12 ways to cut your taxes

The bright spot of the dreary 2009 economy: savings for everyone.

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6. You had investment losses
6. You had investment losses
Even with the market's surge last year, the average stock was still down 29% from its October 2007 peak. If you sold securities at a loss in 2009 and you had owned the shares for more than a year, those losses can come in handy now. You can use them, as well as any losses you carried over from 2008, to offset capital gains you may have reaped by selling investment winners as the markets recovered. Have more losses than gains? You can also use up to $3,000 in net investment losses to offset ordinary income. And any leftover losses can be carried forward to reduce your 2010 taxes.

Potential savings: $840, assuming $3,000 in losses and no capital gains

NEXT: 7. You weathered a disaster
Last updated March 26 2010: 7:15 PM ET
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Savings assumed a couple filing jointly in the 28% bracket, unless otherwise noted.
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