I was reading up on tax loss harvesting because I recently sold some stock at a loss. I've know about the wash sale rule, but in my reading came across this information (emphesis mine)

This means the capital gain wouldn’t be canceled out. This reversal, known as the wash-sale rule, can come into effect whether the investor buys the equity back themselves or a mutual fund purchases the stock without the investor knowing.

I have shares in several different mutual funds. It seems possible (but I don't know for sure) that one of those funds may also hold a position in the stock I sold. Does the above mean that if one of those funds trades that stock I'd loose out on the ability to use the tax loss? How would that even work if I didn't know they traded the stock?

  • JMO but I find it hard to believe that there is correlated tracking between what an investor buys/sells in his personal account and what a mutual fund buys/sells in their portfolio. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


The thing that would be

according to IRS Publication 550 Investment Income and Expenses (Including Capital Gains and Losses)

A wash sale occurs when you sell or trade stock or securities at a loss and within 30 days before or after the sale you:

  1. Buy substantially identical stock or securities,
  2. Acquire substantially identical stock or securities in a fully taxable trade,
  3. Acquire a contract or option to buy substantially identical stock or securities, or
  4. Acquire substantially identical stock for your individual retirement arrangement (IRA) or Roth IRA.

I don't think that a part of a fund such as the S&P 500, and an investment in an individual stock are substantially identical.

  • There are wash sale rules for mutual funds/ETFs. Your tax statement from your broker will spell out what was long-term gains, what was short-term gains, and what was a wash sale.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 19:35

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