# Do I need to calculate my cost basis for S corporation stock and distributions I've received to determine tax owed on K-1?

I'll be using hypothetical numbers to make this easier to visualize.

I purchased 2000 shares from an S-corporation for \$4000 in December of 2014. I received \$1000 in distributions for the shares (box 16 code D on the Schedule K-1). This represents 0.10% ownership of the company, which translates to +\$2000 in the company income/loss (box 1 on K-1).

I see a lot of mumbo jumbo online regarding calculating your share cost basis to determine taxable amount. For my 2014 taxes, does this mean that I need to pay taxes on the full \$2000 of the company income/loss, or does the amount I've received in distributions (\$1000) affect the taxable amount?

The tax code seems to indicate that my cost basis affects the taxable amount, but I don't see how this makes sense. It seems to me that cost basis only applies to when I sell the stock. Then again, I don't see how paying more in taxes than distributions received makes sense either.

Amounts on line 1 of the K-1 are translated into taxable income to you.

Amounts on line 16 of the K-1 with code D are translated into reduction of your cost basis for the shares. If your cost basis is already \$0 - they are translated into capital gains.

You need to track and adjust your cost basis in the shares. When you sell your shares - you'll pay capital gains tax on the difference between the proceeds and the adjusted basis. When distributions wipe out your basis, further distributions are treated as gains, and taxed at the year distributed.

So at the end of 2014, your adjusted cost basis in these shares is \$3000: \$4000 you paid - \$1000 you got back (distribution on line 16 with code D).

• Are you certain it is correct that further distributions exceeding the base are treated as gains AND are taxed as such in the year distributed? Apr 24, 2015 at 15:49