If you are a U.S. citizen who sells property located outside the United States, you must report all gains and losses from the sale of that property on your tax return unless it is exempt by U.S. law. This is true whether you reside inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form 1099 from the payer.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#TXMP3dcf94ce
This chapter discusses the tax consequences of selling or trading investment property. It explains the following.
- What a sale or trade is.
- Figuring gain or loss.
- Nontaxable trades.
- Related party transactions.
- Capital gains or losses.
- Capital assets and noncapital assets.
- Holding period.
- Rollover of gain from publicly traded securities.
Certain transfers of property are not discussed here. They are discussed in other IRS publications. These include the following.
- Sales of a main home, covered in chapter 15.
- Installment sales, covered in Publication 537, Installment Sales.
- Transactions involving business property, covered in Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets.
- Transfers of property at death, covered in Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.
- Dispositions of an interest in a passive activity, covered in Publication 925, Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules.
Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses (Including Capital Gains and Losses), provides a more detailed discussion about sales and trades of investment property. Publication 550 includes information about the rules covering nonbusiness bad debts, straddles, section 1256 contracts, puts and calls, commodity futures, short sales, and wash sales. It also discusses investment-related expenses.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#TXMP3f4ffaf5
You may want to see:
Publication 550 Investment Income and Expenses 564 Mutual Fund Distributions Form (and Instructions) Schedule D (Form 1040) : Capital Gains and Losses 8824 : Like-Kind Exchangestaxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172248
If you sold property such as stocks, bonds, or certain commodities through a broker during the year, you should receive, for each sale, a Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, or an equivalent statement from the broker. You should receive the statement by March 1 of the next year. It will show the gross proceeds from the sale. The IRS will also get a copy of Form 1099-B from the broker.
Use Form 1099-B (or an equivalent statement received from your broker) to complete Schedule D (Form 1040).taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172249
This section explains what is a sale or trade. It also explains certain transactions and events that are treated as sales or trades.
A sale is generally a transfer of property for money or a mortgage, note, or other promise to pay money.
A trade is a transfer of property for other property or services and may be taxed in the same way as a sale. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172250
Ordinarily, a transaction is not a trade when you voluntarily sell property for cash and immediately buy similar property to replace it. The sale and purchase are two separate transactions. But see Like-kind exchanges
under Nontaxable Trades
A redemption of stock is treated as a sale or trade and is subject to the capital gain or loss provisions unless the redemption is a dividend or other distribution on stock. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172253
Whether a redemption is treated as a sale, trade, dividend, or other distribution depends on the circumstances in each case. Both direct and indirect ownership of stock will be considered. The redemption is treated as a sale or trade of stock if:
- The redemption is not essentially equivalent to a dividend (see chapter 8),
- There is a substantially disproportionate redemption of stock,
- There is a complete redemption of all the stock of the corporation owned by the shareholder, or
- The redemption is a distribution in partial liquidation of a corporation.
A redemption or retirement of bonds or notes at their maturity is generally treated as a sale or trade.
In addition, a significant modification of a bond is treated as a trade of the original bond for a new bond. For details, see Regulations section 1.1001-3.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172256
A surrender of stock by a dominant shareholder who retains ownership of more than half of the corporation's voting shares is treated as a contribution to capital rather than as an immediate loss deductible from taxable income. The surrendering shareholder must reallocate his or her basis in the surrendered shares to the shares he or she retains. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172257
Stocks, stock rights, and bonds (other than those held for sale by a securities dealer) that became completely
worthless during the tax year are treated as though they were sold on the last day of the tax year. This affects whether your capital loss is long-term or short-term. See Holding Period
Worthless securities also include securities that you abandon after March 12, 2008. To abandon a security, you must permanently surrender and relinquish all rights in the security and receive no consideration in exchange for it. All the facts and circumstances determine whether the transaction is properly characterized as an abandonment or other type of transaction, such as an actual sale or exchange, contribution to capital, dividend, or gift.
If you are a cash basis taxpayer and make payments on a negotiable promissory note that you issued for stock that became worthless, you can deduct these payments as losses in the years you actually make the payments. Do not deduct them in the year the stock became worthless. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172259
Report worthless securities on Schedule D (Form 1040), line 1 or line 8, whichever applies. In columns (c) and (d), enter "Worthless." Enter the amount of your loss in parentheses in column (f).taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172260
If you do not claim a loss for a worthless security on your original return for the year it becomes worthless, you can file a claim for a credit or refund due to the loss. You must use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend your return for the year the security became worthless. You must file it within 7 years from the date your original return for that year had to be filed, or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. For more information about filing a claim, see Amended Returns and Claims for Refund
in chapter 1.
You figure gain or loss on a sale or trade of property by comparing the amount you realize with the adjusted basis of the property. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172263
If the amount you realize from a sale or trade is more than the adjusted basis of the property you transfer, the difference is a gain. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172264
If the adjusted basis of the property you transfer is more than the amount you realize, the difference is a loss. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172265
The adjusted basis of property is your original cost or other original basis properly adjusted (increased or decreased) for certain items. See chapter 13
for more information about determining the adjusted basis of property.
The amount you realize from a sale or trade of property is everything you receive for the property. This includes the money you receive plus the fair market value of any property or services you receive. If you received a note or other debt instrument for the property, see How To Figure Gain or Loss in chapter 4 of Publication 550 to figure the amount realized.
If you finance the buyer's purchase of your property and the debt instrument does not provide for adequate stated interest, the unstated interest that you must report as ordinary income will reduce the amount realized from the sale. For more information, see Publication 537.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172268
Fair market value is the price at which the property would change hands between a buyer and a seller, neither being forced to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172269
You trade A Company stock with an adjusted basis of $7,000 for B Company stock with a fair market value of $10,000, which is your amount realized. Your gain is $3,000 ($10,000 − $7,000).taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172270
A debt against the property, or against you, that is paid off as a part of the transaction, or that is assumed by the buyer, must be included in the amount realized. This is true even if neither you nor the buyer is personally liable for the debt. For example, if you sell or trade property that is subject to a nonrecourse loan, the amount you realize generally includes the full amount of the note assumed by the buyer even if the amount of the note is more than the fair market value of the property. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172271
You sell stock that you had pledged as security for a bank loan of $8,000. Your basis in the stock is $6,000. The buyer pays off your bank loan and pays you $20,000 in cash. The amount realized is $28,000 ($20,000 + $8,000). Your gain is $22,000 ($28,000 − $6,000).taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172272
If you trade property and cash for other property, the amount you realize is the fair market value of the property you receive. Determine your gain or loss by subtracting the cash you pay plus the adjusted basis of the property you trade in from the amount you realize. If the result is a positive number, it is a gain. If the result is a negative number, it is a loss. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172273
You may have to use a basis for figuring gain that is different from the basis used for figuring loss. In this case, you may have neither a gain nor a loss. See Basis Other Than Cost
in chapter 13.
This section discusses trades that generally do not result in a taxable gain or deductible loss. For more information on nontaxable trades, see chapter 1 of Publication 544. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172276
If you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, you do not pay tax on any gain or deduct any loss until you sell or dispose of the property you receive. To be nontaxable, a trade must meet all six of the following conditions.
- The property must be business or investment property. You must hold both the property you trade and the property you receive for productive use in your trade or business or for investment. Neither property may be property used for personal purposes, such as your home or family car.
- The property must not be held primarily for sale. The property you trade and the property you receive must not be property you sell to customers, such as merchandise.
- The property must not be stocks, bonds, notes, choses in action, certificates of trust or beneficial interest, or other securities or evidences of indebtedness or interest, including partnership interests. However, see Special rules for mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company stock, in chapter 4 of Publication 550 for an exception. Also, you can have a nontaxable trade of corporate stocks under a different rule, as discussed later.
- There must be a trade of like property. The trade of real estate for real estate, or personal property for similar personal property, is a trade of like property. The trade of an apartment house for a store building, or a panel truck for a pickup truck, is a trade of like property. The trade of a piece of machinery for a store building is not a trade of like property. Real property located in the United States and real property located outside the United States are not like property. Also, personal property used predominantly within the United States and personal property used predominantly outside the United States are not like property.
- The property to be received must be identified in writing within 45 days after the date you transfer the property given up in the trade.
- The property to be received must be received by the earlier of:
- The 180th day after the date on which you transfer the property given up in the trade, or
- The due date, including extensions, for your tax return for the year in which the transfer of the property given up occurs.
If you trade property with a related party in a like-kind exchange, a special rule may apply. See Related Party Transactions
, later in this chapter. Also, see chapter 1 of Publication 544 for more information on exchanges of business property and special rules for exchanges using qualified intermediaries or involving multiple properties.
If you receive money or unlike property in addition to like property, and the above six conditions are met, you have a partly nontaxable trade. You are taxed on any gain you realize, but only up to the amount of the money and the fair market value of the unlike property you receive. You cannot deduct a loss. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172280
If you give up unlike property in addition to the like property, you must recognize gain or loss on the unlike property you give up. The gain or loss is the difference between the adjusted basis of the unlike property and its fair market value. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172281
If conditions (1) – (6) are met, you have a nontaxable trade even if you pay money in addition to the like property. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172282taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172285
You must report the trade of like property on Form 8824. If you figure a recognized gain or loss on Form 8824, report it on Schedule D (Form 1040), or on Form 4797, Sales of Business Property, whichever applies.
For information on using Form 4797, see chapter 4 of Publication 544.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172286
The following trades of corporate stocks generally do not result in a taxable gain or a deductible loss.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172287
In some instances, a company will give you common stock for preferred stock, preferred stock for common stock, or stock in one corporation for stock in another corporation. If this is a result of a merger, recapitalization, transfer to a controlled corporation, bankruptcy, corporate division, corporate acquisition, or other corporate reorganization, you do not recognize gain or loss. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172288
You can exchange common stock for common stock or preferred stock for preferred stock in the same corporation without having a recognized gain or loss. This is true for a trade between two stockholders as well as a trade between a stockholder and the corporation. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172289
You generally will not have a recognized gain or loss if you convert bonds into stock or preferred stock into common stock of the same corporation according to a conversion privilege in the terms of the bond or the preferred stock certificate. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172290
If you transfer property to a corporation solely in exchange for stock in that corporation, and immediately after the trade you are in control of the corporation, you ordinarily will not recognize a gain or loss. This rule applies both to individuals and to groups who transfer property to a corporation. It does not apply if the corporation is an investment company.
For this purpose, to be in control of a corporation, you or your group of transferors must own, immediately after the exchange, at least 80% of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote and at least 80% of the outstanding shares of each class of nonvoting stock of the corporation.
If this provision applies to you, you may have to attach to your return a complete statement of all facts pertinent to the exchange. For details, see Regulations section 1.351-3.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172291
For more information on trades of stock, see Nontaxable Trades in chapter 4 of Publication 550.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172292
You will not have a recognized gain or loss if the insured or annuitant is the same under both contracts and you trade:
- A life insurance contract for another life insurance contract or for an endowment or annuity contract,
- An endowment contract for an annuity contract or for another endowment contract that provides for regular payments beginning at a date not later than the beginning date under the old contract, or
- An annuity contract for another annuity contract.
You also may not have to recognize gain or loss on an exchange of a portion of an annuity contract for another annuity contract. See Revenue Ruling 2003-76 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2003-33 and Revenue Procedure 2008-24 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2008-13. Revenue Ruling 2003-76 is available at www.irs.gov/irb/2003-33_IRB/ar11.html
. Revenue Procedure 2008-24 is available at www.irs.gov/irb/2008—13_IRB/ar13.html
Exchanges of contracts not included in this list, such as an annuity contract for an endowment contract, or an annuity or endowment contract for a life insurance contract, are taxable. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172293
If you received stock in exchange for your equity interest as a policyholder or an annuitant, you generally will not have a recognized gain or loss. See Demutualization of Life Insurance Companies in Publication 550.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172294
You can trade certain issues of U.S. Treasury obligations for other issues designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, with no gain or loss recognized on the trade. See the discussion in chapter 1 of Publication 550 for more information. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172295
Generally, no gain or loss is recognized on a transfer of property from an individual to (or in trust for the benefit of) a spouse, or if incident to a divorce, a former spouse. This nonrecognition rule does not apply in the following situations.
- The recipient spouse or former spouse is a nonresident alien.
- Property is transferred in trust. Gain must be recognized to the extent the amount of the liabilities assumed by the trust, plus any liabilities on the property, exceed the adjusted basis of the property.
For other situations, see Publication 550, chapter 4.
Any transfer of property to a spouse or former spouse on which gain or loss is not recognized is treated by the recipient as a gift and is not considered a sale or exchange. The recipient's basis in the property will be the same as the adjusted basis of the giver immediately before the transfer. This carryover basis rule applies whether the adjusted basis of the transferred property is less than, equal to, or greater than either its fair market value at the time of transfer or any consideration paid by the recipient. This rule applies for purposes of determining loss as well as gain. Any gain recognized on a transfer in trust increases the basis.
A transfer of property is incident to a divorce if the transfer occurs within 1 year after the date on which the marriage ends, or if the transfer is related to the ending of the marriage. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172296
Special rules apply to the sale or trade of property between related parties.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172297
Your gain from the sale or trade of property to a related party may be ordinary income, rather than capital gain, if the property can be depreciated by the party receiving it. See chapter 3 of Publication 544 for more information. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172298
Generally, if you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, no gain or loss is recognized. See Like-kind exchanges
earlier under Nontaxable Trades
This rule also applies to trades of property between related parties, defined next under Losses on sales or trades of property. However, if either you or the related party disposes of the like property within 2 years after the trade, you both must report any gain or loss not recognized on the original trade on your return filed for the year in which the later disposition occurs. See Publication 550, chapter 4 for exceptions.taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172300
You cannot deduct a loss on the sale or trade of property, other than a distribution in complete liquidation of a corporation, if the transaction is directly or indirectly between you and the following related parties.
- Members of your family. This includes only your brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.), and lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.).
- A partnership in which you directly or indirectly own more than 50% of the capital interest or the profits interest.
- A corporation in which you directly or indirectly own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock. (See Constructive ownership of stock, later.)
- A tax-exempt charitable or educational organization that is directly or indirectly controlled, in any manner or by any method, by you or by a member of your family, whether or not this control is legally enforceable.
In addition, a loss on the sale or trade of property is not deductible if the transaction is directly or indirectly between the following related parties.
- A grantor and fiduciary, or the fiduciary and beneficiary, of any trust.
- Fiduciaries of two different trusts, or the fiduciary and beneficiary of two different trusts, if the same person is the grantor of both trusts.
- A trust fiduciary and a corporation of which more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is directly or indirectly owned by or for the trust, or by or for the grantor of the trust.
- A corporation and a partnership if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of the corporation and more than 50% of the capital interest, or the profits interest, in the partnership.
- Two S corporations if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of each corporation.
- Two corporations, one of which is an S corporation, if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of each corporation.
- An executor and a beneficiary of an estate (except in the case of a sale or trade to satisfy a pecuniary bequest).
- Two corporations that are members of the same controlled group. (Under certain conditions, however, these losses are not disallowed but must be deferred.)
- Two partnerships if the same persons own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the capital interests or the profit interests in both partnerships.
If you sell or trade to a related party a number of blocks of stock or pieces of property in a lump sum, you must figure the gain or loss separately for each block of stock or piece of property. The gain on each item may be taxable. However, you cannot deduct the loss on any item. Also, you cannot reduce gains from the sales of any of these items by losses on the sales of any of the other items. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172303
You cannot deduct your loss on the sale of stock through your broker if, under a prearranged plan, a related party buys the same stock you had owned. This does not apply to a trade between related parties through an exchange that is purely coincidental and is not prearranged. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172304
In determining whether a person directly or indirectly owns any of the outstanding stock of a corporation, the following rules apply. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172305
Stock directly or indirectly owned by or for a corporation, partnership, estate, or trust is considered owned proportionately by or for its shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172306
An individual is considered to own the stock that is directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her family. Family includes only brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, ancestors, and lineal descendants. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172307
An individual owning, other than by applying rule 2, any stock in a corporation is considered to own the stock that is directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her partner. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172308
When applying rule 1, 2, or 3, stock constructively owned by a person under rule 1 is treated as actually owned by that person. But stock constructively owned by an individual under rule 2 or rule 3 is not treated as owned by that individual for again applying either rule 2 or rule 3 to make another person the constructive owner of the stock. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172309
If you sell or trade at a gain property that you acquired from a related party, you recognize the gain only to the extent it is more than the loss previously disallowed to the related party. This rule applies only if you are the original transferee and you acquired the property by purchase or exchange. This rule does not apply if the related party's loss was disallowed because of the wash sale rules described in chapter 4 of Publication 550 under Wash Sales.
If you sell or trade at a loss property that you acquired from a related party, you cannot recognize the loss that was not allowed to the related party. taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172310
Your brother sells you stock for $7,600. His cost basis is $10,000. Your brother cannot deduct the loss of $2,400. Later, you sell the same stock to an unrelated party for $10,500, realizing a gain of $2,900. Your reportable gain is $500 (the $2,900 gain minus the $2,400 loss not allowed to your brother).taxmap/pub17/p17-079.htm#en_us_publink1000172311
If, in Example 1, you sold the stock for $6,900 instead of $10,500, your recognized loss is only $700 (your $7,600 basis minus $6,900). You cannot deduct the loss that was not allowed to your brother.