Tax Question: Missing info on 1099

I sold some investments last year to make the downpayment for a new house. I’m now working on putting the 1099 form info into Turbo Tax.

On the 1099 I received from Wells Fargo Securities, I have some info for one transaction listed as a short term gain/loss to be reported on Form 8949 with Box A checked, and a couple of transactions listed as long term gains/losses to be reported on Form 8949 with Box E checked.

What has me scratching my head is a couple of transactions labelled “Unknown term gains or losses - Basis not reported to the IRS. Report on Form 8949 with Box B or E checked as applicable.” They list the info that the sale was made on 1/22/13, and gives the number of shares sold, and the sales price. It also reports that the purchase date for the funds was 2/15/01, but for box 3, where they were supposed to report the original purchase cost, it just puts N/A.

What am I supposed to do with this? I don’t think I have my statement from 13 years ago when I made the purchase to find the purchase price. I thought my brokerage was going to be tracking this information. They did report the basis price on some of the other purchases that were made on 2/15/01.

Anyone with any experience with this, or suggestions? I’ll try to talk to my advisor next week, but he’s a relatively new advisor for me, and I haven’t been very impressed. Also, this purchase was made 2 brokerages ago. The original purchase was made by IJL Wachovia, that later became Wachovia Securities, that later became Wells Fargo Securities.

Incidentally, Turbo Tax doesn’t like it. It doesn’t find N/A or leaving box 3 empty to be acceptable solutions.

Most brokerages aren’t very good at supplying the basis. They’re getting better, I think, but not that far back. I got a weird 1099 with 3 different values from a mutual fund liquidation. Hopefully you at least have a good idea. What type of investments were these? If stock or similar, can you look at the historic price (assuming you bought outright).

I am sure Turbo Tax would take a “0” though. I’m not sure you’d want to do that though if the tax consequence is large.

FWIW, I have been told that the basis is not terribly scrutinized by the IRS. YMMV.

Look up the price for 2/15/01. You can use the average of the daily’s high and low or the closing price. You should be able to find these on Yahoo or various newspapers that you can find online might have reported the price.

They were mutual funds — Alliance Bernstein FDS International Growth, MFS SER TR VI UTIL, and Putnam Health Sciences.

I just don’t know how to research the historical prices.

And Turbo Tax is letting me save it for the interim, but it clearly marks it as being saved temporarily with an error.

This is a common problem with, sad to say, no easy solution. Before January of 2012 brokerage firms were not required to track your basis, that is the responsibility of the taxpayer. Your exact basis would be the purchase price of the investments plus all the dividends and capital gains you have paid taxes on throughout the years. I would seriously doubt that Wells Fargo has that number, but it is worth a shot.

If there is any good news in this situation it would be that the IRS has no idea what your basis is either. If you were so inclined you could make a reasonable estimate and stand little chance of being challenged.

Your cost basis is at least what you originally paid. However, it is common with mutual to reinvest dividends and capital gains distributions and these wold also increase your cost basis. Did you get checks from the funds over the years? If not then presumably their were reinvestments. Those would be difficult to search out, but it is possible that the mutual fund companies have records of your accounts and could tell you. After all they must have kept records. The only problem would be if the mutual funds were kept in street name (your broker was listed on their records as owner). But in that case, your broker should know.

If you held these through a brokerage account you should have annual statements showing your reinvestment each year. If the funds were held in your name, the mutual fund companies should have these records.