Why is it impossible to discover the Return of Capital for iShares on BlackRock's own site? What am I not understanding?

For example, BlackRock's XSP Page shows every possible statistic and distribution but no where have I been able to find Return of Capital.

Note: I know I can find this information elsewhere such as CDS Innovations, I'm just wondering why it can't be found on on BlackRock's own site.

When a fund pays a return of capital (ROC) distribution it is essentially giving you back a portion of your initial contributions. It’s common with income-oriented ETFs, especially those that pay a fixed distribution every month. ROC is not taxable in the year you receive it. However, return of capital distributions decrease your ACB, which in turn increases your future capital gains tax liability. If you don’t adjust for return of capital, you will pay less tax than you owe.

  • a) Maybe the fund(s) you're looking at have never had a distribution that was classified as RoC, and b) why don't you ask them? There's a Contact Us at the bottom of the page with email address and phone number (and mailing address in case you want to send them a letter :-) ).
    – blm
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 16:21
  • You're right, I probably should have tried contacting them first. Actually, I thought there was some concept that I was not understanding and would need some discourse. Also, now by posting on SE if someone else has the same question they can see the answer.
    – skube
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


You couldn't find the information on BlackRock's site not because the information isn't there, but because it hasn't been made easy to find. Here's how to find it:

  1. Navigate to BlackRock's XSP Page. Click "Individual Investor" and then "Enter Site" if you are so prompted.

  2. Under the Performance section, click "Distributions".

  3. After View as, click "Table".

  4. Using the links above the Custom Columns select box, switch from "Recent" to "Calendar Year".

  5. Scroll the inner pane to the right and you will see a column for Return of Capital, with values for 2014 back to 2006.

Also, notice in the footnote:

[...] The characterization of distributions for tax purposes (such as dividends, other income, capital gains etc.) for each period will be reported only after the Fund's tax year end. Therefore, the chart below [above, actually] showing the tax characteristics will be updated only once each tax year. For tax purposes, these amounts will be reported by brokers on official tax statements.

It isn't very user friendly, but basically, I'm understanding that they are only showing the Return of Capital column in the "Calendar Year" view because they don't report it on any other basis, whereas the "Recent" view is by individual distribution date, not calendar year, and the egg can't be unscrambled.

  • It isn't very user friendly at all! One can't even link directly to that particular view. I'm not sure I follow your scrambled egg analogy. As I understand it, ROC happens on the last distribution of the year so it could easily be included in the Recent view.
    – skube
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 19:12
  • Re: the egg analogy. I just meant that the RoC number isn't necessarily decomposable beyond calendar year. While funds frequently make cash distributions on a basis more frequent than annual (e.g. monthly or quarterly), they only have to classify the distributions once per year for tax purposes. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:46
  • The breakdown of distributions may only be determined annually, but it definitely has to be per distribution. What happens if someone only holds an issue for half the year? They still need to know the breakdown of the distributions they received, so the egg not only can be unscrambled, it has to be. And RoCs don't only happen in the last distribution, each distribution can be some combination of RoC, taxable/non-taxable dividends, qualified/non-qualified dividends, dividends subject to AMT, etc., and that can change for every distribution depending on the source of the distribution.
    – blm
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 21:19
  • @blm You're right that any given distribution during the year might have a portion of the RoC. I'm just saying that the precise amount for that distribution might not be determinable if the fund company doesn't provide the amount on that basis. Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 23:20
  • It might not be determinable from a company's web site, but the company definitely has to calculate it, because it has to be passed on to brokers for inclusion on 1099s.
    – blm
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 2:05

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