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Ashley Madison CEO steps down
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Student dies after shooting at Savannah State
Icahn discloses stake in Freeport McMoRan
Buzz Aldrin wants to colonize Mars in 25 years
Migrant death toll in truck near Vienna now 70

Craft beer acquisition by Duvel — stay small, stay beautiful
Firestone is latest U.S. brewer to join the Duvel family

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Record $29.5 billion yanked from stock funds

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Both worry, be happy that stocks aren’t a sure bet

A sign for Moody's rating agency is displayed at the company headquarters in New York, September 18, 2012.  AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
ADP debt-funded buyback raises Moody’s ire

Apple Watch shipments  surprise IDC

Apple to host Sept. 9 product event
Apple closes in on Fitbit in wearables

Democratic leaders frustrated by Clinton’s handling of email issue
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New Orleans 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina: Then and now
Obama in New Orleans to mark 10 years


These are the best jobs for millennials
These are the best jobs for millennials


How momentum investing could go out of style
Momentum investing could be going out of style

Tesla Model S scores 103 on 100-point scale
Tesla Model S scores 103 on 100-point scale
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The Tax Blog
The latest news, insights and tips about taxes

Calculating Cost Basis: A Taxing Exercise

New cost basis rules will make tax filing season a little easier for investors next year (when filing 2011 taxes) by shifting some reporting responsibilities to financial firms and away from investors.

But, investors aren’t off the hook. To avoid a huge tax headache at the end of this year, investors will need to be proactive by coordinating with their brokers, deciding earlier how they want to report trades and keeping more precise records.

Starting this year, financial institutions and brokers are required to track their customers’ cost basis — or the price they paid when they purchased shares, including commissions — and report that information to the Internal Revenue Service.   Investment companies had to start tracking and reporting stocks and some exchange-trade funds this year but reporting requirements for other investments, such as mutual funds, bonds and options are being phased in during 2012 and 2013.

With many institutions setting default methods for how they want to report cost basis, the onus is on investors to check in early if they want to use a particular method when reporting trades—such as whether the oldest shares should be sold first, if an average cost for all the shares should be used or if specific shares should be sold. The default method for reporting stock trades, for instance, is “first in first out,” where the oldest shares are reported as being sold first. That might be bad if your shares have grown substantially in price since you first purchased them. In that situation you might want to minimize your capital gains—and your tax bill—by selling newer shares, which you purchased at a higher price.

If you don’t tell the company which method to use before the trade settles–which typically happens three days after the trade takes place–the provider will use its default, advisers say. But if you make your wishes known the deadline the company has to use the method you selected, an IRS spokesman said.

“The risk is that if you don’t act to figure out what method is best for you then at the end of the year that’s not going to be calculated necessarily in your interest,” says Constance Stone, president of Stepping Stone Financial, a registered investment advisory firm based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Before now, investors were solely responsible for calculating their cost basis for investment transactions – a task that even the pros say isn’t easy. And since the IRS required little documentation to prove what method was used, mistakes could go uncaught—and so could fraud—when investors reported gains and losses.  Taxpayers could also decide the sale methods for all of their trades altogether at the end of the year, when they had a better idea of what their overall tax bill could look like.

Now investors will have to make these decisions at the time of trade, forcing them to spread out their tax planning throughout the year, says Joseph Votava, president of Seneca Financial Advisors, based in Rochester, N.Y.

The new rules will be felt more acutely next year, when investors receive 1099-B forms from investment companies that show the cost basis information for shares purchased in 2011. The forms should reflect your proceeds from brokerage transactions along with the cost basis information for shares purchased or acquired this year and it should be reported in the method you selected.  Even with this documentation, investors will still be responsible for calculating cost basis on many of their trades, since financial firms and brokers are not required to provide the cost basis for shares purchased before this year.

“You as an investor have to agree with the number sent to the IRS [by the financial institution], so you’re still going to have to keep your records and maintain them,” says Stevie Conlon, senior director and tax counsel at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. “This will probably force (people) to become more educated (to follow) these rules.”

Confused yet? Readers, how will you handle your cost basis calculations? Why?

Comments

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Comments (5 of 12)

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    • Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    • By WebOsPublisher

      is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?
      /**
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      * Style: ‘PC Review 3.8′; Style ID: 2
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      MS Excel shortcut
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      Guest
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      ‘s Computer Specifications
      15th Sep 2005
      is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?
      Dave Peterson
      Guest
      Posts: n/a
      ‘s Computer Specifications
      15th Sep 2005
      Not really.
      But there are lots of merge icons that you could drag to your favorite toolbar.
      Tools|customize|commands tab|format category
      Merge Across
      can get do each row (separately) in your selection.
      There’s an unmerge, too.
      chrislamm wrote:
      >
      > is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?

      Dave Peterson
      =?Utf-8?B?cm1lbGxpc29u?=
      Guest
      Posts: n/a
      ‘s Computer Specifications
      15th Sep 2005
      Ctrl + 1 will get you to the format cells window but I don’t know of a
      keyboard shortcut for merge. However, in Excel 2000 (don’t know about other
      versions)there’s button on the formatting toolbar to ‘merge and center’ (it
      is to the right of the ‘align text’ buttons). Simply highlight the cells and
      click.
      "chrislamm" wrote:
      > is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?
      =?Utf-8?B?Y2hyaXNsYW1t?=
      Guest
      Posts: n/a
      ‘s Computer Specifications
      20th Sep 2005
      Many thanks!
      "rmellison" wrote:
      > Ctrl + 1 will get you to the format cells window but I don’t know of a
      > keyboard shortcut for merge. However, in Excel 2000 (don’t know about other
      > versions)there’s button on the formatting toolbar to ‘merge and center’ (it
      > is to the right of the ‘align text’ buttons). Simply highlight the cells and
      > click.
      >
      > "chrislamm" wrote:
      >
      > > is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?
      =?Utf-8?B?Y2hyaXNsYW1t?=
      Guest
      Posts: n/a
      ‘s Computer Specifications
      20th Sep 2005
      Many thanks.
      "Dave Peterson" wrote:
      > Not really.
      >
      > But there are lots of merge icons that you could drag to your favorite toolbar.
      >
      > Tools|customize|commands tab|format category
      > Merge Across
      > can get do each row (separately) in your selection.
      >
      > There’s an unmerge, too.
      >
      >
      > chrislamm wrote:
      > >
      > > is there a keyboard shortcut for "Merge" function in excel?
      >
      > –
      >
      > Dave Peterson
      >
      «
      I do a calculation in a cell, but it calcs as zero!
      |
      How do I count number of cells with info??
      »
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    • By WebOsPublisher

      animated name icons windows update icon disappears soccer aim icons desktop icon in taskbar save the last dance icons icon langen
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    • Hi Snowball! That grwoth 5.5 is the real GDP grwoth, where the inflation has been substracted already. The nominal grwoth would be above 10%.The main change in Slovakia was a conceptual one – the taxes were designed to collect as much as the previous year. You can’t really see the effect of the Laffer curve immediately on the increased tax revenue. You see it on the GDP grwoth which will imply a higher revenue next year. It has some inertia.Laffer certainly did not claim that if you reduce the taxes to one half of the rate now, you will immediately get a higher revenue: sure that in the short term you will get one half of the previous revenue. But the point is that a reduced tax rate allows the subjects to be more active, grow, and pay more taxes next year or tomorrow.

    • For some people 20% is a lot to put down. There are many insnetcas where the parents could help out. They can sign onto the mortgage as a guarantor. After one year they can be removed from the mortgage through a lawyer. Lenders want to see that you are good with credit prove your responsible and lenders will have no problem with you in the future. There are many times a guarantor is needed for younger professionals without any credit history. Speak to a mortgage broker they can help you. The slow way is to get a credit card from your bank and start using it. Make sure your payments are on time and in 3-6 months you will start seeing your score. Typically, you need 1 or 2 open lines of trade (credit card, line of credit, personal loan) to get a higher score. Make sure you make your credit card payments right away and try not to carry any balances over to the next month. Keep your statement balance at $0 while using your card regularly

About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (SmartMoney.com), retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at thetaxblog@dowjones.com.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News

New York Markets Close in:

need to know
Ashley Madison CEO steps down
Amgen gets FDA OK for cholesterol treatment
Student dies after shooting at Savannah State
Icahn discloses stake in Freeport McMoRan
Buzz Aldrin wants to colonize Mars in 25 years
Migrant death toll in truck near Vienna now 70

Craft beer acquisition by Duvel — stay small, stay beautiful
Firestone is latest U.S. brewer to join the Duvel family

Instead of flavored vodka, flavored sake?

Never use a market order when stocks are selling off
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Lack of fear means this correction isn’t finished

Most imposing stock ‘wall of worry’ in 5 years

John Bogle sees promise in market pullbacks
A strategy to make money in this crazy market
Record $29.5 billion yanked from stock funds

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A sign for Moody's rating agency is displayed at the company headquarters in New York, September 18, 2012.  AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
ADP debt-funded buyback raises Moody’s ire

Apple Watch shipments  surprise IDC

Apple to host Sept. 9 product event
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Hurricane Katrina: Then and now
Obama in New Orleans to mark 10 years


These are the best jobs for millennials
These are the best jobs for millennials


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Tesla Model S scores 103 on 100-point scale
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Colbert should ask Elon Musk, Kalanick this
$400,000 supercar goes up in flames

How to cope when you’re suddenly uninsured

/conga/frontpage.html 353586

Markets »

64.04MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 111.57M
Unchanged
195
Decliners
2276
Advancers
4024
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,604 -51 0.30%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,814 +1 0.02%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,983 -4 0.22%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,367 +7 0.29%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,133 +10 0.92%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 45.29 +2.73 6.41%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 6,248 +56 0.90%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 10,299 -17 0.17%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,675 +17 0.36%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 21,994 -208 0.93%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 10,353 +63 0.61%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 363 +1 0.28%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,798 +45 1.64%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 19,136 +562 3.03%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 21,612 -226 1.04%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 3,232 +149 4.82%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 26,392 +161 0.61%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,956 +11 0.36%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.12 -0.01 0.60%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 121.34 +0.31 0.26%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.54 0.00 0.07%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.72 0.00 0.06%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.11 +0.35 0.36%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.47 +0.20 0.23%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 2.18 -0.01 0.28%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.75 +0.00 0.17%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.91 -0.02 0.80%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 2.06 +0.01 0.26%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.85 -0.02 0.96%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.38 -0.01 2.48%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 45 +3 6.41%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,133 +10 0.92%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/7599553/delayed 374 -1 0.20%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/38649152/delayed 16,588 -62 0.37%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/30356461/delayed 1,981 -8 0.42%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/3134148/delayed 15 +0 0.57%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 90.59 0.86 0.96%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 112.74 -0.18 -0.16%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/30194416/composite 626.62 -10.99 -1.72%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 16.31 -0.13 -0.79%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 53.06 -0.38 -0.71%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 13.71 0.15 1.11%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 33.25 -0.19 -0.57%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 33.10 0.07 0.21%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 25.05 0.04 0.16%
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.5%
2 yr CD
0.8%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.3%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.62% 11.62% 11.53%
Business 12.85% 12.85% 12.85%
Student 13.14% 13.14% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.12% 14.12% 14.00%
Airline 15.10% 15.10% 15.15%
Reward 15.14% 15.14% 14.99%
Cash Back 15.27% 15.27% 15.26%
Instant Approval 18.00% 18.00% 17.93%
Bad Credit 22.73% 22.73% 22.48%
Source:CreditCards.com

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