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IRS Eases Basis Reporting


The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations under a law change that will require reporting of basis and other information by stock brokers and mutual fund companies for most stock purchased in 2011 and all stock purchased in 2012 and later years, making it easier for investors to report their gains and losses next year on their tax returns.

The reporting will go to investors and the IRS. This additional reporting will be optional for stock purchased prior to these dates.

"This important reporting change means investors will now receive the information they need to more easily and accurately report their gains and losses," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "We will continue to work closely with stakeholder groups to ensure a smooth implementation of the new requirement, which reduces the recordkeeping and paperwork burden for millions of taxpayers."

Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, long used to report sales prices, will be expanded in 2011 to include the cost or other basis of stock and mutual fund shares sold or exchanged during the year. Stock brokers and mutual fund companies will use this form to make these expanded year-end reports. The expanded form will also be used to report whether gain or loss realized on these transactions is long-term (held more than one year) or short-term (held one year or less), a key factor affecting the tax treatment of gain or loss. The expanded form, to be first used for calendar-year 2011 sales, must be filed with the IRS and furnished to investors in early 2012.

DOL Requires 401(k)s to Disclose Fees in 2012

The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration will require 401(k) plans starting Jan. 1, 2012 to clearly spell out all fees and expenses each quarter so that investors can more readily compare the costs of their holdings.

Plans will also have to give workers fee information upfront and make it available online, in a format that makes it easier for workers to comparison shop among all of the funds available in a plan. The fees will be expressed both as a percentage and in a dollar amount for each $1,000 invested.

In addition, current and one-year, five-year and 10-year performance figures must be presented, along with comparisons to appropriate benchmarks.

DOL said there are 483,000 retirement plans serving 72 million workers in the U.S.