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Skipping Tax Loss Harvest due to low LTCG rates
Old 12-30-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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Skipping Tax Loss Harvest due to low LTCG rates

I've decided not to do Tax Loss Harvesting for 2008.

Here are two good links I used to learn about how the low 2008-2011 Long Term Capital Gains Rates make skipping TLH work for people like me without much ordinary income:

Planning for the 2008–2010 Zero-Percent Adjusted Net Capital Gain Rate

Bogleheads :: View topic - I can't tax loss harvest this year, correct?

I've got approx $100k in long term capital gains from a sale earlier this year, and coincidentally I also have about $100k in LT capital loss in another index that could be used for TLH. As I'm FIREd, this $100k LTCG and ~$20k of qualified dividends is basically the only income I'll be reporting to the IRS for 2008.

By luck I seem to fall into the category of people who can take advantage of the 0% CG rate legislated for 2008-2011 up to the $32k bracket, because I don't have any ordinary income. So it seems to be a no brainer to keep at least $32k - ~$20k= ~$12k of capital gains so that I can take maximum advantage of the 0% LTCG rate.

The 15% LTCG rates on the rest of the gains seems to me low compared with where it will be in the future (Obama apparently said 20+% ASAP, and with all the bailout spending the piper will have to be paid eventually). So I'm thinking I might as well just buck up now and pay my LTCGs rather than deferring them with Tax Loss Harvesting. I'll still have plenty of unrealized LTCGs to max out the 0% LTCG bracket if it stays around for the next couple of years.

I'm posting in case others see any serious flaws in this strategy, and to inform those who might have been contemplating TLH tomorrow.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:54 AM   #2
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F4N,

It is good that you are thinking of how TLH applies to your personal situation. I didn't start reading the BH site until a few months ago so I never saw your referenced thread which was in June. My impression is that, at least in the past months, TLH there is a must-do now, think later (or maybe don't think at all) kind of thing. Perhaps more folks there work full-time so it might be more generally true, but it certainly is not right for everyone all the time.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:54 PM   #3
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They mention a possibility that the low LTCG rates may end after 2008,
(due to the aforementioned need to pay the piper).
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
They mention a possibility that the low LTCG rates may end after 2008,
(due to the aforementioned need to pay the piper).
Possible, but I think the general consensus is that they will just let the existing tax cuts expire in 2011 rather than repeal them early. Even many of the politicians who philosophically want to roll back the tax cuts realize that raising taxes in an economy this bad is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Possible, but I think the general consensus is that they will just let the existing tax cuts expire in 2011 rather than repeal them early. Even many of the politicians who philosophically want to roll back the tax cuts realize that raising taxes in an economy this bad is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
I think this is the most likely scenario. Also, Obama has said the rates (including cap gains and dividends) won't change for folks earning less than 250K. Of course, George H. W. Bush (the father) said "Read my lips. No new taxes.", then raised the rates anyway.
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