc. The amount of tax you will pay is 1.5% based on the highest value among the selling price, BIR zonal value and the assessed value by the city assessor or equivalent.


    If you are buying a home, you will be responsible for two taxes. These are:


    Transfer tax

    This relates to the taxes imposed on any mode of conveying the ownership of real estate from one part to another, whether it be through sale, donation, probate etc. The amount you will be liable for will depend on the location of the property and local rules and regulations.

    Is there any way I can avoid the taxes involved in the sale of a real estate property?

    Fortunately, yes! There is a way that you can sell sax free. A 1031 exchange is a completely legal IRS process that enables you to save between 30-40% in taxes on the profits from your sale. You must hire a 1031 accommodator and complete your sale within certain guidelines – and that is something that we can help you with. When you do a 1031 exchange you simply defer paying the tax that you would have paid on the profit for your current property, and this enables you to invest the sum into your new property purchase. Essentially it is like an interest-free loan from the government!



    If you would like to find out more about the taxes you may be charged on the sale of your property, and if you would like to learn more about 1031 exchange and deferring your real estate taxes, our team would be happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.