On Feb. 3, 2013, headlines will note the 100th anniversary of the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal income tax. Although few Americans will celebrate the occasion, the media will note that it marks a century of federal income tax collections.

About a year before, millions of Americans will notice a change in how income taxes on taxable investment transactions are reported to the IRS. For tax year 2011, for the first time ever, brokerage firms will be required to report some capital gain/loss and cost basis data. These reports will go out as part of the 1099-B forms that brokerage firms, transfer agents and custodians send to clients in January or February of 2012.  

For tax year 2011, clients who have taken gains or losses on common stocks or ETFs (held in taxable accounts) will receive 1099-Bs containing more information than before. Previously, these forms were required to report only the gross sales proceeds. Now, on new lines 7 and 8, 1099-Bs also will report: 1) the customer's adjusted cost basis in "covered" securities sold; and 2) whether the gain or loss in the security is short-term or long-term. Over the next two years, this information will be reported for other types of securities including mutual funds (for tax year 2012) and fixed income securities (for tax year 2013).

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