Thursday, March 31, 2011

Drowning in paperwork!

Q.  Honey, I seem to be drowning in paperwork - specifically the supplemental reports the brokerage houses pile on us. Do I really need this stuff or can it be tossed? HS, Oregon

A.  Right now, I feel the same way. The basket marked "for the shredder" looks mighty tempting, but regrettably, all this stuff is necessary. Case in point: Do you pay foreign taxes on your investments? If the answer is "yes,"  when you figure the credit on Form 1116, you will need to plow through all that data to arrive at the investment income, by type, for only the securities which paid foreign taxes. I still don't understand why the brokerage houses can't do a better job of separately stating the income earned only by foreign investments, but that's what my clients pay me for, and it's my job to figure it all out. Keep the rollers on your adding machine inked and keep the paper roll full.  Happy taxing!

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