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Investments glossary

Wash-Sale Rule

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Quotes of the day:

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.

— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

The wash-sale rule is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation established to prevent a taxpayer from taking a tax deduction for a security sold in a wash sale. The rule defines a wash sale as one that occurs when an individual sells or trades a security at a loss and, within 30 days before or after this sale, buys a “substantially identical” stock or security, or acquires a contract or option to do so. A wash sale also results if an individual sells a security, and the individual’s spouse or a company controlled by the individual buys a substantially equivalent security.

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