A new IRS rule taking affect in 2011 makes managing retirement investments easier.
If you find it difficult to keep good records about the cost basis -- the price of your stocks when you buy them -- beginning Jan. 1, the IRS is going to give you a hand. Brokerages will be required to track the cost basis of equities and send the information to taxpayers and the government in an annual report.
For people who are living on their investments, this could be a boon. It will allow them to do better retirement planning because it makes it easier to manage the taxable gain or loss on the equities they are selling. Investors will be able to sell shares to minimize gains or specify shares for maximum gain in years when other income -- and tax obligations -- is low. This is an important way to keep Uncle Sam from taking more money than he deserves.
"This law change is designed to improve tax compliance while, at the same time, reduce the record keeping and paperwork burden for millions of investors by ensuring that they receive the information they need to easily report their gains and losses correctly," says Eric Smith, IRS spokesman.
I bet you thought the IRS never did anything nice for you.