2011 Tax Deductions To Leverage

1. Energy credits are still worth taking. The tax credits for certain basic home improvements — including the installation of insulation, certain HVAC systems, water heaters, windows, doors, and roofing — are skimpier this year.

But what’s worse than skimpier credits? Why, *NO* credits, of course. And since there are no good signs of these credits being renewed, it’s time to get a move on! Go to www.EnergyStar.gov to get specifics.

2. Use capital losses to your advantage. If you have some portfolio losers, but you still like them, now is the time to grab those deductions by selling down positions. After 30 days, you can safely re-purchase any stocks which look like they could still be long-term winners, and retain the capital loss deduction safely (but if you do this before 30 days, you don’t get to record the loss).

3. Re-characterize a Roth back to an IRA. If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth in 2011, and have since suffered huge losses, you might want to reverse the conversion (which is called a recharacterization).

The reason: Your tax bill is based on the IRA’s value at conversion, so you’ll owe income taxes on money you no longer have. Even better, you also still have a chance to recharacterize a 2010 conversion, but act fast. That deadline is Oct. 17.

I’ll have plenty more to say on these and other subjects as we get closer to the end of the year — but the BEST thing may be to have us sit down with you and take a clear look at your exact situation with you

Posted on January 1, 2012
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