Capital Loss if owe no tax

Should I take a loss on a mutual fund (non-IRA) for TY2020, if otherwise
I owe no (ie, zero) tax this year, due to not taking usual RMDs ?
Should I save the loss for next year when RMDs will increase taxable
income ?
I do normally use Sch D & Cap Gain W/S for other gains.
Doing a what-if 1040 etc makes it look like the IRS would owe me money
(on top of a full refund of withholdings)
Does this sound correct ?
Reply to
Anonymous
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That could be one option.
Depending on how you end up owing no taxes, you may be able to carry over the loss. But if you have other capital gains those may be offset by the mutual fund loss, leaving you nothing to carry over. But if there is a carry-over, that would be another option.
Another option would be to withdraw enough money from the retirement account so that you still end up with a 0% tax bill for this year. You would give up perhaps a year of tax-deferred growth of that withdrawal. But as you presumably don't need the money, you could invest it and perhaps get preferential capital gains or qualified dividend treatment of the resulting income instead of having it be treated as ordinary income.
Do you want to sell that mutual fund in any case for non-tax reasons? If not, you may not want to do anything right now.
Reply to
Tom Russ
One adjustment - Instead of withdrawing the money Convert To Roth. The loss will offset the tax on the conversion, and it will remain tax free from that point. You can convert "In Kind". The fund isn't sold at all, just convert the precise dollars from IRA to Roth IRA.
Reply to
JoeTaxpayer
Tom and Russ,
Thanks for your comments. To clarify the issue, this fund in question is in a taxable non-IRA brokerage account, along with 3 other funds. 6 years ago I bought $35,000 worth. Today the NAV is $36500 with a a Cost Basis of $40300.
As I am retired, I currently live off my SS benefits, and have not tapped this, or my other investments (2 IRA accounts) for expenses. As I plan to take advantage of the RMD waiver this year, I will pay no income tax this year. I will get a 100% refund of withholdings, so I don't need a Capital Loss this year, but could use it next year when my RMDs will drive a tax bill of about $4000.
Upon selling this fund next year, I might spread the proceeds across the 3 other funds at this brokerage.
As to why sell, that's due to the poor performance with no improvement in sight.
Thanks again for any comments.
Reply to
Anonymous
So a loss of roughly $4000.
So that should mean you are in the 12% tax bracket. That means a capital loss of $4000 would save about $480 in taxes next year.
So the sale isn't tax driven (That's good). The question now is to decide whether to do something else with the tax loss today. Such as Joe's suggestion to convert just enough of one of your IRAs to Roth so that you won't owe any taxes after using the loss.
That won't save you anything in the short run, but it would reduce slightly the future RMDs, as Roth IRAs don't have them. And it allows you to keep the money growing now tax-free. That produces a savings over the long haul, which is perhaps a bit less valuable.
The alternative is to wait until January to realize the loss. That gives the immediate tax savings, but would require you to stay invested in a mutual fund with poor performance for another 45 days or so. So that gives up some potential appreciation. Exactly how much would be very difficult to predict, of course.
What I don't know is whether your taxes for 2020 would allow you to carry over the entire loss. It would have to be netted against your capital gains for this year, including capital gains dividends, so that would be lost as a tax benefit. And it could also need to reduce your other taxable income by $3000, not leaving anything to carry over.
Hope this helps with your decision-making. Good luck.
Reply to
Tom Russ
After your comments, and a talk with the brokerage account custodian, I have decided to do nothing this year.
If into next year the fund pulls out of it's "flat-line", I will keep it. If it doesn't, I'll sell it and probably spread the proceeds across the other 3 funds that are doing OK.
Then take the Capital Loss on next year's taxes when I should see my "normal" $4000 tax bill, mainly driven by RMDs from my IRA accounts.
In future, I will pay more attention to Cost Basis, as well as NAV performance.
Thanks again :-)
Reply to
Anonymous

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