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"I'm considering selling some stock (which I've owned for over 12 months) which will result in a loss of aprox 12K dollars. I'm in the 31% tax bracket, if I sell the stock prior to 1 Jan is it true I can claim 31% of the total loss on my 1999 taxes? I haven't sold any stocks this year resulting in a capital gain, but I will have approx 15K worth of C.D. interest to claim this year."

Sales through the last trading day in 1999 are reportable in 1999 even though the "settlement date" is in 2000. Assuming you have no short or long term capital gains, $3,000 of your $12,000 loss would offset other income ostensibly at your marginal rate for a tax benefit of $930 (0.31 X $3,000). $9,000 would be carried forward as a long term capital loss carryforward available to offset capital gains or ordinary income up to $3,000 in 2000.
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