What Are Net Proceeds?

Net proceeds are the amount the seller receives following the sale of an asset after all costs and expenses are deducted from the gross proceeds. Depending on the asset sold, the costs may account for a marginal percentage of the gross proceeds or a substantial percentage of the gross proceeds. Capital gains taxes are paid only on the net proceeds of a sale rather than the gross proceeds.

Key Takeaways

  • Net proceeds are the amount the seller takes home after selling an asset, minus all costs and expenses that have been deducted from the gross proceeds.
  • The amount that constitutes the net proceeds could be marginal or substantial, depending on the asset that has been sold.
  • Capital gains taxes must be paid on the net proceeds of a sale, but not the gross proceeds.

Understanding Net Proceeds

Net proceeds that have resulted from the sale of a house differ from the seller’s equity in the home because net proceeds account for the real estate agent’s fee and seller’s closing costs.

When calculating net proceeds on a home sale, the outstanding mortgage or other liens on the property, commission for the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent, excise tax and other closing costs owed by the seller are subtracted from the gross sale price of the home. If negative net proceeds result, the seller must provide cash at the time of closing to pay off the mortgage or receive the bank’s approval for a short sale.

Net Proceeds and Capital Gains Taxes

Income from selling stocks, mutual funds, property, or other assets is reported on a personal or corporate tax return. Taxes are paid on the asset’s capital gains rather than on its selling price.

When calculating capital gains or losses, the amount paid to acquire the asset, called its basis, must be known. For example, consider an investor who purchases $6,000 in stock and pays a $24 commission. The stock’s basis is $6,024. When an asset is inherited, its basis is the fair market value on the date of the person’s death regardless of the amount paid for the asset.

Net proceeds must be calculated as well. For example, the same investor sells the stock for $8,000 and pays a $32 commission. The net proceeds are $7,968. The basis is subtracted from the asset’s net proceeds. Because $7,968 - $6,024 = $1,944, the capital gain is $1,944.

Real-World Examples of Net Proceeds

In July 2016, Transocean Inc., (RIG) a fully owned affiliate of offshore drilling company Transocean Ltd., announced its initial public offering of senior unsecured notes worth $1.25 billion. The notes carry a 9 percent interest rate and mature by 2023.

After subtracting purchase discounts and offering costs, net proceeds are anticipated to be approximately $1.21 billion. Part of the net proceeds will be used for purchasing 6.5% senior notes maturing in 2020, 6.375% senior notes maturing in 2021 and 3.8% senior notes maturing in 2022 for up to $1 billion in cash. Part of the net proceeds will also be used for refinancing debt and for general company activities.