A capital gain is a profit made when you as an individual or business sell a capital asset — investments or real estate, for instance — for a higher cost than its purchase price. A capital loss is incurred when there's a decrease in the capital asset value compared with its purchase price. Almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset: a home, personal-use items like furnishings, and collectibles.
You may be trying to get your brain around how to figure out basis of property that you receive as a gift. Here's what you have to consider:
First, let's start with what "basis" means. Your basis is usually what you paid for an asset. According to the IRS, a capital gain or loss is the difference between your basis and the amount you get when you sell an asset. So, if you sell an asset that is worth more than you paid for it, you will have to pay taxes on the gain.
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