Basis

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Basis'

1. The variation between the spot price of a deliverable commodity and the relative price of the futures contract for the same actual that has the shortest duration until maturity.

2. A security's basis is the purchase price after commissions or other expenses. Also known as "cost basis" or "tax basis".

3. In the context of IRAs, basis is the after-tax balance in the IRA, which originates from nondeductible IRA contributions and rollover of after-tax amounts. Earnings on these amounts are tax-deferred, similar to earnings on deductible contributions and rollover of pretax amounts.

BREAKING DOWN 'Basis'

1. As there are gaps between spot and relative price until expiry of the nearest contract, the basis is not necessarily accurate. In addition to the deviations created because of the time gap between expiry of the futures contract and the spot commodity, product quality, location of delivery, and the actuals may also vary. In general, the basis is used by investors to gauge the profitability of delivery of cash or the actual, and they also use it to search for arbitrage opportunities.

2. This figure is used to calculate capital gains or losses when a security is eventually sold.

3. Distributions of amounts representing basis in an IRA are tax-free. However, in order to ensure that this tax-free treatment is realized, the taxpayer must file IRS Form 8606 for any year that basis is added to the IRA and for any year that distributions are made from any of the individual's Traditional, SEP and/or SIMPLE IRAs. Failure to file Form 8606 may result in double taxation of these amounts and an IRS-assessed penalty of $50.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Narrow Basis

    A condition found in futures markets in which the spot price ...
  2. Tax Base

    The assessed value of a set of assets, investments or income ...
  3. Actuals

    The physical commodity that underlies a futures contract or is ...
  4. Cash Settlement

    A settlement method used in certain future and option contracts ...
  5. Individual Retirement Account - ...

    An investing tool used by individuals to earn and earmark funds ...
  6. Basis Risk

    The risk that offsetting investments in a hedging strategy will ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Tax-Saving Advice For IRA Holders

    Be informed about benefits and deductions that may apply to you and avoid costly mistakes on your return.
  2. Options & Futures

    Trading The Odds With Arbitrage

    Profiting from arbitrage is not only for market makers - retail traders can find opportunity in risk arbitrage.
  3. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Get Positive Results With Negative Basis Trades

    Capitalize on the difference in spreads between markets with this popular strategy.
  4. Insurance

    Futures Fundamentals

    For those who are new to futures but want a solid understanding of them, this tutorial explains what futures contracts are, how they work and why investors use them.
  5. Investing Basics

    Understanding How Dividends Are Taxed

    Learn how dividends are taxed by the IRS, and understand the different types of dividend income as well as the capital gains tax rates.
  6. Investing Basics

    6 Reasons Why Dividends Should Be Reinvested

    Learn about the advantages of dividend reinvestment programs and how they may benefit longer-term investors who want to build a position in a company.
  7. Retirement

    Retirement Planning for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

    If your business has receiveables, here's a smart way to leverage them to build up your retirement fund fast.
  8. Retirement

    Overhaul Social Security to Fix Retirement Shortfall

    There are several theories and ideas about how we can make up for the $6.6 trillion retirement savings shortfall in America. Adjustments to Social Security and our retirement savings plans are ...
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETN Analysis: Rogers Intl Commodity Energy Total Return

    Learn more about the Rogers International Commodity Total Return, which is an exchange-traded note that tracks a broad index of commodity futures.
  10. Investing News

    How Does US Social Security Measure Up Abroad?

    Social Security is a hotly debated topic. After examining the retirement plans of three different countries, the U.S.'s does not come out the winner.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can my IRA be garnished for child support?

    Though some states protect IRA savings from garnishment of any kind, most states lift this exemption in cases where the account ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA savings to start my own savings?

    While there is no legal reason why you cannot withdraw funds from your IRA to start a traditional savings account, it is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can creditors garnish my IRA?

    Depending on the state where you live, your IRA may be garnished by a number of creditors. Unlike 401(k) plans or other qualified ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does an IRA grow over time?

    Individual retirement account, or IRA, growth depends on many factors, including what types of investments are included in ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can you buy penny stocks in an IRA?

    It is possible to trade penny stocks through an individual retirement accounts, or IRA. However, penny stocks are generally ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  2. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  3. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  4. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  5. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
  6. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!