Code Section 465 of the Internal Revenue Code defines ‘At-Risk’ as the financial value the taxpayer has in jeopardy related to the business activity the taxpayer is invested in as some form of an owner. Effectively, the taxpayer may only take losses on his tax return contingent on the loss being directly tied to invested dollars with some form of tax basis.
‘Capital losses’ is a term used to describe the loss taken on a capital investment sale. In effect, the cost basis of the investment is greater than the sales price resulting in a capital loss. Capital losses are commonly reported on the taxpayer’s Schedule D in the tax return.
When a product or investment is sold, the seller must realize a gain or loss from the transaction. The actual sale or transaction will trigger the gain or loss realized. In effect, the receipt of cash sets the threshold for a ‘REALIZED’ amount. Unrealized gains or losses are potential i.e. on paper transactions.