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Sellers of stocks and other assets have always had to calculate their cost basis (generally, what they paid for the investment) in order to figure their taxable capital gains. In the past, this was often a hit-or-miss experience that required lots of tedious research (occasionally with help from brokers) and more than a bit of guesswork. This year, for the first time, Congress required stock brokers to report cost basis to both the IRS and taxpayers. Next year, mutual funds must report. The reporting will apply only to newly-purchased stock, so there will be a long transition to the new system.




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