Tax Rascal

No Santa Claus Rally This Year

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Investors have long known that December and January are among the best months for stocks. Most investors know why, too: late in the year, it’s possible to sell losing stocks in order to shelter profits from the rest of the year. For example, if you’ve lost $1000 on GE, and made $1000 on IBM, you can sell both, take both losses—and pay not capital gains taxes on your profit.

Because of this, it makes sense to sell at the end of the year. (The IRS will let you buy the stocks back after 30 days and still give you the tax penalty.) And if people are selling stocks they still like, they’re going to buy them back later. All this … Read more...

Five Simple Ways Not to Spend Too Much on Taxes

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We hate losing money about twice as much as we like making it. Seriously. Several studies show that if you unexpectedly lose $1, you won’t be happy making just $1 back — you need $2 to reach an even keel. That’s one reason market volatility makes folks so nervous; when losses hurt more than gains help, a market that bounces around a particular level still makes people unhappy.

Here are a few ways you can ease the pain:

  1. If you’re going to own stocks, own them forever. It’s not hard. Think about a company’s product. Ask yourself if people will still use it in fifty years. If yes, and the stock is fairly cheap, buy. If no, don’t. Sure, you

Tax Q&A: Who Pays for the Bailout, and How?

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$700 billion. It’s an incredible number. The Troubled Asset Relief program (abbreviated TARP, often just called “The Bailout”) is an unprecedented spending spree. The closest comparison, the Marshall Plan, cost about $110 billion in present dollars, so the scope of the TARP is beyond that of any new government program.

When people hear about $700 billion in new spending, their first reaction after scraping their jaw off the floor is to ask: “Who will pay for this?” with the sneaking suspicion that the answer is, as usual, “The taxpayers.”

But it’s not that simple. The first important thing to realize about paying for the bailout is that it’s not necessarily going to mean a higher tax rate or an end … Read more...


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