Calculating your adjusted cost base (ACB) is necessary to determine the true cost of your investments for capital gains and losses. Perhaps more importantly, the CRA requires this calculation to be used for income taxes in relation to capital gains and losses.

The adjusted cost base is calculated by of adding all of your investments into a certain stock or mutual fund, including any reinvested distributions, as well as any commissions or fees incurred to purchase that stock or mutual fund. This total cost is then divided by the number of shares or units you own.

For example, say you buy 500 shares in a company for \$15 each and then later buy 200 more shares in that company at \$12 each. You also have commissions of \$20 for each transaction.

500 x \$15 = \$7,500
200 x \$12 = \$2,400
2 x \$20 =\$40

\$7,500 + \$2,400 + \$40 = \$9,940

Total costs of \$9,940 divided by 700 shares = ACB of \$14.20 per share

In this example, your adjusted cost base is \$14.20. Capital gains or losses are then simply calculated as the difference between the ACB and the sale price minus commissions.

If you were to sell 100 shares for \$15, you would have a capital gain of \$60.

Sell 100 x \$15Â  – \$20 = \$1,480
ACB 100 x \$14.20 = \$1,420

If you were to sell 100 shares for \$13, you would have a capital loss of \$140.

Sell 100 x \$13Â  – \$20 = \$1,280
ACB 100 x \$14.20 = \$1,420

Lowering the cost of commissions is a good way to improve your adjusted cost base. I use Questrade, not only for the \$4.95 trade commission, but you can also get \$50 in commission for free by using the CanadianFinance promo code.

Calculating your adjusted cost base is not only mandated by the CRA, it’s also useful for tracking your investments. Knowing the adjusted cost base per share makes for more meaningful comparisons to the current prices in the market.

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How To Calculate Your Adjusted Cost Base (ACB), 4.1 out of 5 based on 19 ratings

### Written by Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of Canadian Finance Blog. While youâ€™re here, consider signing up for the RSS feed or email subscription. Both deliver the latest articles directly to you everyday! Have a Twitter account? Then follow me for all the latest posts or to send me any comments or questions!

### 17 Responses to How To Calculate Your Adjusted Cost Base (ACB)

1. Lucien Potvin says:

You did not mention ROC (Return on Capital) that some stock pay back yearly thus reducing your Cost.

• Tom Drake says:

Good point Lucien, ROC will reduce your ACB and you will have a higher taxable capital gain because of this. Thanks for pointing that out!

• Mike says:

There is a site that provides ACB calculations that take into account ROC which reduce the ACB as well as Phantom distributions which add to the ACB. Take a look at http://www.acbtracking.ca . They specialize in calculating ACBs for ETFs, REITs, Closed-end Funds, and Income Trusts.

2. Linda English says:

When a stock pays a dividend (part of it being ROC (Rtn of Cap) and part of it being Capital Gain), does the Capital Gain also affect our Adjusted Cost Base? Assuming so (because we are paying capital gains tax on that portion), should we add the capital gain to our original cost?

3. Nimrod says:

When a stock is transferred out of an RRSP What value is to be used for the ACB? The original purchase price or the transfer out value?

• Tom Drake says:

Nimrod,
Do you mean that a stock was transferred out of an RRSP and then later sold? I’m not positive, but I would think it would be the value when transferred since it’s basically considered a sale and purchase at that time?

4. Laird says:

Apr 16/11
Using your ACB example above, what would be the new ACB per share on the 500 remaining shares (500+200-100-100)? And how does one make this calculation?

5. rob says:

Alot of examples of ACB’s online show you step by step how to get to an adjusted cost base number, but none talk about whether you are supposed to be adding the number of all shares including the current year or just up to the tax year you are trying to calculate for?
I’m likely guessing that you don’t include any current year shares in total since they would skew capital gain/loss.
What about reverse splits?? How do you handle these?
Thanks!

6. Plain Jane says:

Hello Tom,
Can you provide an example of calculating ACB with mutual funds? As they are priced on a daily basis, so one never knows how many units they will acquire from a purchase until the following business day. I find the above example leaning stocks and I am not familiar with stocks to begin with. Maybe it can show purchases from different dates?…
Can I also assume that the stock example above is displaying two purchases made on the same day?
Thanks Tom, RJP

7. stocks says:

You’ve got great insights about stocks, keep up the good work!

8. Ron says:

Are there any computer applications that provide for inputting data relative to mutual fund monthly dividends received and return on capital to compute the calculations to arrive at the adjusted cost basis when sell ing these mutual funds.

9. Richard Gerson says:

First, your numbers don’t add up. Your example shows the correct \$ figure BUT not the correct addition of number of shares. (702) Average cost is then 14.16 but confidence in analysis is undermined.
Second no site I can find mentions the impact of ‘reinvested dividends’ (used to purchase additional shares) on adjusted cost basis. Since tax has been paid on dividends received over the years real capital gains should be only the change in the initial investment amount – with all reinvested dividends subtracted.
Thanks
Richard

• Richard Gerson says:

Sorry. the missing \$40 is transaction costs.My first point is in error. Second question still remains: reinvested dividends over the years.DRIPS or dividend reinvestment plans.

10. Bob Mettler says:

On the topic of re-investing dividends: it’s really no different than investing in additional shares using funds that were not initially dividends. Your ACB is calculated by dividing the total number of shares now held by the total cost of acquiring those shares – including commissions [though there usually arent' commission costs fro DRIP's]. The acquiring cost is simply increased by the dividends used to buy the additional shares.

11. Doug says:

I am selling a home I lived in for 9 years and rented for 10 years after that. How do I calculate the ACB for the home when calculating capital gains.

12. Daryle says:

The acb example was for a long transaction,

please give a short acb example

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