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By Dian Vujovich

All that money you made last year could come with consequences, as in taxes due.

Two totally different and unrelated areas to be mindful of in which the Uncle’s bite can really sting are investments made in some types of ETFs—like those that invest in gold or futures—and settling that credit card debt by not paying it in full.

First, the bad news about some ETFs.

How could you not be tempted to buy gold with its price soaring over the past decade. Everybody was doing it. Right? But if you elected to purchase it, or any other precious metal-type ETF, the IRS has news for you:” Bullion-owning ETFs are structured legally as a grantor trust, and owners of their shares are deemed to be the direct owners of a pro-rata share of the actual bullion—not shareholders in a corporation that owns gold. Furthermore, the IRS treats gold, silver, and platinum as “collectibles,” not as an investment asset, and taxes short-term gains as ordinary income and long-term gains at up to 28%, far above the 15% rate for long-term capital gains on stocks and bonds…” writes Vaughan Scully, an S&P senior writer. Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/ydzeege.

If you went for ETFs holding futures and other derivative contracts based on commodities and currencies, there’s also a different set of taxing rules investors are subject to.

On the other hand, exchange traded notes (ETNs) and other ETNs representing baskets of commodities and currencies are taxed as most investments and subject to normal long- or short-term capitals gains.

Make sure to contact your accountant for the particulars.

The other little taxing tidbit has to do with the credit card debt wiped out by settling that account and hence not paying it in full.

The Uncle says if you charged say $10,000, couldn’t pay it all and agreed with the credit card company or a debt collector to settle by paying $4000 and be done with it, your income for the year the settlement happened increased by $6000.

I find that despicable. When I questioned an IRS person about how that could be, she thought perhaps it was the credit card company’s way of getting even with you.

That means if you negotiated any credit card debt settlement deals in ’09, make sure to fill out form 1099-C. That’s the IRSs cancellation of debt form. It needs to be tended to. Read more at http://tinyurl.com/y9w75jh. Then weep.

Again, make sure to contact your accountant for more of the particulars.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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