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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/doing-your-own-taxes-when-all-you-have-is-w-2s-18663085.aspx

Subject:  Re: Sch D instructions online? Date:  2/28/2003  7:18 AM
Author:  lorenzo2 Number:  64152 of 121252

Doing your own taxes when all you have is W-2s and a standard deduction is one thing. I think any time taxpayers enter new areas of the tax code, they should consult a tax professional.

With all due respect, baloney! Certainly there are some situations in which you might be well advised to use a pro: sale of rental property, business/partnership interests (except for C-EZ), and certainly estate returns. There's no reason that a homeowner (which generally means itemized deductions) who owns stocks and mutual funds (Sch D) can't do his own return.

As for Sched D, it's pretty straightforward, provided you have all the proper basis records. (If you don't, it can be a nightmare - but that's not the fault of the tax form, it's your fault for not keeping good records.) Admittedly, there are some situations (wash sales, short sales, options, straddles) that are a bit complicated, but those are far from routine for most investors. And I think most of the complexity of investment-related taxes is not due to the IRS but to the companies you invest in. Spinoffs, takeovers, and assorted accounting tricks can lead to a lot of headaches for the unlucky shareholder. Who has not cringed to read that smarmy comment buried in an inch-thick mailing from one of the companies in which you hold stock: "This is not tax advice. Consult your personal tax advisor." Idiots.

Ok, the back of Sched D is pretty poor, where you calculate taxes using capital gains rates. But that's much improved from what it once was. Anyway, just follow the instructions, don't try to figure out what they're doing.

Lornezo, a little vented now
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