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<There are records of the price history and the splits. So there IS a basis for a calculation...That nunber, I will bet my hat, ass and overcoat, is greater than zero.>

Having records of the price history and splits is irrelevant if you do not have any records of WHEN the stock was bought. I do not disagree with you that the number would have to be greater than zero. You seem to keep missing my point which is that you have to START with a real number somewhere. Were the shares bought in 1970, 1975 or 1980?

You are correct that the IRS will generally allow reasonable estimates of expenses. Those reasonable estimates usually flow from a firm point. IE: I made X business trips to California last year. I flew, rented a car, stayed in a hotel and ate meals. Those are reasonable expenses which would be allowed as long as I could establish that I had a business need to go there. How much time and money is it worth to one to invest in calculating your cost basis? Will your costs end up being more than your savings?

I also said that you could try investor relations, but to not expect much in the way of results on records over 25 years old. This is especially true if there have been a number of mergers along the way. If you decided to leave the leg work up to your accountant, you would very quickly run into my other point which is paying more for the work than you would receive in the tax break. If you paid your accountant for 4 hours @150/hr you would be spending 600 to save 400 in the example, plus any of your own time spent on this.

<<As for the broker, if the IRS required, as it should, that brokerage firms require a basis for shares placed in their accounts, then that would settle that; and the brokerages, not to merntion the IRS and the tax practioners would be way ahead in man hours expended.>>

On this point, I would agree that it would be easier if one had all of the basis information placed in the account. The reality is that there is no requirement at all for them to do so. They are not responsible for maintaining records of your prior transactions. Responsibility always rests with the shareholder. Again they may offer to help, but if you just say these shares were bought some time in the 1970's and 80's they will likely start laughing at you.

Generally, I think we probably agree about many points. On the others I would say that we may agree to disagree. The poster or anyone else in a similar situation should decide for themselves what is the best course of action. The bottom line is that if people keep even reasonable records, the whole issue is avoided.


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