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Author: canuck104 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 124966  
Subject: Capital Gains Tax Date: 2/11/2006 11:55 PM
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Looking for some help from all you tax strategists......

My wife and I no longer qualify for a Roth contribution, however, we still want to sock money away for retirement and/or miscellaneous near-term(0-5 years) expenses. I see us as having 2 options:

1. Traditional IRA, non-deductible contribution (means filing Form 8606 each year with our taxes).
Pro: Don't have to keep track of capital gains issues, tax-deferred growth.

Con: Accessibility of funds -however it appears that the non-deductible portion of the IRA (basis) can be withdrawn at any time without penalty....if I'm wrong, please correct me.

2. Standard brokerage account.
Pro: Accessibility of funds -can get the money whenever you want it.

Con: Have to keep track of when stock bought/sold, pay capital gains, etc. This sounds like a huge pain in the butt. I've spent quite a bit of time on the IRS website just trying to find the capital gains tax rate tables for short and long-term investments and the only publications I've found (including the instructions to Sched D.) are incomprehensible. I've also looked for some kind of plain-language guidance document to indicate how to treat stock purchases and sales (FIFO vs. LIFO), etc, but again, all I've found is gobbledegook. My whole experience looking at the IRS website makes me think the only way to invest is with tax-deferred accounts.

So, my questions are:
1. Can the basis of an IRA be withdrawn at any time (including years down the road) without penalty or tax?

2. When using a standard brokerage account, how do you keep track of all your transactions and compute your capital gains (FIFO? LIFO?). Is there a website (other than IRS.GOV!!) or book that can guide me.

3. Where can I find a functional tax-rate table as it applies to short term and long-term capital gains (and losses).

I'm sure these issues/questions have come up before and I've tried to find some old posts/articles on the Fool website but their new search engine is not that great (I hear their working on it), so if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!

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