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FROM MY DESK TO YOUR'S

How much tax do you pay when you sell a house in Hawaii?

When selling a house in Hawaii, several tax obligations may apply:

1. Federal Capital Gains Tax:

  • If you sell your home for more than you paid for it, the profit (or "capital gain") may be subject to federal capital gains tax. The tax rate can be 0%, 15%, or 20%, depending on your income level and filing status.

  • For primary residences, you may be eligible to exclude up to $250,000 of capital gains if you're single, or up to $500,000 if you're married and filing jointly, provided you meet certain criteria (e.g., having lived in the home for at least two of the last five years).

2. Hawaii State Capital Gains Tax:

  • Hawaii imposes a state capital gains tax at a rate of 7.25%. This applies to the gain from the sale of the property after accounting for allowable deductions and exclusions.

3. Hawaii Real Property Tax Act (HARPTA):

  • For non-resident sellers, HARPTA requires withholding 7.25% of the sale price at closing to ensure compliance with Hawaii tax laws. This is not an additional tax but a prepayment of the estimated state income tax on the gain from the sale. Non-residents can file a Hawaii state tax return to claim a refund if the actual tax owed is less than the amount withheld.

Example Calculation:

If you are a non-resident selling a house in Hawaii for $1,000,000, HARPTA would withhold 7.25% of the sale price, which amounts to $72,500. This withholding ensures that taxes are paid on any capital gain realized from the sale. The exact amount of tax due would be determined when you file your state tax return.

Key Considerations:

  • Primary Residence Exclusion: If the house being sold is your primary residence, and you meet the criteria, you may exclude a significant portion of the capital gains from federal taxes.

  • Non-Resident Withholding: Non-residents should be prepared for HARPTA withholding and consult with a tax professional to understand the process of filing for a refund if applicable.

  • Professional Advice: Tax laws can be complex and subject to change. Consulting with a tax professional or accountant is highly recommended to ensure you comply with all federal and state tax obligations and to optimize your tax situation.

Understanding these tax implications can help you better prepare for the financial aspects of selling your property in Hawaii.


Schedule a free consultation to get expert advice and navigate your tax obligations smoothly. Click the link to set an appointment: Schedule Your Consultation 🏡✨

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