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[[All distributions of mine are taxable. I have well over $400 in capital gains
from the sales of stock (and I have my 1099-B forms in hand). Line 7 on schedule B "Capital gain
distributions" is confusing. If I enter my total capital gains here and subtract that number from my
gross dividends, I end up with a huge negative number. This can't be right! ]]

You're's not right. The capital gain dividends that is referred to on Sch B has to do with MUTUAL FUND capital gain distributions. It has nothing whatsoever to do with stock sales. IRS computers will try to match the entries on Sch B with the information provided by the mutual fund companies...which is why IRS wants this mutual fund capital gain dividend report here first.

[[ The tax question: Do I need to fill out schedule B and if so, what am I doing wrong? It seems to me
$42 belongs on line 9 of the 1040 form.]]

Complete Sch B for your dividends only. Complete Sch D for your stock sales. Ignore the "capital gains distributions" section on Sch B unless you have capital gain distributions from mutual funds.

[[ ps-- many more questions to come since these questions only bring me to line 23 out of 65 on the
1040 form.]]

Start by reading the instructions carefully. Then read 'em again. Then look at the form. Then read the instruction again. It might save you some time.

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