What Happens If Gifted Stock is Sold?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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As discussed under Income Tax, the tax basis in stock received as a gift is the donor’s cost. (In the case of the 1,000 shares of Microsoft that Bill Gates bought for a penny, the basis is still a penny – even though the stock was worth $100,000 at the time of the gift.) If it is sold right away, there is capital gains tax due on the sales price — $100,000 – less the basis of a penny. However, if the person who received the gift holds it for a while and sells it at a time the value of the gift has increased (say to $175,000), she is obligated to pay capital gains tax on the $175,000, less, of course, the basis of a penny.

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