Menu

Updated

With regard to cost basis, what is the difference between “covered” and “noncovered” securities?

The main difference relates to who is responsible for reporting cost basis information to the IRS when you sell investments.

Covered cost basis means that your brokerage firm is responsible for reporting cost basis and sale information to the IRS. As part of this responsibility, your firm is required to send this information with your account when your transfer your account to a new broker.

Noncovered cost basis means that your brokerage firm is NOT responsible for reporting cost basis information to the IRS and will only report the sales information. For noncovered securities, you are responsible for reporting cost basis information to the IRS when you file your taxes. If you do not report your cost basis to the IRS, the IRS considers your securities to have been sold at a 100% capital gain, which can result in a higher tax liability.

Securities are typically “noncovered” if you acquired them before firms were required to report cost basis to the IRS (prior to January 1, 2011 for individual stocks and January 1, 2012 for mutual funds). Securities that you purchased after these dates are most likely “covered.” Your employer stock may also be considered a noncovered security.

Was this article helpful?

Wealthfront prepared this article for informational purposes and not as an offer, recommendation, or solicitation to buy or sell any security. Wealthfront and its affiliates may rely on information from various sources we believe to be reliable (including clients and other third parties), but cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. See our Full Disclosure for more important information.

Wealthfront and its affiliates do not provide tax advice and investors are encouraged to consult with their personal tax advisor. Financial advisory and planning services are only provided to investors who become clients by way of a written agreement. All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of money you invest. Past performance does not guarantee future performance.