I am a widow with yearly income of $12,000 to $13,000. Years ago my husband and I bought 500 shares of a silver mining stock for 55 cents a share. More than 25 years have elapsed, the original company was merged into another, the new stock split, and stock dividends were issued until I now hold 1761 shares valued at about $35 a share. How can I sell a portion of the stock without paying an enormous capital-gains tax? --
You can't expect to sell your stock without paying a capital-gains tax, but you can save money by selling it in small blocks over several years -- the more years the better. You could, for example, sell 100 shares each year. Only 40 percent of the capital gain is reported as ordinary income. With much of your income from social security, I would guess your top tax bracket is no more than 20 percent. Thus, 20 percent of 40 percent means you would be paying only 8 percent on the gain. If you sold 100 shares at $35 a share, your capital-gain tax on the $3,500 (your cost basis is so little, consider the full amount as longterm capital gain) would be $280. I would not consider that to be an enormous tax. Attempting to sell a large block of the stock in one year could easily double your taxes.