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How long can I carry forward capital losses?

by Loella Haskew, CPA  

I'm selling some stocks that have plummeted in value. How long can I carry forward capital losses on these stocks?

You can carry unused capital losses forward for as long as you live. Your capital losses will offset capital gains and up to $3,000 per year (or $1,500 for married filing separately status) if you have other taxable income. Occasionally, Congress considers instituting a capital loss carryback, which would provide a refund for previous years in which a tax loss occurred. Theyíve also discussed increasing the $3,000 limit. That amount has been part of the tax law since 1977 without adjustment. If you have substantial losses, you might want to contact your representative to encourage him or her to propose legislation that would increase the limit.

Loella Haskew is a Walnut Creek, Calif., CPA with the firm of Buckley Patchen Riemann & Hall. You can reach her at (925) 937-2727(925) 937-2727.

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