I haven't found a definite written answer, probably because it is implied. However, I'd really love confirmation if anyone can verify my assumption, before I make a decision.

Say I bought 10 shares of a stock at $10/share, for a total cost of $100. Now the stock is worth $20/share. Can I sell 5 shares, effectively pulling out the original $100 I put in and leave the other 5 shares to continue to grow in value without having to pay ANY capital gains tax at all?


No - stocks are bought and sold in shares, not dollar amounts, so the 5 shares you sold would have a cost basis of $50 and a sold value of $100 for a capital gain of $50.

  • Whew - I'm so glad I decided to ask! I didn't at all consider capital gains being determined on a per share basis. I assumed it was strictly by the realized dollar amount gained (or lost). Thank you so much for the clarification! – Larm Nov 17 '20 at 20:24
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    @Narm -- "on a per share basis" uses the key term here (but with a different meaning): from an accounting perspective, your basis is the cost of whatever it is that you sold, with some adjustments that don't apply here. Profit is the amount you sold it for minus the basis. – Pete Becker Nov 18 '20 at 14:05

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