Bafflingly Simple

The good news is that your 1997 return is easy--compared to next year's. Stocks and housing are key

Preparing your taxes is never easy. But if you're stressing over last summer's tax "relief" act, figuring it will lead to some panicky late nights before April 15, take some advice: relax. Most of the new stuff doesn't apply to your 1997 return. Next year will be the killer.

Don't fire the accountant just yet, though. There are two big changes that do affect your '97 return, and together they are the mother lode for those who have sold a home or hitched their finances to the bull market in stocks and stock mutual funds. Home sales will be treated vastly...

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