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You wrote, I would actually suggest leaving more than $1 in the account - probably something closer to the amount of the loss you are trying to preserve, assuming there's at least that much left in your account. If there isn't that much left in your account, I would suggest not doing a conversion that year.

It's never possible to leave exactly what you lost in the account. If you have a $1,000 loss and want to leave a $1 in the account, your cost basis is $1,001. If you leave $1,000 in the account with a $1,000 loss you have a $2,000 cost basis. Your cost basis is always by definition what you have in the account plus your accumulated losses … so I'm not sure what good trying to leave some larger amount in the account really does for you.

But I do take the point that if the IRS previously permitted the losses to be treated as an itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit and then subsequently eliminated the option to itemize deductions I might have a problem if I ever dropped the balance to $0 while retaining a loss.

With that said, I've only been making non-deductible contributions for the past 3 years and I've only converted twice. Each time I closed the TIRA. (First time on purpose; second by accident.) However in both cases I had a small taxable portion to convert so I've not yet had a to deal with this scenario in practice. In the future I'll keep an eye out for this situation. Or I might always just leave $1...

- Joel
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