How to Fill Out Schedule D For Capital Gains & Losses

by Catherine Chase

Use Schedule D to report transactions involving capital assets, which include any property that you personally own. It does not include property that you own that you use for your business, such as business-related real estate or copyrights. Every time you conduct a transaction, keep a detailed record of it so that you can accurately fill out Schedule D. You must include the amount of your gain or loss, as well as the dates of the transactions.

Step 1

Indicate each transaction of capital assets in part one of the form. Use one line per transaction. Write a brief description of the transaction, the date acquired, the date sold, the sales price and your gain or loss. If you inherited the property, write “Inherited” on the line for date acquired, rather than the date. Enter the cost of the property, plus any commissions and improvements, and then subtract amortization and depreciation for the line labeled “Cost or Other Basis.”

Step 2

Attach a Schedule D-1 to Schedule D if you require more than five lines to report your transactions. If you do this, enter the short-term totals from this page to line 2 of Schedule D.

Step 3

Add the total sales prices of your transactions, including any from Schedule D-1, and enter the total amount on line three. Fill in lines four through seven, entering your net short-term gain or loss and the short-term capital loss carryover, if this is applicable to you. Use the capital loss carryover worksheet on the instructions for Schedule D to determine this amount.

Step 4

Enter the same type of financial information in part two as you did for part one, but use this section for long-term capital gains or losses. This section is only applicable for assets that you have held longer than one year.

Step 5

Add lines seven and 15 and enter the sum on line 16. Follow the instructions below line 16, depending on whether line 16 indicated a gain or a loss. Place a check in the appropriate box on line 17 to indicate whether lines 15 and 16 were both gains. This line instructs you to either skip certain lines or go to the next line, depending on whether you indicated a gain.