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Old 02-07-2009, 11:48 AM   #1
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Taxes & Investing

My belated New Year's resolution is to learn more about taxes on investments . Does anyone have a good book recommendation on this subject ?
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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Good luck. Congress changes the rules on a whim. What you learn today may not apply tomorrow. And they often change them far into the tax year, making planning impossible. The software companies can't even keep up with the changes and get something usable out until the tax year is over.

Further, as I've been ranting about, it isn't even as simple as "what are the taxes on investment A, B , C?". That investment income interacts with other lines on your tax form, you just cannot look at it in isolation. But, since we can't get tax software ahead of time, you can't look at the interactions until it is too late. Catch 22.

In my case, I can make all sorts of changes to my numbers, and the tax due/refund does not change. This is NOT what some book will tell you. Because that book cannot anticipate the interactions in your tax form. I've got some thing going on where the RRC offsets other changes within some range.

I'm sure there are books that people will recc for the basics. But don't fool yourself into thinking it will mean anything.

For example, how can we determine whether we should convert Trad to Roth, w/o knowing future tax rates (let alone not really knowing the effective tax rates for 2008 until October, too late to get SW to deal with it)?

Yes, I know, I need to take a pill .

-ERD50
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
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Good luck. Congress changes the rules on a whim. What you learn today may not apply tomorrow. And they often change them far into the tax year, making planning impossible.

-ERD50

No need to take a pill you are absolutely right . My late husband worked for the IRS and every year he would get a new massive book with all the changes . I just want a basic book so I can understand tax loss harvesting and the 30 day wash rule better .
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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The IRS publications on the subject are quite good. Get them all free at www.irs.gov You won't find much on wash sales and tax-loss harvesting in books because they are pretty trivial subjects and don't take up more than a paragraph or two in most books. I think most of the popular media articles on these subjects just serve to worry and confuse people. You are better off just reading the IRS stuff and ignoring the noise.

You can also check out the reference stuff on taxes over at Main Page - Bogleheads
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:04 PM   #5
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Another good online place is Fairmark
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
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The IRS publications on the subject are quite good. Get them all free at www.irs.gov You won't find much on wash sales and tax-loss harvesting in books because they are pretty trivial subjects and don't take up more than a paragraph or two in most books. I think most of the popular media articles on these subjects just serve to worry and confuse people. You are better off just reading the IRS stuff and ignoring the noise.

You can also check out the reference stuff on taxes over at Main Page - Bogleheads

I will second this, just be sure, when you actually try to use the information in these publications that you are using the "current" version. Most are published each year for use with that years returns.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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No need to take a pill you are absolutely right . My late husband worked for the IRS and every year he would get a new massive book with all the changes . I just want a basic book so I can understand tax loss harvesting and the 30 day wash rule better .
check this out near the bottom of the page:
Guide to Capital Gains and Losses

edit: oops, same general link as FIRED, couldn't tell from the link title.
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions !
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #9
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Here's my thread concerning a general book on taxes. I never found what I was looking for.
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:40 PM   #10
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Two words...index funds.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:09 PM   #11
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Two words...index funds.
That and taxable bonds in your 401k or IRA. That sums it up for the most part. To keep it simple and easy.
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:42 PM   #12
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Nice link here from Wells Fargo site.
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:53 PM   #13
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Here are some more links:

http://www.moneychimp.com/features/capgain.htm

The SmartMoney.com Capital-Gains Guide at SmartMoney.com

http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409.html

And a page full of links on capital gains taxes:

Capital Gains Tax
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:31 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your suggestions ! I'll get busy reading !
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