Tax Loss Harvesting: Five Tips to Keep More of What’s Yours

Here at the Portfolioist, we frequently turn to Steve Thorpe, founder of Pragmatic Portfolios, LLC to share his insights on the topic of Tax Loss Harvesting. Here are 5 of his Tax Loss Harvesting Tips to help keep more of your money when tax time rolls around.

It’s impossible to reliably predict future changes within the investment markets, however there are numerous ways for investors to favorably influence their own results. Important areas to focus on include developing an investment plan, saving regularly, diversifying widely, adhering to an appropriate asset allocation, and paying attention to all forms of costs – including taxes. For many investors, tax loss harvesting can improve their after-tax bottom line, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars per year.

Steve Thorpe’s Top Five Tax Loss Harvesting Tips:

  1. Portfolio reviews for TLH opportunities are best done periodically throughout the year—with harvesting implemented whenever the benefits significantly outweigh the costs.
  2. It’s always a good idea to review your portfolio in December in case there are final harvesting opportunities available for that taxable year. In December 2012, there may be additional considerations related to possible 2013 tax rate changes.
  3. If you have a significant unrealized loss that is short-term, it’s usually best to take it before it becomes a long-term loss.
  4. If you are considering realizing a gain, think about waiting until the security has been owned for more than one year so that the gain is eligible for the most favorable long-term capital gain tax treatment.
  5. Don’t get trapped by the Wash Sale Rule. Replace securities sold at a loss with similar—but not substantially identical—securities.

Every individual’s situation is unique, tax laws are complex and always changing, and there are subtle nuances not discussed here. Hence, these tips should be considered general educational information only and not specific recommendations customized to any individual’s circumstances. If you have any uncertainty about your own situation, do your research! A few resources include:

About the Author:

Steve Thorpe is the founder of Pragmatic Portfolios, LLC (http://www.pragmaticportfolios.com), a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser based in Durham, North Carolina that focuses on developing sensible investment plans integrated across all of a client’s investment accounts. He also chairs the Research Triangle Park, NC area chapter of the “Bogleheads” investment interest group.

Circular 230 Disclosure Notice:

To insure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any tax advice that may be contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or any state or local tax law to which a  governmental requirement similar to Circular 230 applies.

The views set forth in this blog are the opinions of the author alone and may not represent the views of any firm or entity with whom he is affiliated. The data, information, and content on this blog are for information, education, and non-commercial purposes only. The information on this blog does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice and is limited to the dissemination of opinions on investing. No reader should construe these opinions as an offer of advisory services. Pragmatic Portfolios is not affiliated with FOLIOfn or the Portfolioist.

Related Links:

Folio Investing The brokerage with a better way. Securities products and services offered through FOLIOfn Investments, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

One thought on “Tax Loss Harvesting: Five Tips to Keep More of What’s Yours

  1. Pingback: Sector Watch: Spotlight on Utilities « Portfolio Investing Blog: Portfolioist

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