Tax Lot Method

Tax lot is a record of all transactions and their tax ramifications (dates of purchase and sale, cost basis, and sale price) concerning a certain security in a portfolio. An investor can make strategic judgments about which assets to sell and when during a tax year by thinking in terms of tax lots.

Understanding Tax Lot Method

Even if you previously possessed shares of the security, each time you buy it, the new position is a distinct and independent tax lot. (A tax lot is a document that details a transaction's tax ramifications, along with the date and quantity of shares purchased.)

When you have a position made up of several purchases made on various dates at various prices, and you execute a transaction to sell only a portion of the position, utilizing a tax lot identification approach, we choose which tax lots should be sold. We must keep track of this data, keep it up to date, and report the cost basis and proceeds to you and the IRS per legal requirements.

The tax lot ID method you choose might have a substantial impact on the amount of taxes you could be required to pay when you sell an item.

Advantages of Tax Lot Method

Choosing a cost basis technique can have a big impact on how capital gains and losses are calculated when you sell shares.

There are three typical approaches to determine the cost basis of the shares you are selling in mutual funds:

  1. FIFO (first-in, first-out)
  2. The average-cost method
  3. The specific-share method

Use these for specific stocks and bonds:

  1. FIFO
  2. LIFO (last in, first out)
  3. The specific-shares method

Due to the default setting in most software programmes and the ease of tracking cost base, the FIFO technique is the most popular choice. Nevertheless, consider how, in contrast to the conventional FIFO or LIFO systems, the specific-shares method can assist you reduce your gains. By choosing particular tax lots, this is meant.

How Does the Tax Lot Method Work?

For taxation reasons, purchasing a share in a single transaction counts as buying a lot. Furthermore, these new positions will generate more tax lots as more shares of the same security are bought.

Tax lots are essentially a number of distinct purchases that happen at various costs and on various dates. This implies that every single tax lot will have a separate cost basis. This is the record of any tax lots you may have in terms of tax lot accounting.

The tax lot will keep track of the sale price, the date of the purchase, the total cost, and the sale date after the transaction. Furthermore, this is carried out for each security that you have in your portfolio. The ability of investors to track tax lot sales year-round is one of the main advantages of tax lot accounting.

Then, investors can get more information to help them make more smart choices regarding potential tax lots to sell. The precise type of investment tax that must be paid, however, will vary on how long you hold the stock, so it's crucial for investors to keep this in mind.

Let's take the scenario where you pay $5 on January 1 to purchase 50 shares of Company X. You added another $100 to Company X on January 5 at a cost of $6 per share.

On December 15th, you propose to sell 20 shares of Company X at a price of $10 each. Exactly what shares did you sell? Which shares, those priced at $5 or $6? Securities by tax lot tracking makes it easier to maintain everything in order and prepared for use.


A specific kind of record-keeping method is tax lot accounting. It assists in keeping track of the cost basis, buy/sell dates, and sale price for the securities in your portfolio. Shares bought in a single transaction are referred to as a lot for tax purposes.

When shares of a security are purchased, more tax lots are produced. The tax lots are an assortment of purchases made at various points in time and at varied prices. As a result, each tax lot's cost basis will be different.

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