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I've been using both TD Ameritrade and Robinhood for a while. I just learned that on TD Ameritrade, you can use the specific-lot-matching method when you sell your shares.

It's in My Account -> Cost Basis -> Unsettled Close Positions -> Click on the green arrow next to your trade after you sell, and you can select which lot to redeem your trade against. The clearing house confirms the trade in seconds, but by federal law the money takes two days to actually transfer. You have until then to select the lot using this method. So says TD Ameritrade.

Pretty cool. So cool in fact that I'm considering moving a bunch of stocks from Robinhood to TD Ameritrade. But my question is, after I make this transfer, can I sell shares on TD Ameritrade that I originally purchased on Robinhood and still use this technique? I called TD Ameritrade and they couldn't answer that question. Any help is appreciated.

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  • Robinhood doesn't allow that? Seems like a basic feature.
    – littleadv
    Jul 26 at 18:15
  • Robinhood uses the first-in first-out method and you can't change it. I'd love to be proved wrong though.
    – CodeOwl
    Jul 26 at 18:43
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    Cost basis info can take a while to show up after an ACATS transfer, but once it does I don't see why you wouldn't be able to choose lots. TD should be able to confirm that.
    – Hart CO
    Jul 26 at 23:07

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I don't have a specific 'this is how it works' answer for you but perhaps some of this information that might be useful, especially if you talk to TD.

I have a standard account at TD for longer term holds and I actively trade elsewhere. For tax accounting, they offer five choices:

  • FIFO

  • LIFO

  • Highest Cost

  • Lowest Cost

  • Tax Efficient Loss Harvester

I haven't used these, but I would hope that Tax Efficient Loss Harvester means that you can designate positions. If so, then you're good to go. If not, you're going to have a problem.

The other issue is that one would think that cost basis comes over with the ACATS transfer. It has been many years since I have done an ACATS, so I don't know what goes on now. In the past, I have had ACATS come to the new broker without cost basis info. Hopefully that's no longer the case.

I would make sure that you have a clear written (or spreadsheet) record of your cost basis for every position. And I would ask TD if they can identify specific lots if you're not going to be selling all shares of a position.

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