Capital Gains Tax Rates
In the United States, individuals and corporations pay income tax on the net total of all their capital gains just as they do on other sorts of income. Capital gains are generally taxed at a preferential rate in comparison to ordinary income (26 U.S.C. §1(h)). This is intended to provide incentives for investors to make capital investments, to fund entrepreneurial activity, and to compensate for the effect of inflation and the corporate income tax. The amount an investor is taxed depends on both his or her tax bracket, and the amount of time the investment was held before being sold. Short-term capital gains are taxed at the investor's ordinary income tax rate, and are defined as investments held for a year or less before being sold. Long-term capital gains, which apply to assets held for more than one year, are taxed at a lower rate than short-term gains. In 2003, this rate was reduced to 15%, and to 5% for individuals in the lowest two income tax brackets. The reduced 15% tax rate on qualified dividends and long term capital gains, previously scheduled to expire in 2008, was extended through 2010 as a result of the Tax Reconciliation Act signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 17, 2006. This was extended through 2012 by President Barack Obama on Dec 17, 2010. As a result:
In 2008-2012, the tax rate on qualified dividends and long term capital gains is 0% for those in the 10% and 15% income tax brackets.
After 2012, dividends will be taxed at the taxpayer's ordinary income tax rate, regardless of his or her tax bracket.
After 2012, the long-term capital gains tax rate will be 20% (10% for taxpayers in the 15% tax bracket).
After 2012, the qualified five-year 18% capital gains rate (8% for taxpayers in the 15% tax bracket) will be reinstated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_gains_tax_in_the_United_States