How to Change Your Cost Basis Information

We realize that timing can be critical in updating your cost basis information. Fidelity offers you the convenience of changing your cost basis tracking method used at your account level or updating an individual security's cost basis. You can make these changes online and they are reflected in your account that day.

What is cost basis?

Cost basis is the price you paid to purchase a security plus any additional costs such as broker's fees or commissions. When you sell a security, your tax liability is determined by how much you spent to buy the security (cost basis) and your sales price. Updating your cost basis can help you manage your tax liability while at the same time improving your reporting accuracy. You can update the actual cost basis for eligible positions in your account.

Note: You are responsible for complying with the IRS rules governing these elections. Before you make your decision, you may want to Learn More About Cost Basis Methods and consult with a tax advisor.

What do I need to know?

FIFO (first in, first out) is Fidelity's default method for calculating cost basis for all securities (excluding mutual funds). First in, first out means that shares are sold in the order in which they were acquired, which means the oldest shares (those you bought first) are sold first. If you don't specify the exact shares you want sold, your cost basis is the purchase price of your oldest shares.

To update an individual security's cost basis, it's important to understand that you can only update positions coded as unknown basis or customer provided basis. You may not change a position's cost basis if it's coded with a known cost basis. To update an individual security's cost basis, you'll need to have an old statement or confirmation that indicates the cost you paid.

  1. Select Update a security's cost basisLog In Required, or from your home page, select the Accounts & Trade tab, and then Account Positions. You will see a list of all of your positions.
  2. Find the position you need to change, and select its name or symbol. Specific information for that position appears.

    Note: Unknown cost basis is indicated under the Cost Basis column(s) by a dash (-) or dashes (--).

  3. Under Purchase History/Lots, select Enter cost basis information for this position.
  4. Under Lots Eligible for Customer Provided Cost, select Update Basis.
  5. Enter the date you purchased the security, the number of shares, and their cost.
  6. Select Preview Update. If this information is accurate select Submit; if not, select Return.

If you want to change your account's cost basis tracking method:

  • On the home page, select the Accounts & Trade tab, then Update Accounts/Features, then select Cost Basis Information Tracking.
  • Under Default Disposal Method, select Change.
  • You'll see a list of all available cost basis tracking methods.
  • Select the method and then Save.
  • All future sell and buy-to-cover trades in this account will use this method unless you choose a different method at the point of trade.
  • This cost basis change for that account is effective immediately.

What to expect

Whether you change your cost basis tracking method or an individual security's cost basis, the change is effective that day. You can see the updated cost basis in your account.

If you have mailed us your cost basis updates using the Cost Basis Update Form, these changes will take about five business days from the date we receive the form.

Note: You cannot update shares that are considered "covered" by cost basis legislation. Please see the FAQs for additional details.