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I have a $5000 long term cap gains on a stock sale. If I sell another long term stock for a loss of $8000, will I claim a capital loss of $3000 in the same tax year or is there something I'm missing?

Your question was answered by others, but let me throw out another thought. If you are paying gains at 15% rate or less, than maybe you don't want to offset you cap gains with a loss this year. If you are typically a very long term investor, maybe you don't plan to take any gains next year. If so, saving all $8k in losses for next year will allow you to offset $3k of income at your marginal rate, which hopefully is higher than 15% (if not offset you 15% cap tax this year). Or, if you plan to have short term gains next year (taxed at marginal rate), then offset those instead of the 15% ones. That said, it is not often easy to see what types of gains and losses you will have next year. But say you had something that ran up and was "overpriced" in your mind, then you could afford to lock in profits without worrying about short term gains.

Just a few thoughts.
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