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Old 08.02.2019, 16:27
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Selling property in California as a Non-Resident

Hi EF -

I think this is the most relevant sub-forum to post this question under, but please let me know if there is a different category it fits better under.

I have a condo in California that I put on the market a few weeks back and have an offer for. Until we began escrow I did not realise that as a non-resident for tax purposes in 2019 (left US on 21st Dec 2018 indefinitely to move to Zurich) there is a 15% tax withholding on the gross sale price.

This withholding would be almost three times the actual tax that I will owe on the sale.

This 15% tax withholding is at the federal level and while I can get a refund back when I file 2019 taxes in April 2020, that's almost a year of close to 200k held with IRS with no growth on it.

I get an exemption with California taxes since this condo was my primary residence for more than 3 years.

Anyone here who has had a similar situation and found a LEGAL way of reduce the tax that's withheld to be more proportional to the actual taxes that are owed?

I have already contacted multiple tax professionals but so far no one has dealt with a similar situation.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!
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Old 08.02.2019, 16:31
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Re: Selling property in California as a Non-Resident

Is the tax on the gross sale price of the property including for example the contents that you are leaving inside, like a fitted kitchen, bathroom etc.?

I ask, as in some countries property tax is levied on the empty house only and not on the value of the fitted kitchen still inside, despite the fact that it is part of the sale.
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Old 08.02.2019, 17:11
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Re: Selling property in California as a Non-Resident

Gross sales price includes everything in the kitchen - including appliances and same with the bathroom. I'm California, most home sales and apartment rentals come with appliances in the kitchen. Only exception might be if its a new construction.

Property tax is a different matter as that's only levied on the land and the constructed building.

In my case, this is tax on the sale and not property tax.
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Old 08.02.2019, 17:23
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Re: Selling property in California as a Non-Resident

Have you tried filing a form 8288-B?

This advice is charged at a mere $50. Any readers of this post using this advice should contact me by PM to arrange payment. TIA.
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Old 08.02.2019, 17:49
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Re: Selling property in California as a Non-Resident

Oh, I didn't know about that form! The summary I read seems to be exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

I definitely owe you one!
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