Book clsoing [was: Re: Addition of HBCI support, Maturity of 1.7-branch, next stable release time frame?

David Hampton
15 Apr 2002 20:36:41 -0700

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On Mon, 2002-04-15 at 18:57, Linas Vepstas wrote:
> actually, I think I know how, because gnucash-1.2 had a cap-gains fifo
> in it (which was lost somewhere along the way).
> To make this work without having to load multiple books, one would have
> to do several things:
> 1) save what kind of accounting method is used (FIFO, LIFO, or=20
>    one of the other IRS/tax-authority approved methods).

There really isn't such a thing.  Most people use FIFO, some use LIFO,
but you can sell any lot of shares at any time as long as you document
it.  If you don't document clearly, then the government will assume a
FIFO method of accounting.

Say I bought 100 shares 5 years ago at $10, picked up 50 more two years
ago at $30, and then picked up another 200 at $5 last week.  (Market's
depressed, you know.)  If I needed a capital loss for my tax return, I
can sell the middle set of shares at $5 and pick up a 50 x $25 =3D $1250
loss.  All I have to do is record that the 50 shares I sold were the
middle 50 shares.  The easiest way to do this is to somehow annote the
sale (or have your broker annotate the sale) to state that you are
selling the 50 shares of stock acquired on such-and-such a date.

> Needless to say, storing extra stuff in the file format/database is=20
> a real pain in the butt.

Haven't thought too much about it yet.  I know it will be painful
because you have to track each lot of stock separately, through any
sales, splits, reverse splits, whatever.  Gets to be a real pain when
you end up with an odd number of shares in any lot, or an odd number of
total shares in the account.  You end up having to track fractional
shares of stock.  For example, I bought 5 shares of stock last year, and
five more last week.  Today the company underwent a 3 for 2 split.  I
now have 15 shares of stock, 7.5 of which would be a long term capital
gain if I sold them, and 7.5 of which would be a short term capital

And then there are 'stock dividends'... :-{


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