Historical Tax Data - someone has it somewhere, right?
April 11, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

OMGTaxFilter question about historical tax costs. Historical stock price research? Why can't a company keep track of it's own stock price? Why can't I look up an old stock cost price on a recently defunct stock ticker?

Usual scenario: person works job, person buys stock through company Employee Stock Purchase Program. Person sells stock, person needs to figure out the historical cost for each block. Before tax day.

I've looked high and low and can't find any place where the historical cost of the stock (what it was on the day of purchase was). Company portfolio system has "cost basis" which is just an average of the stock price over time, not an actual purchase price. A call to the company got us, after a few weeks, data for a couple of the block purchase dates but not all of it.

Where can I look? Last time we did this, I luckily had bought through ETrade and was able to dig hard and get the purchase history out of the ETrade account. This time it's not ETrade, it's a custom software (it was a trading house so I'd not care to reveal the company name in an open post).

Bonus - they got bought by someone so there hasn't been activity on the ticker in about a year. So while I can use yahoo finance, for example, to look at old stock prices for active stock - not this company's old stock prices. Also tried the same idea using my ETrade account.

In theory, person who bought the stock got emails of each purchase but those are not available as a resource either.

posted by tilde to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Will this work? Historical Stock Quote Prices
posted by Lucinda at 10:43 AM on April 11, 2012

I'm not an accountant but it wouldn't surprise me if you're supposed to use the cost basis provided to you by the company. Because of the way ESPP's are often structured, the stock price on the day you were given the shares may not matter. That may not be the price you paid. It certainly wasn't when I participated in an ESPP. We paid 10% less than the stock price on the first day or last day of the ESPP period, whichever was less.
posted by alms at 10:47 AM on April 11, 2012

Public libraries usually keep at least monthly data, if not the daily data, on stock purchase prices. Larger public libraries are more likely to have daily data.
posted by QIbHom at 10:51 AM on April 11, 2012

Yeah, the cost basis is what you need here. That's why they provide it to you.

If you don't understand this, you REALLY need to talk to an accountant. Suck up the cost and go right away. Sorry, I know it's no fun when AskMe recommends going to a professional, but you're at risk of making a serious mistake on your taxes. Depending on how many shares you bought and sold, this could result in a LARGE over- or under-payment. Either of which would be problematic for different reasons.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:27 AM on April 11, 2012

Thanks, Lucinda - no - gives me the active ticker for an unrelated international company (this company is US based, trades/ed in US).

alms, Joey Buttafoucault; I do have an accountant, the paperwork is on their desk and we have a conference scheduled to go over all of our questions - if they ask for something other than cost basis (which we provided by digging through the %#&* custom software) I'm stuck at where to get the actual information.

The way the program was designed was that on dates X and Y every year, the stock would be purchased at the closing price at Z discount.

When I looked at the cost basis information provided for the stock, my calculating (flunked math but can work a calculator) seemed to show we hadn't made or lost any money on the stock which to me is fracking insane.

The last time we did this, like I said, accountant had us provide exact price we paid dollar amounts.

QllbHom - I'll check my county library; we'll see how the meeting goes.
posted by tilde at 11:59 AM on April 11, 2012

Bigcharts.com has all this information, I think, as long as you know the stock symbol.
posted by Malla at 12:44 PM on April 11, 2012

Oops, Lucinda beat me to it. Bigcharts is owned by Marketwatch, of course.
posted by Malla at 12:46 PM on April 11, 2012

I just solved this very problem with Google Finance.
posted by prefpara at 1:26 PM on April 11, 2012

Sorry, Malla, prefpara no historical data for defunct tickers at either site.
posted by tilde at 5:16 PM on April 11, 2012

Seconding Google Finance.

I remember the bad old days when I used to have to go to the library's newspaper microfilm archive for this.
posted by intermod at 6:37 PM on April 11, 2012

That really surprises me. The data I was looking up was for a defunct ticker, and it was right there. The company had, as yours, been purchased and merged into the acquiring company's ticker. Are there other special circumstances in your case? Do you mind sharing what the company/ticker used to be?
posted by prefpara at 4:57 PM on April 12, 2012

I can by memail; the results vary from no ticker found to ticker yes data no, through börk bjôrk (a company on a Nordic stock exchange uses the ticker there).
posted by tilde at 6:20 AM on April 14, 2012

So the answer is .... cost basis. Ur? It wasn't last time we did this but the lawz have changed up a bit, it seems. And the difference between what was paid and what was gained was like negative fifty bucks which is why the numbers were "close enough" to sound wrong to me.

Starting a new ESPP this week, so I'm going to start my running totals now.

Thanks again, folks.
posted by tilde at 5:56 AM on April 16, 2012

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