If a stock that I purchased in 2013 lost money overall in that year but then in 2014 the stock increased to the amount I paid for it, do I pay 2014 taxes on the stock increase?

My account history shows that I might not have actually earned a single dime, but in 2014 it appears that I made money on stocks.

2 Answers 2


You don't generally pay capital gains taxes until you sell the stock.

If you bought it in 2013 and the price goes up in 2014 but you just hold on to the stock, you won't have to pay any taxes on it. If you then sold it in 2015 for a profit, you'd have to pay capital gains taxes on the profit.

Note that this excludes dividends. Dividends may complicate the matter somewhat. I'm also assuming you are in the U.S. or Canada, or a country like one of those two. It's possible some other country does taxes differently, though it'd surprise me.

  • 4
    The term for gains or losses shown on your brokerage statement for stocks you have not sold but have changed prices are considered "unrealized gains" or "unrealized losses".
    – Alex B
    Mar 6, 2015 at 18:27
  • Yes, his public profile has him on Long Island, NY, USA. I edited location. Mar 6, 2015 at 18:28
  • 4
    Just to clarify, the profit or loss if the sale price minus the purchase price. Any change in the stock price in between purchase and sale is irrelevant.
    – KeithB
    Mar 6, 2015 at 18:35

The tax is only payable on the gain you make i.e the difference between the price you paid and the price you sold at.

In your cse no tax is payable if you sell at the same price you bought at

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .