TaxConnections Picture - Climbing a Pile of FilesHow many of you have ever had the frustrating job of trying to recreate basis on a stock or mutual fund for a client? Lots of fun isn’t it? The best place to start of course is in the clients records, because all of our clients keep well maintained documents and records and always bring us everything we need, right? What, no? OK, then where are some other avenues?

How about things like this:

1. Call the broker – Sometimes they have records that are not on the reporting documents or statements.

2. Trace back what records they do have – Have the client bring those stocks of unopened monthly statements or other communications from the brokers that they have stuffed in a drawer.

3. Call the employer if it’s Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESOP) or stock options – Most of the employers will either have records or can point you in the direction of the company that manages their plan.

4. Review prior year returns schedule D – Did they have some of the same stocks/funds on prior year returns? Where did they come up with that basis? Did they come up with a basis or just take $0 (possible amendment opportunity here).

These are all good options and great places to look at. How about the client who comes in who worked for AT&T for 30 years and has stock from the ESOP? AT&T has an investor relations site that can at least point you in the right Read More