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Well the only good thing about a stock market decline is that we owe LESS taxes on the earnings…ahem, I mean on the lack-of-earnings.  In fact, it gets better.  We can (and should) take up to $3,000 of losses over and above those which offset our capital gains, as a tax loss.

For example, that means that if you had $1,000 in capital gains in 2008, and you also happened to have $1,000 in capital losses last year, that loss counterbalanced that gain, resulting in no taxes owed.  If you had that same $1,000 in capital gains and $5,000, for example, in capital losses  (you needed to have sold out your loss positions which in investment speak is “realized losses”, versus just seeing the value go down on paper) you could have offset the $1,000 in capital gains and then taken an additional $3,000 in capital losses against both your Federal and State income tax returns, thereby offsetting even ordinary income.

Currently the annual limit that one can take over and above offsetting equal dollar gains, is $3,000., yet if you had more than that, like $1,000 more in our example above, you can carry those unused losses forward on your Federal Income Tax return for use in future years.  (I don’t know of any states that allow unlimited capital loss carryforward though, so any 2008 unused losses do expire, relative to your state income tax return.)  So, that’s a bit of tax trivia; i.e., salve perhaps on the wounds of recent portfolio losses.

While some of you will as a matter of principle, wait till tonight, and then begrudgingly deliver your income tax returns to the post office that stays open the latest, others of us will file at least one extension, if not two.  Yet, April 15th typically evokes some emotion, not much of it pleasant.

Well, all the more reason to treat yourself to something for nothin’.  Yes, here are some links to a couple sites’ advertisements for today’s freebies:

http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/106920/18-Deals-That-Offer-Some-Tax-Day-Relief

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-04-13-restaurants-tax-day-discounts_N.htm

What mature woman doesn’t love a deal.  Now we can feel good again, even for a day, right?  No, as you all know, I say we can feel good every day, despite the chaos that swirls around us.  It’s up to us what we focus on.  I’ll leave you today with this Winston Churchhill quote, which I really find fitting:

“We are still masters of our fate.  We are still captains of our souls.”

With so much piracy present today–literally off the coasts of Africa, and metaphorically with our news media preying on our minds–it is indeed incumbent upon us to captain our minds to focus on our well-being, and on the well-being of our family and friends–both those we’ve met and those we have yet to meet.

Let’s all practice random acts of kindness, starting with ourselves.  We Can Do It Women!

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