Specific-Shares Method


DEFINITION of 'Specific-Shares Method'

A personal financial accounting method that, when used properly, can help reduce capital gains realized for an investor who purchased multiple sets of a stock or mutual fund. In turn, the investor's total tax paid in a given tax year is also reduced. In order to use the specific-shares method, the investor needs to keep careful records - particularly the cost basis - of each stock or mutual fund purchase. Then he/she must provide detailed information on which particular shares are to be sold to the broker managing the investor's account.

BREAKING DOWN 'Specific-Shares Method'

Here's an example:

An investor purchases 50 shares of Company XYZ at a price of $30 per share on June 15, 2001. A year later, the shares of Company XYZ have depreciated in value to $10 per share, so the investor decides to purchase 60 more shares. Two years after that, the value of Company XYZ shares have appreciated in price to $90 per share.

The investor decides to sell 50 of her shares and realize a profit, but still hold onto the rest as she expects Company XYZ shares to continue to rising in price.

Using the specific-shares method to minimize the gains realized on her sale of XYZ, the investor calls her broker and asks him specifically to sell the 50 shares of Company XYZ that were purchased on June 15, 2001. These shares were more expensive, so the capital gain realization is minimized: the cost basis of these shares is $1,500 ($30*50 shares), so the investor realizes a capital gain of $3,000 ($90*50 shares - $1,500). If the investor had sold 50 of the shares she purchased at $10 per share - which would have a cost basis of $500 ($10*50), she would be liable for a capital gain of $4,000 ($90*50 - $500).

  1. Income Tax

    A tax that governments impose on financial income generated by ...
  2. Last In, First Out - LIFO

    An asset-management and valuation method that assumes that assets ...
  3. Gain

    An increase in the value of an asset or property. A gain arises ...
  4. Friends and Family Shares

    A company's stock that is offered to preferred individuals, prior ...
  5. Capital Gain

    1. An increase in the value of a capital asset (investment or ...
  6. First In, First Out - FIFO

    An asset-management and valuation method in which the assets ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Tax Tips For The Individual Investor

    We give you seven guidelines to help you keep more of your money in your pocket.
  2. Investing

    Time to Bring Active Back into a Portfolio?

    While stocks have rallied since the economic recovery in 2009, many active portfolio managers have struggled to deliver investor returns in excess.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Democratization of the Hedge Fund Industry

    The coveted compensations of hedge fund managers are protected by barriers of entry to the industry, but one recent startup is working to break those barriers.
  4. Investing

    What a Family Tradition Taught Me About Investing

    We share some lessons from friends and family on saving money and planning for retirement.
  5. Retirement

    Two Heads Are Better Than One With Your Finances

    We discuss the advantages of seeking professional help when it comes to managing our retirement account.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Why did Wal-Mart's Stock Take a Fall in 2015?

    Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, with a sterling track-record of profits and dividends. So why has its stock fallen sharply in 2015?
  7. Professionals

    4 Must Watch Films and Documentaries for Accountants

    Learn how these must-watch movies for accountants teach about the importance of ethics in a world driven by greed and financial power.
  8. Investing News

    Should You Invest in Disney Stock Before Star Wars?

    The force is strong with Disney stock, as it continues to make gains going into the launch of EP7. But is this pricey stock a good buy at these levels?
  9. Investing News

    Silicon Valley Startups Fly into Space

    Space enthusiasts are in for an exciting time as Silicon Valley startups take on the lucrative but expensive final frontier.
  10. Taxes

    How & Where to File Form 1040 (And Which Version)

    All taxpayers need to know three things when filing a 1040: which form to use, how to file and where to file. After reading this, you'll know all three.
  1. How liquid are Vanguard mutual funds?

    The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors charge VATs?

    The Personal Finance Society (PFS) and with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have outlined when a value-added tax ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does OptionsHouse have mutual funds?

    OptionsHouse has access to some mutual funds, but it depends on the fund in which the investor is looking to buy shares. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Should mutual funds be subject to more regulation?

    Mutual funds, when compared to other types of pooled investments such as hedge funds, have very strict regulations. In fact, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do mutual funds work in India?

    Mutual funds in India work in much the same way as mutual funds in the United States. Like their American counterparts, Indian ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center