Wiped-out investment -- necessary to sell?

I have some worthless Washington Mutual bonds. They last traded at one penny -- that is to say, one ten-thousandth of face value.
Although certain WaMu bondholders will see some recovery, my
bonds happen to be in a class that will see nothing.
The question is -- do I actually need to sell them to take the capital loss, or can I simply do nothing and claim it anyway for 2008, with perhaps some documentation as to their worthlessness?
Steve
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If they are trading at a penny, then they are not worthless in IRS's view. The safest bet would be to sell them for a penny or maybe have the broker buy them from you for a penny before the end of 2008. Then you would have a recognized loss.
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Charles M. Shanes, CPA
Charles M. Shanes CPA, LLC
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Steve Pope wrote:

Bond prices are quoted using a base of 100. I.e., a $1000 bond selling at $1000 would be quoted at 100. Therefore, I assume that a quote of one penny means the $1000 bond was selling at 10 cents. If you owned at least five $1000 bonds, then the selling price of 50 cents rounds to $1 of value. No write-off without a sale. If you owned less than 5 bonds, that rounds down to zero. You get a write-off without a sale.
All that being said, I advise you to arrange for the broker to take them off your hands.
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The stock is selling at $.025, and bonds are senior to stock, so you're better sell them.
I'll give you a nickel for them.
Seth
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Good point, except that the stock is in the holding company, and my bonds happen to be in the bank itself -- different entities.

Thanks. :)
Steve
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