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<MY PROBLEM: Mother in law gave us shares of AON CORP(AOC) about 6 years ago. She never kept records of when/what cost/etc that she got her stock(most of it over a 20 year period came from dividend reinvestments/ stock splits). There is NO WAY I can determine what her basis was when she gave us the stock.

What do I do to determine a basis so i can sell them?>

Determining the cost basis is YOUR responsibility. The broker or the company have no obligation to provide any of this data. Often shareholder relations might be able to help you, but I would doubt it in your case as you are talking about records over 25 years old. Also M&A activity often results in the old company's records getting lost in the shuffle.

Others may tell you to make a guess at what the basis probably would be. If you go that route remember that if audited, you will be required to produce "proof".

If you look at the bigger picture, you were given something of value for no investment on your part. Since we are looking at LTCG, you will be taxed at a 20% rate. If you use ZERO as your basis, your tax will be 20% of the net proceeds. You will still have 80% of what is left (less any state tax obligations). This figure is considerably more than you started with. Keeping good records is an essential element of stock ownership. Unfortunately, not everyone follows that practice.


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