Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
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Con: Accessibility of funds -however it appears that the non-deductible portion of the IRA (basis) can be withdrawn at any time without penalty....if I'm wrong, please correct me.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 Can the basis of an IRA be withdrawn at any time (including years down the road) without penalty or tax?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!

Print the post  


In accordance with IRS Circular 230, you cannot use the contents of any post on The Motley Fool's message boards to avoid tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.