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Subject:  Re: lost the original cost basis Date:  2/14/2002  1:05 PM
Author:  gurdison Number:  58974 of 127613

<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?>

This question is a little early. Usually we see a whole bunch of them right around April 15.

As others have said, you could try investor relations. If the company has had no changes in ownership and a few splits along the way the task will be simple. Of course in many cases the original company has long since ceased to exist due to mergers, spinoffs, etc. The new company is not obligated to provide any of the old company information. Even if they give you merger related data, it will not likely include any split or other data prior to the merger.

If the company your father invested in has done very well, you may find out that his cost basis could actually be below a dollar per share. I think you need to quantify how significant the dollars are so you can decide how much effort should be put into your search. If the gain is very high, it may be that estimated payments should have been made during the quarter of the sale. It may be very unlikely that the return would be audited, but if it were it is the taxpayers obligation to "prove" the cost basis.


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