An unrealized loss occurs when a stock decreases after an investor buys it, but he or she has yet to sell it. If a large loss remains unrealized, the investor is probably hoping the stock's fortunes will turn around and the stock's worth will increase past the price at which it was purchased.
If the stock rose back above the original price, then the investor would have an unrealized gain for the time he or she still holds onto the stock. Gains or losses are said to be "realized" when a stock is sold. This is especially important from a tax perspective as, in general, capital gains are taxed only when they are realized. Unrealized gains and losses are simply those amounts that are the result of what a position is worth versus what you paid for it. Realized gains and losses are what get reported to the IRS in a taxable account versus a tax-deferred or qualified account, like an IRA when you actually sell the shares.
When this is done in a personal account, you will then be subject to taxation depending on the circumstances of the transaction.
Many difference between realized and unrealized foreign exchange gains should be made when deciding on what steps to take with positions at a gain or loss. When you buy a security, like a stock, the price will fluctuate. If it goes up from your purchase price, you have a gain, if it goes down you have a loss.
Whenever an asset is exchanged or sold, the IRS considers that event "realization". Usually whenever realization occurs, "recognition" the inclusion into taxable income must occur unless there is an exemption.
As long as assets aren't exchanged or sold there is no realization therefore the term "unrealized".
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Difference Between Realized and Unrealized Gains | Realized vs Unrealized Gains
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Difference between unrealized and realized foreign exchange
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Foreign exchange gains and losses
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