We get a lot of questions regarding what transactions are taxable and what which are not, especially in regards to sales of various items and at various prices.
Most of us know that when we sell capital assets like stocks and bonds, it creates a taxable event. There are special rules for these scenarios and many other common events; one of those common scenarios is having a garage sale.
When you sell any of your old household items, shouldn’t it make sense that the money you receive from the sale would also create a taxable event?
If you had followed the rules perfectly, you would have tracked your basis (original cost of each item) in all of these items that you’ve sold, so that you would know if you had a gain or loss on every item.
So do you get to deduct your losses? After all, surely you spent way more on these things than you ever would have sold them for!
Unfortunately, personal items do not qualify for a deduction against your other income when you sell them at a loss.
But that certainly will not stop the government from taking its cut when you sell personal items at a profit.
If you by some miracle are able to sell any of your old items at a profit, this does create a taxable event.
These items are considered personal-use property, so they are considered capital assets and any gains on them are to be reported on Schedule D (Capital Gains and Losses) as a capital gain.
If this is an event that does apply to you, make sure to consult the IRS publications for help. The taxable amount will be the sales price minus the original purchase price and minus any improvements made to the property.
This article is meant to be generalized guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. For help regarding your specific situation, please consult a local professional.