It seems that nobody knows their basis in their S Corp. This is a common phenomenon that I have ran into while in private practice. Basis is talked about and “beaten like a dead horse” throughout graduate school for accountants, but largely ignored on the CPA exams and completely ignored by average taxpayers.
What is basis in an S Corp? Basis is your share of contributions to a company, increased by profits, and decreased by distributions and losses. It shows the value of the company, so when you sell it, any gains above your basis are considered capital gains and any losses are considered capital losses. For example, if you can show that your basis in a company is $50 and you sell for $51, you will achieve very favorable tax consequences vs. showing a basis of $20 and a sale price of $51 as you will be taxed on a lot more gain. Make sure to obtain your basis worksheets from your accountant along with your K-1s each year.