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This will surely show my ignorance, but here goes:

Stock A gains $100 and stock B looses $100 and I sell them. Do I pay capital gains on the $100 gain or does uncle sam consider this a wash and $0 tax is owed?

Thanks for you patience.

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If you have no other transactions, and presuming these ones are in the same year, no tax is owed. (I'm deliberately not saying it's a wash, because there are "wash sales" which are different.)

What you want to do is to go to IRS Form 1040, Schedule D, and fill out a mock version of that schedule, perhaps with imaginary gains and losses. The Form 1040 Instructions about Schedule D will help, but if you can't get your hands on them the schhedule itself will do. It's basically a worksheet.

I guess I'm doing a bit of preaching in the previous paragraph. I really feel that most people can fill out their own taxes. But, you have to be familiar with the forms in order to start.
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