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The call (either covered or not) is the right to buy shares at the strike price.
As for the writer - the sale of the call has no tax effect.
If the contract expires - the writer's gain is the premium received - and is recognized at that time - so you are correct.
If you purchase shares to cover the call - and do not sell shares - there is no capital gain or loss recognized. When you sell shares with the loss - you will recognize a capital loss at that time.
Your capital losses will generally offset capital gains realized during the same tax year.
Let me know if you need any help.