Many investors have large losses from the stock market crash of 2008-2009. Such losses can be deducted, but no more than $3,000 a year. Thus, it could take you 10 years to get full tax savings from a $30,000 capital loss.

Instead, you should take capital gains whenever you. Such gains won’t be taxed as you use up your “bank” of capital losses. If you want to retain the securities you’re selling at a gain, you can buy them back right away, with no tax consequences. You’ll reduce the tax you’ll owe on a future sale.

Suppose Jan King has $30,000 of losses carried over from 2008. She also owns a gold fund that she bought 10 years ago. Her $10,000 investment in that fund is now worth $25,000.

Jan could sell her shares in the gold fund. Her $15,000 gain would be offset by $15,000 of her carried-over losses. Then Jan could take her $25,000 in sales proceeds and reinvest in the same fund, if she wishes.

If she did so, Jan would have a $25,000 cost basis in the gold fund, instead of a $10,000 cost basis. She’ll owe less tax when she eventually sells her shares. After selling assets at a gain, you can buy them back right away without triggering a wash sale.