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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/im-helping-out-my-dad-w-his-taxes-and-he-sold-16710931.aspx

Subject:  Re: lost the original cost basis Date:  2/13/2002  3:11 PM
Author:  SandyPrice Number:  58918 of 121587

I'm helping out my dad w/ his taxes, and he sold a stock in Jan 2001 which he had apparently bought in the early 1980s. Problem is, he does not remember how he bought the stock (i.e. through what brokerage, or even if direct) and I cannot find an original cost basis for the stock. What do I do? Thanks.

We had a similar problem.

My wife got some American Can stock at some point (she didn't remember exactly when, but she had a date range).

I just made her cost basis the lowest price (lowest daily low) from that range.

You can get the information from S&P books in most large public libraries. Or post the name of the stock here and the date range; someone may know.

Be careful to allow for all the stock splits. Turned out with them her basis was really low, and the difference between the high and low in the date range made very little difference.

If all else fails, you can calculate based on a basis of zero and know that you didn't pay too little tax :-).
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