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We just got two checks as part of a securities litigation. The case was against Charles Schwab, one of our brokerages. One check was for our joint account and the other was for DW's IRA.

Since we never owned shares of Schwab, this can't be a capital gain. If it is to make up for overcharging or some other transgression that caused a loss of value to our accounts, would it be a nontaxable return of capital?

I don't think I kept the original stuff the lawyers sent because all these things turn out to be worth $50 or less and they're capital gains because they are about shares we owned. But these checks add up to around $1,000 -- so it matters this time. And next time I'll keep the paperwork.

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