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Capital Gains Exemption for Seniors: What You Need To Know

Capital gains taxes can be a confusing and intimidating topic, especially for seniors who may not be familiar with the ins and outs of taxation. For seniors, an exemption from capital gains tax can be a great way to save money on taxes and make the most of their investments. But do seniors have to pay capital gains?

In this article, we’ll discuss capital gains exemptions, how they work, and how senior citizens can reduce their capital gains taxes.

What is a Capital Gains Exemption?

A capital gains exemption is an exemption from capital gains taxes for certain investments. The exemption applies to investments held for at least one year, and the gains from those investments are not taxed. The exemption applies to both long-term and short-term gains, but the amount of the exemption varies depending on the type of investment and how long it has been held.

The capital gains tax over 65 is a tax that applies to taxable capital gains realized by individuals over the age of 65. The tax rate is 0% for long-term capital gains on assets held for more than one year and 15% for short-term capital gains on assets held for less than one year. However, these tax rates may vary depending on the individual’s filing status and income level.

How Does it Work for Seniors?

For seniors, the capital gains exemption works slightly differently. Since seniors are often on a fixed income and may not have the same ability to invest as younger people, the government has created special exemptions to help them save on capital gains taxes. For example, senior citizens can choose to defer their capital gains taxes until they sell the investment or until they pass away, at which point their heirs would be able to take advantage of the exemption.

Moreover, people over 65 should manage capital gains tax to delay selling any stocks or assets they own until they are in a lower tax bracket. If someone is in the 25% tax bracket, they can wait until they turn 65 and move into a lower 15% tax bracket to reduce their capital gains tax burden. Additionally, they can take advantage of the step-up in basis rule when inheriting assets, which allows them to pass on assets to their heirs with a lower tax burden.

How Can Seniors Reduce Their Capital Gains Taxes?

There are several ways that seniors can reduce their capital gains taxes.

  1. Invest in a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): A QCD is made directly from an IRA to a qualified charity. QCDs are tax-free up to the generous gift amount and count towards satisfying the required minimum distribution.
  2. Use the Capital Loss Carryover: If you have selling losses in the current year, you can use them to offset capital gains and reduce the tax burden.
  3. Utilize Tax-Advantaged Accounts: Tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, Charitable Remainder Trusts, or IRAs, can help seniors reduce their capital gains taxes. Money invested in these accounts grows tax-free, and withdrawals are not taxed until they are taken out in retirement.
  4. Take Advantage of Tax Breaks: Many states offer tax breaks for seniors, such as property tax exemptions or credits for income taxes. Taking advantage of these breaks can help reduce the amount of capital gains taxes owed.
  5. Take the Standard Deduction: The standard deduction is a set amount used to reduce a taxpayer’s taxable income. The amount of the removal varies depending on the taxpayer’s filing status. Seniors can reduce their capital gains taxes by taking the standard deduction when filing their taxes.
  6. Sell Assets in Installments: Selling assets in installments can help seniors spread the tax liability over multiple years, reducing the overall tax burden.
  7. Invest in Muni-Bonds: Municipal bonds are debt securities issued by local governments to raise money for public projects. Interest earned on muni bonds is exempt from federal taxation, making them an excellent way for seniors to reduce their capital gains taxes.

At what age do you no longer have to pay capital gains tax?

The age at which you no longer have to pay capital gains tax varies by country. In the United States, you are exempt from paying capital gains tax if you are over the age of 59 ½.


Capital gains taxes can be a confusing and intimidating topic, but for seniors, an exemption from capital gains tax can be a great way to save money on taxes and make the most of their investments. By investing in tax-advantaged accounts, diversifying their investments, and taking advantage of the capital gains exemption, seniors can reduce their capital gains taxes and make the most of their assets.

Want to learn more about these tax-exempted accounts to grow your capital gains tax-free? Check out our article on how CRTs compare to IRAs and why they might benefit you in these types of situations. Or if you have any questions, please reach out to our team to schedule a meeting.

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