There will be a maximum tax rate of 20% for sales made after May 6, 1997, if you held the property more than 18 months. Twenty percent is also available for property sold after May 6, 1997 and before July 29, 1997 if the property had been held for more than 12 months, even if it had not been held 18 months (I know, I know; what can I say; IRS attorneys wrote it).
The rate will be 18% for property you bought after December 31, 2000 if you held it for more than 5 years at the time of sale.
25% for real estate depreciation recapture is treated as capital gain.
The current 28% capital gains rate will continue to apply for collectibles, sales before May 7, 1997, sales after July 28, 1997 held for over a year but not over 18 months.
The big one: Sale of your principal residence - You can exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 MFJ) if you sold the house after May 6, 1997. Unlike the prior "one time" exclusion, this new one is allowed each time you sell a principal residence, but not more frequently than every two years. You are NOT required to invest the proceeds in another house. You must have owned and used the house as your principal residence for a combined period of at least 2 years out of the 5 years prior to the sale. You must recognize gain to the extent of any depreciation claimed if it is a rental, for periods after May 6, 1997.
The California state tax book states that the State has conformed to these new rules.