I continue to be amazed at all the stuff people make up and circulate over the Internet as fact and statistic. I never knew so many people were perverse and devious. Isn’t it amazing how some people will believe anything and circulate it without checking on its truth? A friend asked me about a new one the other day.
Knowing I am involved in real estate, he wrote to ask about something a friend had told him, that there was to be a new 13.5% tax is starting in 2013 on all real estate transactions in the US. I had not heard of anything this preposterous.
This sounded like an urban legend (something made up for fun or subterfuge to mislead). I did some research from several angles to see what I could uncover about this.
I cannot find anything on this and have not heard anything previously about it. There has been no bill passed I can find anything on that institutes a real estate sales tax to support part of the new medical care program.
It sounds like a variation of an earlier confused email circulating a few months ago, but the figure usually mentioned was 3.8%.
There was a provision passed that defines a new Medicare support tax at the rate of 3.8% on capital gains. This apparently would apply to any real estate transactions which qualified for a capital gains profit, but this would basically exclude all family residences, since it is based on profit due to gain in value.
The existing capital gains exclusion for personal homes is $250,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a couple. This might leave 3% of homes that might be affected IF the dollar sale price yielded an actual profit after the purchase and expenses. The median price of family residences in the whole US was $154,700 as of January 2012. So the Medicare tax would not affect homeowner families except those who make a substantial profit on the sale of their home above the $500,000 mark.
The tax is on capital gains, so the hardest-hit segment would be traders of stocks and bonds, or perhaps commercial real estate transactions. But most of such transactions I hear about these days produce a capital gains loss, not a gain.
I am always on the lookout for news about legal and financial market trends affecting real estate. I am open to information about real sources and news of import in that regard.
Comment added 6 September 2012. More on this topic in another source: