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I'm going over my 1099-B from my brokerage and I'm trying to understand why some of the trades are being marked as Wash Sales while other's under similar circumstances aren't. Here's an example set of transactions for one security (a broad market ETF), all lots of which were sold at a loss on the same day:

Bought   Sold    Loss    Wash
=======  ======  ======  ====
8/14/15  9/1/15  ($30)    NO
8/19/15  9/1/15  ($25)    NO
8/24/15  9/1/15  ($5)     NO
8/27/15  9/1/15  ($10)    YES - adjusted to $(0)

There were no other trades in this security for the whole year and no dividends were reinvested. I have other securities that had a similar pattern (same buy/sell dates) that have a different lot selected as a wash sale and other securities (again, same pattern) that have no wash sales.

My brokerage also provided me with a raw transaction details and it looks like the lot purchased on 8/14/15 has a cost basis $10 less than the the loss reported on the 1099-B so everything seems to balance out and I don't need to make any adjustment to the cost basis as reported.

However, I'm still wondering, why is this transaction being highlighted as a wash sale?

  • Was the purchase on 8/14/15 also wash from some earlier sale? That would explain the $10 appearing in its basis and also in this final adjustment. – user32479 Feb 18 '16 at 1:18
  • No, that is the totality of the trades in that security. I started 2015 with 0 shares and ended with 0 shares. – Spig Feb 18 '16 at 1:23
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    Wash sale can also apply to a "substantially similar" security. You didn't name your ETF, but there could be more than one "broad market ETF" that meets that criteria. Is there a corresponding adjustment on a different security? – user32479 Feb 18 '16 at 3:04
  • The brokerage is one of the popular robo-advisors and none of the other securities with the brokerage were substantially similar securities to the broad market ETF. – Spig Feb 18 '16 at 12:19

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