If your taxable income without long-term gains is below $38,600 for singles or $77, 200 for married couples filing jointly, profits on the sales of assets owned over a year are tax-free until the gains push you above those thresholds. After that the gains will be taxed at 15%.
If part of the gain is taxed at 0% and the rest at 15%, claiming more deductions or making a deductible IRA contribution gives you two tax breaks: 1) claiming the deduction saves on income tax and 2) it allows more capital gains to be taxed at the 0% rate. However, taking more tax-free gains raises the adjusted gross income, which can cause more of your Social Security benefits to be taxable. In addition, your state income tax bill may jump, since many states tax gains as ordinary income.
Since there are many moving parts on the tax return, I strongly suggest that you work with a tax professional to help you with your own personal situation.
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