Do you remember the losses of 2008 and 2009? Did your accountant?

Most of us hold onto our tax returns for the recommended 7-10 years.  If you're anything like me, you don't remember those old tax returns until your tripping over that box in your office.  As most records were paper until recently, it is tempting to clean out that space and shred those unnecessary records.  But wait!  If you remember sustaining losses in any of your non-retirement accounts during 2008 and 2009 then before destroying documents check out the line entitled "Capital gain (or loss)" on the first page of your 1040.  If in year 2008 or 2009 you see the maximum allowable loss amount of $3,000, then you probably had more losses to carry over to 2010, 2011 and maybe even later years.  If the "Capital gain (or loss)" line is reflecting $3,000 in 2008/ 2009 and then nothing appears in later years, be sure to check with your accountant to be sure that capital losses were carried over until exhausted.  As capital losses may reduce income, and therefore income tax due, not including them can mean a significant loss in your tax refund.   

Reviewing a document during a meeting