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investment "basis"
A basis is the original value of your investments. If you have mutual funds, for example, each year those funds will report to you the dividends and capital gains you earned. These dividends and gains will be taxable to you in the year reported.

When you sell these funds, your gain will be the difference between what you receive on the sale and your "basis" (technically your amount realized less your initial investment basis). The basis actually increases once any initial financial gains you reinvested are taxed. If you reinvested taxable gains from these funds, those gains (all of the dividends and capital gains reported) are added to your basis to reduce your gain (or increase your loss). For example, if I bought a fund for $1,000 and reinvested $200 in dividends and $50 in capital gains, my basis is now $1,250. If I sell the fund for $1,500, I only have to recognize $250 in gain on that sale. Thatís much better than reporting a $500 profit for tax purposes.

Give your old clothes, furniture, appliances and other items away to your favorite charity. The wholesale value of those contributions is allowable as a charitable deduction. Make sure that you get a receipt. No receipt, no deduction. The receipt doesnít have to list what you gave or what the items were worth, but it must be dated. You can fill in the details yourself. Remember, too, that you can deduct 14 cents a mile for any charitable work, including the trips to bring the old clothes to the charity.