Capital Gain Distributions
If you buy stock in a company and sell it later for a higher price, the money you make is called a capital gain. If you sell the stock after holding it for more than one year, it’s considered a long-term capital gain.
The same is true for mutual funds you invest in. Fund managers buy and sell stocks hoping to make a profit. If the fund holds a stock for more than one year and then sells it, the profit you make as an investor is usually paid out. The profit paid out is a capital gain distribution. This also applies to pay outs made by crediting your cash account.
For tax purposes, Form 1099-DIV, Box 2a reports your capital-gain distributions. You could also receive this on a similar statement from the mutual fund company. These distributions are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income. They’re treated as long-term gains, regardless of how long you actually owned shares in the mutual fund.
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The first step in how to calculate long-term capital gains tax is generally to find the difference between what you paid for your property and how much you sold it for —adjusting for commissions or fees. Depending on your income level, your capital gain will be taxed federally at either 0%, 15% or 20%.
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