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<If I realize current gains (about 3600%) on the stocks in my IRA will I be charged capital gains tax even though the IRA is supposed to be tax free? I'm new at this, I really think it's time to sell the long positions I'm holding, but I'm scared to death I'll be hit with a big bill.>


I don't want to be overly critical because you did at least ask the question. However, a basic concept in FOOLDOM is to know what you are investing in. IRA's do have many complexities, but your question is certainly not one of them. Long before you made your first investment in an IRA you should have given yourself a much better understanding of IRA basics. Not knowing the answer to your simple question may have already cost you a fortune because you did not sell earlier.

Many on this board would probably be interested in knowing just how you have gotten to where you are. Were the gains even higher a year ago? Even many FOOLS have seen a lot of their gains disappear over the last year. Do you have a good understanding of these individual companies? What is your DD telling you about their futures? You may be selling right as some of them are poised to make a strong recovery. Can you give us a little bit more in the detail department?


BRG
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