ElectroFile Income Tax Service   Income Tax Service
5200 W Market St
Greensboro, NC 27409
  Terry Hough, President Terry Hough
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November 30, 2017

INVESTOR SERIES: Harvesting tax losses to reduce your 2017 tax bill.

You’ve probably made life-changing gains as the cryptocurrency and stock markets exploded higher in 2017.

Unfortunately, when you make money, the taxman wants his cut as well. But there are a couple of things you can do to lower your tax bill.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to do this is through a strategy called "tax-loss harvesting". Every investor should consider selling their losses.

Selling losers and holding onto winners should be part of your overall wealth-building strategy. Selling (or “harvesting”) these losses has the potential to save you thousands of dollars come April 15. And that can go a long way towards building your nest egg.

If you are an active investor, you’ve probably already booked a few realized gains. But if you’re holding onto some losers as well, you can use them to offset the tax liability on your gains.

Today, I’ll show you four simple steps you can take to “harvest” your losses. (And the best part is that it takes less than an hour to do so).

How "Tax Harvesting" Works

Every time you sell an investment, there’s a tax consequence. If you have a gain, you owe money. If you have a loss, you might be able to write those losses off. And you can use the offsetting losses to your benefit. We call this "tax loss harvesting". And it can help you instantly recoup a portion of your biggest losses.

Here’s an example... Let’s say you made $10,000 in your trading account this year. You could owe up to $3,960 in taxes. To cut that down, look at your open positions. Specifically, look at your losers. Why are you hanging onto those losers anyway? Now, let’s say you have a position showing a $5,000 loss. You can book that loss now and it would eliminate half of the $3,960 tax bill from your gains. That’s a potential $1,980 going back into your pocket.

How to Harvest Those Losses
(You must do this before or on December 31, 2017)

To figure out if you have any losses to harvest, follow these steps (they should take less than an hour):

  1. Go to your brokerage account.
  2. Find the “History and Statements” section.
  3. Click on the “Realized Gain/Loss” report.
  4. If you made a lot of gains, consider and sell some losers to offset some or all of those gains.

Tthe tax code is very complicated. If you’re still uncertain about your taxes, you should consult your qualified ElectroFile Income Tax preparer.

The thousands you can save make your tax preparer's fees worth the expense.