IRS Publication 551 - Basis Of Assets

Definition of 'IRS Publication 551 - Basis Of Assets'


A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that outlines how to determine the cost basis for investments, real estate and business assets. The basis is used to determine what gain or loss is realized from a sale, and represents the cost of the investment or property. It is also used to determine depreciation and amortization for a piece of property.

Investopedia explains 'IRS Publication 551 - Basis Of Assets'


The basis for a piece of property is typically the purchase cost, however the basis may increase over time if the owner makes improvements to the property. For investments, such as stocks and bonds, the cost basis also includes trading fees. More information on establishing the cost basis for investments can be found in IRS Publication 550.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  2. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  3. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  4. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  5. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
  6. Okun's Law

    The relationship between an economy's unemployment rate and its gross national product (GNP). Twentieth-century economist Arthur Okun developed this idea, which states that when unemployment falls by 1%, GNP rises by 3%. However, the law only holds true for the U.S.
Trading Center