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Cost basis information

Tips and tools to make cost basis work for you.
2 minute read

What cost basis is

In its broadest sense, cost basis refers to the price you paid for your shares. That figure is adjusted upward for reinvested dividends and capital gains and any commissions or transaction fees you paid.

What cost basis won't necessarily tell you is how much money you made on an investment. It's intended to help you calculate your capital gains and losses when it's time to file your taxes.

Learn why cost basis doesn't equal performance

Log in to set or change your cost basis method

Why it's important to report cost basis accurately

The IRS requires you to report capital gains and losses on your annual tax return when you sell or redeem shares of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other investments.

Choosing the right method for calculating your cost basis will determine in part how much you'll pay in taxes for the current year, and how detailed your recordkeeping will need to be.

Find out what cost basis methods are available at Vanguard

How we report cost basis

The IRS phased in regulatory changes related to cost basis beginning in 2011. As a result, we're required to provide reporting for a wide variety of nonretirement accounts and investment types. In addition to sending the reports directly to investors, we must send them to the IRS as well.

See how we report your cost basis information

Additional resources

See your cost basis summary

Prefer paper?

Select a cost basis method

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Managing your accounts to lower taxes
If you own several types of accounts with differing tax treatment, you may have opportunities to reduce your tax bite. Here are 4 of them.

This information isn't intended to be tax advice and can't be used to avoid any tax penalties. We recommend you consult a tax advisor.