A wash sale is a transaction in which an investor seeks to maximize tax benefits by selling a losing security at the end of a calendar year so they can claim a capital loss on taxes that year. The investor’s intent is likely to repurchase the security again after the start of the new year, if possible even lower than where they sold. Such wash sales are a method investors have historically considered to recognize a tax loss without limiting their exposure to opportunity they perceive in owning a particular security. The IRS uses the wash-sale rule to eliminate the incentive to arbitrarily sell and reacquire the same security around the end of the calendar years.
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