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<<My question is: Can I convey my $2,000 contribution to the IRA in the form of already-owned stock? Would it be
considered a sale (complete with capital gains) and a subsequent purchase or would my basis in the stock be the
purchase price I paid before I set up the IRA?>>

Nope. Sorry. Can't.

IRA contributions are required to be made in cash only. It simply wouldn't be allowed...regardless of if you deemed it a sale or not.

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