Capital Gains Tax Rates

capital gains tax rates

Capital gains are the profit from the sale of an investment. If you sell a stock, bond, or ETF for more than you paid, you have realized a capital gain. Congratulations!

Long-term capital gains (LTCGs) are from the sale of an investment held longer than 1 year (an important milestone.) Along with qualified dividends, long-term capital gains have beneficial tax rates as low as 0%.

The following tables show the long-term capital gains tax rate that applies based on taxable income.

(Short-term capital gains, profits on the sale of an investment held 1 year or less, are taxed at ordinary income rates, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% or 37%. Details here.)

2021 Long-term Capital Gains Tax Rates

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Filing statusTaxable income (2021)
LTCG tax rate0%15%20%
Single$0 to $40,400$40,400 to $445,850$445,850+
Married filing separately$0 to $40,400$40,400 to $250,800$250,800
Married filing jointly$0 to $80,800$80,800 to $501,600$501,600+
Head of household$0 to $54,100$54,100 to $473,750$473,750+

2020 Long-term Capital Gains Tax Rates

Filing statusTaxable income (2020)
LTCG tax rate0%15%20%
Single$0 to $40,000$40,000 to $441,450$441,450+
Married filing separately$0 to $40,000$40,000 to $248,300$248,300
Married filing jointly$0 to $80,000$80,000 to $496,600$496,600+
Head of household$0 to $53,600$53,600 to $469,050$469,050+

2019 Long-term Capital Gains Tax Rates

Filing statusTaxable income (2019)
LTCG tax rate0%15%20%
Single$0 to $39,375$39,375 to $434,550$434,550+
Married filing separately$0 to $39,375$39,375 to $244,425$244,425+
Married filing jointly$0 to $78,750$78,750 to $488,850$488,850+
Head of household$0 to $52,750$52,750 to $461,700$461,700+

The capital gains tax rates above are marginal – for larger gains, some of your long-term capital gains could be taxed at 0% and another portion at 15% and 20%.

High-income taxpayers are also subject to a 3.8% NIIT (net investment income tax) on the lesser of:

  • the net investment income, or
  • the excess of modified adjusted gross income over the following threshold amounts:
    • $250,000 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
    • $125,000 for married filing separately
    • $200,000 in all other cases

IRS Data

2021 data (source, IRS pdf)

.03 Maximum Capital Gains Rate. For taxable years beginning in 2021, the Maximum Zero Rate Amount under § 1(h)(1)(B)(i) is $80,800 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse ($40,400 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return), $54,100 in the case of an individual who is a head of household (§ 2(b)), $40,400 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $2,700 in the case of an estate or trust.
The Maximum 15-percent Rate Amount under § 1(h)(1)(C)(ii)(l) is $501,600 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse ($250,800 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return), $473,750 in the case of an individual who is the head of a household (§ 2(b)), $445,850 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $13,250 in the case of an estate or trust.

2020 data (source, IRS pdf)

.03 Maximum Capital Gains Rate. For taxable years beginning in 2020, the Maximum Zero Rate Amount under § 1(h)(1)(B)(i) is $80,000 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse ($40,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return), $53,600 in the case of an individual who is a head of household (§ 2(b)), $40,000 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $2,650 in the case of an estate or trust.
The Maximum 15-percent Rate Amount under § 1(h)(1)(C)(ii)(l) is $496,600 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse ($248,300 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return), $469,050 in the case of an individual who is the head of a household (§ 2(b)), $441,450 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $13,150 in the case of an estate or trust.

2019 data (source, IRS pdf)

.03 Maximum Capital Gains Rate. For taxable years beginning in 2019, the Maximum Zero Rate Amount under § 1(h)(1)(B)(i) is $78,750 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse, $52,750 in the case of an individual who is a head of household (§ 2(b)), $39,375 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $2,650 in the case of an estate or trust.
The Maximum 15-percent Rate Amount under § 1(h)(C)(ii)(l) is $488,850 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse (1⁄2 such amount in the case of a married individual filing a separate return), $461,700 in the case of an individual who is the head of a household (§ 2(b)), $434,550 in the case of any other individual (other than an estate or trust), and $12,950 in the case of an estate or trust.

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