Avoiding Capital Gains Tax on Inherited Property

by Apr 12, 2023CGT

Inheriting property can be a blessing, but it can also lead to potential tax burdens. Capital gains tax (CGT) is the tax you pay on the increase in value of an asset when you sell it. Inherited property is not exempt from this tax, and the tax liability can be significant. However, there are strategies that can be implemented to avoid capital gains tax on inherited property.

Claim stepped-up basis

When an individual inherits property, they receive a stepped-up basis in the property. This means the property’s basis is adjusted to the fair market value on the date of the former owner’s death. The new basis is used to calculate any gains or losses when the property is sold, and this can potentially reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax.

Hold onto the property

If you choose not to sell the inherited property immediately, you can hold onto it and potentially take advantage of any appreciation in its value. As long as you continue to own the property, any increase in its value is unrealized and not subject to capital gains tax. If you decide to sell the property later, the stepped-up basis will lower your tax liability.

Make improvements to the property

Improvements made to the property can increase its value and potentially offset any capital gains tax liability on the sale. This is because the cost of those improvements can be added to the property’s basis, reducing the gain when the property is sold.

Convert the property to a rental property

By converting the inherited property into a rental property, you can claim depreciation on the property, which can offset any rental income and, potentially, reduce or eliminate the tax liability on the sale. When you sell the property, you can use the stepped-up basis to reduce any capital gains tax liability.

Use a charitable trust

By placing the inherited property into a charitable remainder trust, you can potentially avoid capital gains tax and provide a charitable contribution at the same time. The property is transferred to the trust and sold. The proceeds are used to fund the trust, which pays an annuity to the beneficiary for a specific period. At the end of the period, the remaining assets are donated to the designated charity.

Consider a 1031 exchange

If the inherited property is a rental property, you can consider a 1031 exchange. This allows you to defer the capital gains tax by reinvesting the proceeds from the sale of the property into a new property. This strategy can be used repeatedly, allowing you to defer taxes indefinitely.

In conclusion, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax liability on inherited property. Choosing the right strategy for your situation depends on various factors, such as your financial goals, tax situation, and the nature of the inherited property. It is always suggested to work with a professional tax advisor or attorney to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.

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