You have the opportunity to control the taxable year in which to realize gains and losses. Gains and losses are realized when you sell, and if there are no market pressures, you can time sales to your advantage.
If you sell securities at a gain in 2017, and you held the securities more than one year, you can benefit from the 0%,15% or 20% rate for long-term capital gains.
The $3,000 limitation ($1,500 if married filing separately) on deducting capital losses from other types of income is a substantial restriction. If you have capital losses exceeding the $3,000 (or $1,500) limit, it is advisable to realize capital gains income that can be offset by the losses.
Investors who have multiple or numerous transactions throughout the year generally need not manually enter each transaction on self-prepared returns or provide details to a tax return preparer. Tax return preparation software allows transactions through brokerage firms and mutual fund companies to be imported to ...