I hope the title is accurate/descriptive. Open to suggestions edits if something makes more sense after reading.

The best way I can describe this is with a scenario. So:

  1. $5,000 is invested in stock A

  2. Stock A increases in value by 20%($1,000) over the next 3 months

  3. Stock A is sold and $5,000 taken out of the brokerage account as cash on hand while $1,000 is invested in stock B

  4. It's the end of year and $1,000 + profit/loss is still invested

Would I pay short term capital gains on $1,000, and long term capital gains on profit from the 'left over' $1,000 when sold? Or no tax yet as the profit isn't realized since it was reinvested into a "security of the same type", and long term capital gains after Stock B is sold.

Another way to phrase this might be: "If money is removed from an investment after it's increased in value with exact balance of the profit still invested, is the profit still invested considered your capital gain, or would the profit be considered a part of the divested money, and what's left a portion of the initially deposited amount?"

1 Answer 1


Assuming this is a standard brokerage account and not a tax-deferred account like an IRA, whether you took any out in cash or reinvested it is irrelevant. You made a $1,000 gain in less than one year from your sale of Stock A. That is what you'll pay short-term capital gains tax on.

If your sale of Stock B is sold within one year if its purchase, you'll also pay short-term gains on that. The "short vs long" distinction is per security (and even per lot within a security).

There is the concept of "substantially identical securities" that does not reset the clock, but they have to be virtually identical, like a converted class of shares on the same company. Changing investments from stock in one company to another would not qualify.

  • "Doh" I was applying the principle of what I read in this hsh.com/homeowner/… (or similar article) to any and all assets/investments. I'm going to read up a bit more but doubt a 1031 exchange (or equivalent) is available outside real estate. (yes I've been streaming The Simpsons lately)
    – TCooper
    Jun 17, 2020 at 21:40
  • Planning to mark this as accepted tomorrow btw. It answers my question, just like that 24 hour rule to see if there are other answers/other related information added
    – TCooper
    Jun 17, 2020 at 22:51
  • 2
    There used to be some ambiguity as to what types of property exactly a 1031 exchange could be applied to. As of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs act in late 2017, this is no longer true; it applies strictly and only to real estate. Jun 18, 2020 at 4:47

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