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[[Actually, having confirmations going back to 1941 might not even be much
good. Suppose this company spun off a division back in the 50's. You'd still
have your original shares plus whatever shares you'd gotten of the new
company. The basis in the original company would be less than $10,000 now.]]

Right...but at least you could track that, and arrive at the correct basis...

[[ Further suppose you were only given the original stocks and not the ones that
were spun off. How do you (or a broker for that matter) research what spinoffs
and splits happened decades ago that would affect your basis in this gift?]]

The first thing that you would do is to try and check the tax returns of the person who sold the shares and find out what THEY used as the basis of the spun-off shares. Hopefully they prepared the basis statement correctly, and you would pick up the basis on the remaining shares. Even if they didn't make the basis computations correctly, you will be stuck with the computations that they actually made.

As far as the research, that is generally the easy part. Just call the investor relations people at the company and they can give you the information...all the way back to the 1940s.

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