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Hi folks,

I'm new to this board and I've tried to do my due diligence so as not to ask an overly redundant question. I apologize in advance if I didn't dig deep enough.

1) Any thoughts about where I can learn how to prepare taxes? I want to learn for myself; if I can help out others and *perhaps* get paid, all the better, but that's not my goal. Is one online tax school as good as any other? I live in CA which I think needs to be taken into account. I'm asking now because I have some extra time in the summer to work on this, but I want to figure out where to sign up ASAP.

I want to get a handle on taxes for retirement and for reducing my tax liability every year. AND, I'm starting from scratch -- or mostly scratch. This leads into my next question.

2) I have an index fund at Vanguard (Vanguard Total Stock Market, VTSAX). I bought in 2008 and haven't bought or sold more since then. However, I noticed on my 1040 that a portion of my AGI was from this account. How could this be? I thought I didn't have to take into account any gains (or losses, actually) until I sold what I bought. Is my understanding wrong? You don't need to give me details unless you want to, because admittedly, my understanding is not really based in anything factual.

Many thanks, folks. It may sound weird, but I'm looking forward to learning more about taxes.
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