Imagine your rich parent or relative gives you a real estate property, vacant lot or stocks. And then a number of years later, your parent or relative dies and you decide to sell the gift. Your tax preparer says you’ll need to calculate capital gains on the sale, and asks for your basis to offset it with the sale. So here’s the question: “What’s your basis?”
Hello, this is Noel Dalmacio, your ultimate CPA at lowermytaxnow.
Basis is the amount of capital investment in the property which is commonly called the purchase costs. So when you sell a property or stocks received as a gift, the general rule is that your basis is the donor’s cost basis or purchase costs. So if you sell it for a gain, you need to use the donor’s basis or costs. But if you sell at a loss, your cost is the lower of the donor’s basis or the fair market value on the date you received the gift.
But without cost records, you have no way of proving the donor’s basis and no way of saving yourself tax dollars.
So what do you do? So next time, when you receive a gift, explain why you need the cost basis to make the conversation less awkward. No one likes to pay unnecessary taxes. So I recommend having the same conversation about the cost of valuable gifts you received in prior-years. That’s very important!
Now conversely, if you’re the gift-giver or the one giving the gifts, offer the additional gift of presenting the cost records to your recipient at the same time. Otherwise, you may end up giving an unintended gift to the IRS in the form of…unnecessary taxes.
There you have it. So next time, when you receive a valuable gift like a property, vacant lot or stocks, ask and inquire about the cost records so that at the time of sale, you will avoid unnecessary taxes.
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Until then, this is Noel Dalmacio, your ultimate CPA at lowermytaxnow.com.