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When determining wash sales start at a high-level.

First, did you realize a capital loss? If not then there was no wash sale. Ok, that's a little obvious but never overlook the easy answer just because it's obvious.

Second, did you close out your entire position in the stock prior to the end of the year and then stay out of the stock for 30 days into the new year. For example, you sold all of a particular stock on or before 12/31/1999 and didn't take a new position on or after 1/31/2000. If so, then any wash sales that occurred for that stock in 1999 are a moot point--all capital losses that occurred in 1999 can be recognized on your 1999 tax return...just like normal.

Third, if you've made it through the first two conditions THEN start looking at the particulars of the required 30-day period before or after the date of the loss sale.

The point is--don't waste time calculating the details of a wash sale you may not even have or is irrelevant.

Here's a Foolish link for a clearer explanation (They get paid for this stuff.)

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