How to Calculate Capital Gains Tax on Savings Withdrawals

by Matt McGew

A capital gain results from a situation where you sell an asset for a higher price than you purchased the asset for. Therefore, withdrawing certain types of savings may result in capital gains tax liability. Capital gains tax would not apply to a regular interest-generating savings account, but could apply to a savings account that includes stocks and other types of securities. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes long- and short-term capital gains, and your tax liability will depend on the length of time you held the asset.

1. Determine the capital gain on your savings. Subtract the sale price from the cost of the asset. For example, assume you paid $20,000 for the asset and sold it for $50,000. $50,000 - $20,000 = $30,000. This figure represents the capital gain on the asset, your savings in this example.

2. Determine the length of time you held the asset. For example, assume you held the asset for two years. The IRS defines a long-term asset as one you hold for more than one year.

3. Determine the capital gains tax rate. The IRS requires you to pay a 15-percent tax on long-term capital gains. On the other hand, the IRS classifies short-term capital gains as ordinary income subject to your regular rate of taxation. Continuing the same example, the capital gains tax rate for your savings is 15 percent.

4. Multiply the capital gain by the appropriate capital gains tax rate. Continuing the same example, $30,000 x 0.15 = $4,500. This figure represents the capital gains tax you would have to pay on your savings.

About the Author

Since 1992 Matt McGew has provided content for on and offline businesses and publications. Previous work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," Travelocity and "GQ Magazine." McGew specializes in search engine optimization and has a Master of Arts in journalism from New York University.