Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Cost Basis runaround?
Old 04-16-2015, 03:57 AM   #1
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 12
Cost Basis runaround?

Hello,

I hope I'm posting in the right section. I created this account years back, posted maybe once but haven't in a long time..if there's a better section to post, please let me know..

Ok so I've been looking up Cost Basis since I may need to sell some stocks...some I had long before I transferred these mutual funds to my online broker account...and the online broker never bothered to keep the cost basis (funny how they were telling everyone how "we're in the 21st century! go online! the virtual world is great! high technology!" but never bothered to keep the cost basis)

Well no harm was done since I looked up the old mutual fund, and, after some work, finally got the numbers from them...another one, another old mutual fund, I don't have the numbers back but they cooperated and said they will send to me..

But this one old mutual fund, claims they don't have it. I can give you the longer story for entertainment (or for me to vent...) but they claim they don't have it...they are wrong on so many levels:

1. they say ask the online broker...who of course doesn't have it for any mutual fund

2. they say they don't have it but, about 18 months ago, I called this same mutual fund and they gave me cost basis for a few other funds (not the fund I need it for now..I had several funds with them) so they can't even pretend they never had it..

I call and I get "we'll look into it" and "we'll call you back" and then "call us" and I call and I get back to 1 or back to "we never had it, we never kept it" (even though 18 months ago they had it, while my shares were transferred in 2008 or so, to the online broker, yet the Mutual Fund had my into still in 2013 but in 2015, for the last fund I need info for...they claim "we never had that into, ask the online broker") and on and on...there are a few chapters more of silliness but this is probably already more detailed than you need to know...

Probably they lost it and don't want to admit (they did buy out another company that originally had the funds, and maybe got the Cost Basis for all the mutual funds except this one single fund from the old company)..

whatever the reason, I wonder, first, what my options are? and two, if I can't find anything, what should I do when I file my 1040 for the year (which might be 2015) when I do sell, what does IRS accept? reasonable fair guesses?

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
edlbym is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-16-2015, 05:00 AM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 225
I'm in the same boat with some stocks I sold in Jan of this year. I've got scraps of acct statements that my wife, thankfully, kept. Etrade claims they only kept records for 10 years. I'm making a best guess on purchase price/date and just averaging as these were dividend paying stocks. It's the best I can do at this point. I'm saving all the scraps of paper during the potential audit years.
__________________

__________________
davismills is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 06:26 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,627
Before 2012, there was no obligation for a broker, mutual fund company, or any financial institution to track your cost basis pf mutual fund shares. It was your obligation.

One was supposed to keep the statements that proved their cost basis. Usually the annual year-end statement was sufficient because it had a list of all the transactions.

Here are some answers to FAQs: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/hel...sisContent.jsp
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 06:35 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
Before 2012, there was no obligation for a broker, mutual fund company, or any financial institution to track your cost basis pf mutual fund shares. It was your obligation.

One was supposed to keep the statements that proved their cost basis. Usually the annual year-end statement was sufficient because it had a list of all the transactions.

Here are some answers to FAQs: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/hel...sisContent.jsp


+1 on that it is not the new broker that should have the basis....


You said you moved the accounts.... the new broker only gets what is given to them... if the old firm only moved money, that is all they got.... how can you blame them for the error of the old firm
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 06:41 AM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
ownyourfuture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 512
"what should I do when I file my 1040 for the year"

Do you know how many years you held the fund ?

how much money was in it initially ?

are performance & any dividend or capital gains records available for those years ?

fund expense ratios, etc?

If they are, you could just do a rough cost basis estimate.

If none of this is available, you'll just have to take a wild guess
__________________
ownyourfuture is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 07:53 AM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 882
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
Before 2012, there was no obligation for a broker, mutual fund company, or any financial institution to track your cost basis pf mutual fund shares. It was your obligation.
Right.

Even with new rules I am maintaining my own records for covered shares.
__________________
jebmke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 08:35 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,474
Your frustration should be with yourself for not keeping the requisite records, not with the your broker or the fund companies.

If your income in 2015, with the proceeds from the sale of the fund assuming a zero cost basis will be in the 15% tax bracket then you could just sell, put in the basis as zero and still not owe any taxes since capital gains taxes are zero for those in the 15% tax bracket.

If not, then you might sell over a number of years to stay within the 15% bracket.

Otherwise, the only thing you can do is get whatever records for transactions are available and determine your basis for those lots, then for other lots either make a reasonable estimate with the understanding that there is tax risk associated with it or use zero as your basis and avoid any tax risk.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 08:50 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,531
pb4uski has some interesting ideas.

I'll add that instead of 0 (which is safe, but unfortunate), you could also take the lowest price for the fund in the year in which you bought it. Can't remember the year? How about the decade? Take the lowest for the decade.

That's better than 0, and should still be bullet proof for an unlikely audit.
__________________
JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 08:58 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,006
Do you have all your old tax returns from the years you had it? Remember any capital gain distributions reduced the basis because you already paid taxes on them.

Try Morningstar or the Fund company's site to get an idea what the value was around the time you bought it. Do something reasonable, document the heck out of it (in your own files, in case you're audited), then forget it.
__________________
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 09:03 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,474
Quote:
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Do you have all your old tax returns from the years you had it? Remember any capital gain distributions reduced the basis because you already paid taxes on them. ....
You mean CG distributions that are reinvested increased the basis, not reduce it, right? They increase the basis and reduce the gain.

Also, same for dividends that were reinvested. You can get the annual dividend from Schedule B of the tax return if applicable if dividends were reinvested.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 09:42 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3,006
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
You mean CG distributions that are reinvested increased the basis, not reduce it, right? They increase the basis and reduce the gain.

Also, same for dividends that were reinvested. You can get the annual dividend from Schedule B of the tax return if applicable if dividends were reinvested.
Right- thanks for the correction.
__________________
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 09:55 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 260
29 years in corporate life, 3 companies, this rolled into that, I have been in this boat a few times (including this 2014 tax filing). I think that if I can show a reasonably well thought out calculation of CB should I get audited, there will be no problem. I do what others have suggested here, I dig through old records and find the earliest evidence of when I owned the holding, then usually either take an average for that year, or take the lowest value for the year. Important thing is to have a piece of paper in your records, with your return copy that explains the rational/calculation and file it away. If you get audited 1-3 years from now, don't trust yourself to remember how you did it. I have read that if you can pull out a piece of paper and explain your number, you will be fine..
__________________
doneat54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 10:31 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,474
Agreed, as long as the agent thinks that you made a good faith effort and that the result is reasonable in the circumstances chances are good that they will accept it.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 10:40 AM   #14
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 45
I just finished taxes and had a lot of trouble with some tax free school bonds I sold last year. They were bought a couple of years after their original issue at a premium above the original issue and sold before maturity at a LTCG. I could not have calculated the basis without a LOT of help from the brokerage. They helped even though I wasn't using them when the bonds were originally bought. I don't know where they found the original discount. I looked on EMMA and it wasn't listed.
__________________
Bogie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 10:57 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
I helped a friend this year with exactly that problem for an inherited stock. I used Google and got the answer. Pick a date, give the abbreviation for the mutual fund and Google it. If you get an answer print it out, done!
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 11:50 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
I helped a friend this year with exactly that problem for an inherited stock. I used Google and got the answer. Pick a date, give the abbreviation for the mutual fund and Google it. If you get an answer print it out, done!
Inherited stock should have the basis on the value on date of death... should be easy to get...
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 12:01 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
Yes, my friend knew the date and the name of the stock but her Mother passed away years ago. My friend was in a twit and was prepared to treat the sale as a 100% gain. It turned out that it was a substantial loss which offset other LTC gains. She is kicking herself for not watching the stock but was delighted with the LTCG offset.

I suggest that the OP pick a date around where s/he purchased the fund and see what happens. Check the opening date of the fund add a year or two.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 12:29 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,294
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Inherited stock should have the basis on the value on date of death... should be easy to get...
I've read that a zillion times, then I came across one article that said you take the open and the close on the date of death, and average them! And if the death occurred on a w/e, you use the previous close and the next open to average.

edit - correction; that's the average of the daily high-low, here's one link:

https://www.key.com/html/investment-taxes-articles.html

Quote:
Take the average of the high and low prices for the date of death.
FURTHER edit....

http://wiki.fool.com/How_to_Calculat...nherited_Stock

Quote:
Compute the average stock price on the selected date by adding together the opening price plus the closing price and dividing by two. If the date of death was on a weekend, average the share prices, opening and closing for Friday and Monday. The result is your cost basis share price.

Obviously not going to make much difference in almost all cases, but I wonder if that is really the IRS requirement for determining 'value'? Of course,a mutual fund doesn't trade during the day, so it's the same thing.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 03:31 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I've read that a zillion times, then I came across one article that said you take the open and the close on the date of death, and average them! And if the death occurred on a w/e, you use the previous close and the next open to average.

edit - correction; that's the average of the daily high-low, here's one link:

https://www.key.com/html/investment-taxes-articles.html

FURTHER edit....

http://wiki.fool.com/How_to_Calculat...nherited_Stock

Obviously not going to make much difference in almost all cases, but I wonder if that is really the IRS requirement for determining 'value'? Of course,a mutual fund doesn't trade during the day, so it's the same thing.

-ERD50
This is one of the many cases where I would just do what makes the most sense (in this case use the closing value), then if the IRS came sniffing around I'd make whatever change they demanded and give them a roll or two of pennies for the penalty. Now if the estate was in the multi millions I might not do it that way, but if it was there's be an estate lawyer, a tax lawyer, and a CPA involved and you wouldn't be doing the cost basis yourself. But in most cases, KISS.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 03:37 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gauss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,712
Did you buy the fund in question all at once or did you buy in over time (not talking about CG distributions here)? Seems like the answer to this question will have a lot to do with how complicated the task will be to reconstruct the basis.

p.s. Isn't this a service that a CPA can provide? Depending on how much is at stake here, perhaps some professional help may be appropriate.

Even if you claim a reasonable basis, and the IRS audits you, your downside risk would be limited. The difference in basis between what you claimed and 0. Add in late to pay penalty (~0.5 percent/month) + interest (~ 3%/year) and you are looking at around 9%/year combined. That is half what the average person spends on credit card interest! Assume 3 year window for audit assuming you haven't underreported your income by more than 25% ( seven year audit window) or are submitting a fraudulent return (unlimited audit window) and you should be able to make an informed decision.

You can get a rolling 10 years of back 1099-s and W2-s from the IRS instantly by requesting a transcript online. The returns only go back 3 years however. Not sure if this would help in your case.
edit: actually it would help. You would see the 1099-divs for the fund each year for dividend and cg distributions. You could back out your shares owned each year (at least for the past 10 years). I should do this professionally..

Perhaps as others have said assume you purchased one day each year at the lowest price of the year to keep your basis low. Then the only question is how to allocate the purchases (ie all in one year or an equal # of shares each year etc).

Oh, and by the way, in case you haven't heard IRS audits may be at historically low levels this year due to budget cuts. If you are not Uber high income (ie 1M/year) or a business, or have been caught with misreported income in a prior audit, your risk of audit may be very low.

-gauss

p.s. On a related note, some day I will start up a thread about the record-keeping requirements for Roth IRAs for ERs who want to take their conversions out tax free before age 59 1/2 as allowed by law. In my case this goes back 25 years of records! (see form 8606 line 24).
__________________

__________________
gauss is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cost basis, investor rights, irs, mutual funds


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Refinance Runaround cindylynn13 FIRE and Money 5 09-25-2010 01:25 PM
Mutual Fund Cost Basis RedHawk Young Dreamers 5 01-18-2007 02:14 PM
Investment cost basis justification for taxes Delawaredave FIRE and Money 8 01-07-2007 09:21 PM
Cost Basis - Capital Gains Question Jeb-NY FIRE and Money 16 11-13-2006 08:24 PM
How to manually update cost/basis information at Vanguard? soupcxan FIRE and Money 3 06-20-2006 11:56 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:56 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.