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Taxes

The Medicare surtax on investment income

If you're a high earner, an additional tax could apply to your investment income.
3 minute read

Points to know

  • The Medicare surtax applies to taxpayers above certain income thresholds.
  • If the surtax applies to you, you'll owe an additional 3.8% tax rate on your investment income.

What's the Medicare surtax?

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 included a provision for a 3.8% "net investment income tax," also known as the Medicare surtax, to fund Medicare expansion.

It applies to taxpayers above a certain modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) threshold who have unearned income including investment income, such as:

Taxable interest.

Dividends.

Realized capital gains.

See other types of income subject to the Medicare surtax

How is the tax calculated?

If the tax applies to you, you'll need to calculate the following 2 amounts using IRS Form 8960. You'll owe the 3.8% tax on the lesser amount.

  • Your net investment income, which is your investment income minus expenses. (For estates and trusts, use undistributed net investment income.)
  • The amount by which your MAGI exceeds the relevant amount listed above.

See more about calculating your net investment income

How is the Medicare surtax reported?

If you owe the tax, you'll report it on your Form 1040 (and also include Form 8960, as stated above). If you believe you'll be subject to the tax, you may want to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid potential penalties. Talk to a tax advisor about your specific situation.

Is there any way to reduce the tax?

You can sell some securities at a loss to offset investment gains if you think you might be subject to the surtax this tax year. And when planning for the future, you can also choose investments that are naturally more tax-efficient.

Offset gains through tax-loss harvesting

Choose tax-saving investments

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