In accounting, the sale of an investment or asset for less than the purchase price. Individuals and companies may use recognized losses to offset taxable income from other gains. For example, if a company has $5,000 in capital gains in a given year and $2,500 in recognized losses, its taxable income on the capital gains is only $2,500. Recognized losses can also be applied to future years. For example, if a company has no taxable income in a given year, recognized losses may offset taxes on profits for up to a certain number of years. See also: Future income taxes.
The amount by which an investment's acquisition cost exceeds the net proceeds from its sale. A realized loss, as opposed to a paper loss, may be used to reduce taxable income. Compare unrealized loss.