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Tax Glossary: Basis

Posted by McDonald & Osborne Posted on Oct 12 2015

Basis : The starting point for computing gain or loss on a sale or exchange of property or for depreciation. For property that is purchased, basis is its cost. The basis of inherited property generally is its value at the date of death (or alternative valuation date). The basis of property received as a gift or a nontaxable transaction is based on the adjusted basis of the transferor (with some adjustments). Special rules govern property transferred between corporations and their shareholders, partners and their partnership, etc.

Adjusted Basis : The cost of property with adjustments made to account for depreciation (in the case of business property), improvements (in the case of real estate), withdrawals or reinvestment (in the case of securities, funds, accounts, insurance or annuities), etc. Adjusted basis is part of the computation for determining gain or loss on a sale or exchange and for depreciation.