The Wash Sale Rule


Top page in our explanation of the wash sale rule.

The wash sale rule prevents you from claiming a loss on a sale of stock if you buy replacement stock within 30 days before or after the sale. That sounds simple enough — but there are so many questions that arise in connection with the wash sale rule that we devote an entire section of our website to the subject. The first article, Wash Sales 101, provides the essentials and will also give you an idea what kind of details you'll find in the other articles. An index to our articles on wash sales appears below.

Page Descriptions

Wash Sales 101
Most people will learn all they need to know about the wash sale rule on this page.

Wash Sales and IRAs
Can you avoid the wash sale rule by buying replacement stock in your IRA? It's risky.

Substantially Identical Securities
You don't have a wash sale unless you acquire substantially identical securities. This page explains when one share of stock is substantially identical to another.

Wash Sales and Replacement Stock
You don't have a wash sale, even though you bought identical shares within the previous 30 days, if the shares you bought aren't replacement shares.

Wash Sale Matching Rules
There are mechanical rules to handle the situation where you don't buy exactly the same number of shares you sold, or where you bought and sold multiple lots of shares.

Wash Sales and Options
You don't actually have to purchase stock within the wash sale period to have a wash sale. It's enough if you merely enter into a contract or options to buy replacement stock.

Short Sales and the Wash Sale Rule
Short sales present special problems in connection with the wash sale rule.

Same Day Rule for Wash Sales
The IRS causes confusion with a statement about gains and losses in the same day.

Traders and Wash Sales
There are special considerations in applying the wash sale rule to traders.