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Author: mathetes Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 123538  
Subject: Re: Calculating cost basis? Date: 4/18/2001 1:08 PM
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How do we calculate the cost basis for this stock? I presume that AT&T probably could tell us how many shares he had back to 1984, but will that be good enough? If they can tell us how many he was issued at the NET acquisition, will that be good enough?

This is a common sense answer, not an informed tax lawyer/accountant answer. Start with the premise that you are trying to do an honest/reasonable accounting for something where the actual records are lost. I'm assuming, too, that you are not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here.... the more dollars involved, the more there would be reason to say you should be absolutely precise.

You do know how many AT&T shares you now have in your account, right. Do you know the split adjusted price in February and March of 1961 for those AT&T shares?

I'd be willing to bet that if you took the average of the split adjusted highs and lows of Feb/Mar 1961 you'd be very close to whatever the actual fully researched and documented price ends up being. "Close enough," as the saying goes, "for government work." And that's not meant to be cynical. My point is that the IRS isn't really trying to wring every last penny and then some. They are expecting each of us to be honest and reasonable.

Again, I wouldn't suggest this at all if the number of shares involved are large, because the effect of every cent of difference gets magnified many times over in multiplying by a large number.

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