If you’re planning to sell assets at a loss to offset gains that have been realized during the year, it’s important to be aware of the “wash sale” rule.

a person holds a cell phone with the screen showing a graph and "$3,812.57" in their left hand and in the background is a laptop with another graph with green and red lines; portrayal of selling securities and avoiding wash sale rule

How the Rule Works
Under this rule, if you sell stock or securities for a loss and buy substantially identical stock or securities back within the 30-day period before or after the sale date, the loss can’t be claimed for tax purposes. The rule is designed to prevent taxpayers from using the tax benefit of a loss without parting with ownership in any significant way.


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A tried-and-true tax-saving strategy for investors is to sell assets at a loss to offset gains that have been realized during the year. So if you’ve cashed in some big gains this year, consider looking for unrealized losses in your portfolio and selling those investments before year-end to offset your gains. This can reduce your