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<>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?

One of the best places to learn is at H&R Block or one of the other national tax franchises. They run courses each summer/fall and then hire from the graduates. Pay the first years can be little more than minimum wage depending on the office, your hours, and the clients you handle, but the education is good.

One thing you probably aren't aware of. As of this year the IRS is going to begin licensing tax preparers who don't meet the more stringent qualifications of Enrolled Agent, CPA or attorney. This year preparers will have to pay a registration fee, but within three years, tax preparers will have to pass a competency test. I expect that there will be lots of new tax prep schools, but whether any of them will be any good will have to be seen.

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.

Mutual funds are required to distribute their income (dividends, capital gains from selling stocks in their portfolio) each year. You have to report your share each year on your tax return. You don't report any gain/loss in the value of your shares until you sell them.


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