Easy. I'm carrying six figure short and long term losses, so any gains are easily offset, and I'm taking the $3000 deduction against ordinary income. That should continue for some time because I'm not selling any investments, just taking dividends now that i'm re-invested. Some of my realized income is tax free. Very substantial charitable deductions. The taxable realized ordinary income for the last 2 years minus the 3k keeps me about thisclose to the non-taxable range. Plus I've been mostly in cash and just sipping from the checking account for the last few years. I made some money off of some holdings in REITS and a couple of balanced funds, but still nothing really huge. My biggest pickup this year was trading the McMansion for the smaller house and taking a tax free $250,000 gain on the sale of my old property. I managed to buy at the bottom of a 10 year real estate slide in the Sacramento area and sold near (I think) to the top.
So in short, my secret is having lost half my shirt and part of my pants in 2000, while still keeping most of the portfolio wardrobe intact, plus a little tax free income and mostly staying out of the game and not spending a lot of money for a while. Plus donating half my stuff when I moved into a smaller house, which is a non-repeatable deal.
I'll be close to paying a little tax this year, and may quite likely pay some next year. But thats ok with me