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What is a Recognized Gain?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A recognized gain is a profit someone experiences by selling an asset or investment for more than the original purchase price. People must report recognized gains on their taxes and certain types of gains are taxable, with the tax rate varying, depending on the specifics of the transaction. The tax liability can be offset if a person took a loss in another area of the business.

When someone makes a gain from a sale, it may be a tax deferred or tax exempt sale depending on the nature of the property being sold and how long the person has owned the property. If the person must pay taxes on the recognized gain, there are different types of taxes that may apply. It is important to consult an accountant to find out about the tax liability associated with the transaction and to determine how taxes may apply to the situation.

There are certain circumstances where people can put off reporting a recognized gain for one year. One example of such a circumstance is a so-called “drought sale,” where a person has to sell livestock or crops because of environmental pressures such as drought or flooding, or because of outbreaks of disease. In these cases, even if the person makes a gain from the sale and the gain outweighs the losses, the recognized gain can be declared on tax paperwork in the following year to defer the tax liability.

The tax code provides detailed breakdowns of different types of recognized gains and how they are handled for tax purposes. Representatives of tax agencies can answer simple questions from taxpayers who need assistance and provide references to areas of the tax code that people will need to consult in order to find detailed discussions on particular tax matters. Taxpayers should be aware that because the tax code periodically changes, it is not advisable to assume that a recognized gain can be handled in the same way as a similar gain in a previous year. Researching matters ahead of time can pay off by reducing the risk of filing an erroneous tax return.

Taxes can become very complex, especially when people are balancing multiple types of transactions associated with running a business or managing personal finances. Recognized gains must be reported to tax authorities, but the way they are handled varies, depending on the transaction, the taxpayer, and the year. Tax experts are familiar with the most current laws and can provide advice and assistance with filing taxes accurately, while also limiting tax liability.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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