Learn about cost-basis reporting changes and tax implications for covered securities and noncovered securities, and how capital gain tax works for each.
Getting ready for tax season? It’s time to take a look at cost basis and make sure you’re covered when it comes to correct reporting.
Back in 2001, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that 38% of taxpayers who reported a security sale incorrectly reported their taxable gain or loss. Why? Because they used an incorrect cost basis. These miscalculations created an $11 billion tax gap.
Congress included a provision in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 that requires brokers to report the cost basis of certain securities to the IRS and taxpayers when a sale occurred. The reporting requirements were rolled out in phases:
The heightened reporting requirements are now fully in effect.
Since 2011, sales and dispositions of property are reported on Schedule D and detailed on Form 8949. Six classification buckets are required for sale and disposition transaction details.
Understanding the difference between covered securities and noncovered securities is vital for cost-basis reporting. A few highlights:
Computing your taxable gains and losses hinges on adjusted cost basis and holding periods. The GainsKeeper platform helps track your trading capital gains and losses throughout the year by automatically adjusting your cost basis and gains/losses for all trades, wash sales, and corporate actions (such as splits).
You may have noticed changes in the way TD Ameritrade calculates, tracks, and adjusts cost basis for fixed-income securities. Enhancements to GainsKeeper are available to help you comply with federal regulations and report cost basis for options and fixed-income securities acquired on or after January 1, 2016.*
GainsKeeper will display the fixed-income adjustments to cost basis that brokers are required to make. These include:
*Please note that not every fixed-income security acquired starting January 1, 2016 will be required to report cost basis; some fixed-income securities will be excluded. For more information, please call a TD Ameritrade Fixed-Income Specialist at 800-934-4445. Watch for additional tools and resources in the Tax Center. Log in to tdameritrade.com > My Account > Tax Center.
This article is an update of the original “Cost Basis: Covered Securities and Tax Implications Explained,” published on January 13, 2014.
TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. Clients should consult with a tax advisor with regard to their specific tax circumstances.
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