When you file your taxes, you may need to file Schedule D, the "Capital Gains and Losses" form, if you sold any assets, especially stocks or real estate, for a profit or a loss during the year. You attach your completed Schedule D to your Form 1040. You will need to know the "cost" or "basis" (not necessarily the same amount) of your asset and the price you sold it for, as well as the dates you bought and sold it, to complete this form. It can be complicated and confusing, so you might want to consult a tax professional.
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Things you need
- 1099B statements
- Forms 6252, 4684, 6781 or 8824
- Schedule K-1
- Instructions for Schedule D
- Purchase and sales information (dates and amounts)
- About 3 to 5 hours of your time
Gather all pertinent forms. This will include any 1099Bs from your stockbroker. These forms should include most of the information you need to complete Schedule D. Report the sales of short-term assets on the top of Schedule D, and long-term assets on the bottom. While Schedule D usually is used for stocks, it is also used for any and all assets that you sold for a gain or at a loss.
Separate your short-term capital gains and losses from your long-term capital gains and losses. The IRS defines short-term losses or gains as losses or gains on assets held for 12 months or less. Long-term is for assets held for longer than 12 months. For stock sales, scan through the 1099B forms and separate the short-term from the long-term. Some 1099Bs will have done this for you, some won't. For other assets, you will need to have the basic information discussed below.
Enter the information into the worksheet. Enter the assets you sold in the first column. The second column is for the date you acquired the asset. For stocks sales, remember that some 1099Bs don't have this information for stock held for more than a year, so you may have to contact your broker to get this data. The third column is for the date of the sale of the assets, and the fourth column is for the sales price. The cost or basis is entered into the fifth column. Determining your gain or loss is a simple matter of subtracting the cost or basis from the sales price. Understand that sometimes there is a difference between the cost of an asset and it's basis. One example would be in the inheritance of an asset. Your basis in the asset would be that asset's value at the moment you inherited it, not the original cost paid by the one bequeathing you the asset.
Calculate losses unrelated to asset sales. The next four lines involve the calculation of amounts from other capital gains or losses from other activities. These include instalment sales (Form 6252), casualty losses (Form 4684), contracts and straddles (Form 6781), like-kind exchanges (Form 8824) and gains or losses from any partnerships, S-Corporations or estates and trusts (K1s). Capital Loss Carryovers, or losses from previous years that could not be deducted in those previous years and had to be carried over to a following year, are included here. The resulting total will be the short-term gain or loss for the current tax year.
Calculate your long-term gain or loss. Part II of Schedule D is similar to Part I as far as recording your information. Use Form 4797 to report a gain or loss on the sale of business property, including real estate, equipment and other assets. Form 2439 is for corporations to report capital gains that they did not distribute to shareholders.
Complete the calculations to find your total gain or loss. The second page of the form helps you calculate the taxes on the gains or the amounts of the losses that can be transferred over to the Form 1040. Lines 7 and 15 are the total results for both the short- and long-term gains or losses. The total goes here in line 16. If both amounts are gains, use the calculations from the Schedule D instructions pages to calculate the taxes.
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