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all you do is subtract $4 from your cost basis when you calculate your gain or loss on sale

Hi Ira,

Thank you for your reply. That's what I thought and I did realize the net effect was to lower the basis. However, the wording of the text on Ameritrade's site led me to the more convoluted resolutions of the situations.

Any portion of the special dividend in excess of each holder's pro rata share of TD AMERITRADE's earnings and profits will be treated first as a tax-free return of capital up to each holder's basis in its shares of TD AMERITRADE common stock, with any remainder treated as a capital gain.

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