November 23, 2009
If you have owned stock with a low basis for more than a year and think the stock will continue to go up in value, now may be the time to sell it if all of the gain on the sale falls within the 10- or 15-percent income tax brackets. In this case, the gain on the sale is taxed at the 0-percent capital gains rate. In addition, if you buy the stock right back, you effectively receive a tax-free step-up in basis.

You may be thinking that the gain on the sale is disallowed under the wash sale rules when you buy identical stock within 30 days of selling it. However, the wash sale rules only disallow losses on such sales.

The 0-percent capital gains rate is available through 2010. To qualify for the 0-percent capital gains rate in 2009, your income (including long-term capital gains) must be under $33,951 (single and married filing separately), $67,901 (married filing jointly), and $45,501 (head of household). Ordinary income uses up the 10- and 15-percent income tax brackets before long-term capital gains, so if you have a lot of W-2 income, you will not qualify for the 0-percent capital gains rate.
Topic: Advice