Cost Basis

 

If you sell mutual funds or stock shares, it’s important you know the basis of the shares. Knowing the basis lets you accurately calculate your capital gain or loss. To calculate your gain or loss on the sale of the shares, subtract your basis from the amount you received for the shares.

When calculating the basis of stock or mutual fund shares you sell:

  • Make sure the amount you’re starting with is correct. To learn more about your starting basis, see the Original Basis and the Shares Bought Through Reinvestment tax tips.
  • Look at events that have happened since you bought the shares. Some might have changed the shares’ basis (Ex: nontaxable distributions). To learn more, see the Adjusted Basis tax tip.

You can use these methods to calculate the basis of mutual funds:

  • Average-basis method
  • Specific identification method
  • First-in, first-out method

However, you can’t use these methods to calculate the basis for stocks.

Related Topics

Related Resources

What Is State Income Tax Reciprocity?

Live in one state, but work in another? Review state income tax reciprocity rules with the team at H&R Block to learn how it may affect your taxes.

How to Keep Track of Your Tips for Tax Purposes

How much should a waitress claim in tips? Learn how to keep track of your tips for tax purposes with The Undercover Waitress, Beth Taylor, and H&R Block.

How to Calculate Capital Gains Tax

The first step in how to calculate long-term capital gains tax is generally to find the difference between what you paid for your property and how much you sold it for —adjusting for commissions or fees. Depending on your income level, your capital gain will be taxed federally at either 0%, 15% or 20%.

What is payroll tax?

Learn more about payroll tax and how it may affect you the next time you file, with guidance from the tax pros at H&R Block.