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Non-Covered Security: Definition, Overview & Example

Updated: November 23, 2022

In most cases, there are three primary types of securities. The first is debt, which are certain loans that need to be repaid at a specific time. The second is equity, which relates to different ownership rights. And the third is hybrid, which combines both debt and equity.

But within these three types of securities, there are even more terms to know and understand. Non-covered security is one of these terms and can play a big role when it comes to tax reporting. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about non-covered security.

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    • A non-covered security outlines that if a security is small enough with a small enough scope, it doesn’t need to get reported to the IRS.
    • Stocks are often considered to be non-covered securities if they’re sold by foreigners or foreign intermediaries.
    • Investment sales get divided using Form 8949 to help cover both non-covered and covered securities.
    • Cost basis relates to having to annually revise the original cost of any asset. In the case of capital expenditures and market value appreciation, the cost basis must be increased.

    What Is a Non-Covered Security? 

    Non-covered security is a term and legal definition outlined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It explains that if the cost basis of your securities is small enough, they don’t need to get reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

    The SEC is the competent authority in the United States that dictates certain tax designations for reporting purposes. So, if a security is small enough or it has a limited scope, there is no need to report it to the IRS. 

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    What Is a Covered Security?

    New legislation was passed through the United States Congress in 2008 that outlined new details for mutual funds and reporting the adjusted cost basis for securities. The new legislation applied to both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and investors. These new changes became effective in the 2011 tax year. 

    Since these changes, the cost basis of specific securities gets reported by submitting Form 1099-B. This form outlines if there is a capital loss or gains from selling the security. Plus, it will show whether or not it will be a short or long-term security. 

    Essentially, any transactions since these changes in 2011 are considered to be a covered security. And these transactions get reported on Form 1099-B. According to the IRS, a covered security is:

    • Owning any type of stock in a corporation. This includes American Depository Receipts (ADRs) that were acquired once changes took effect on January 1, 2011. 
    • Any mutual funds purchased or acquired on or after the first of January, 2012. 
    • Any ADRs or stocks that were purchased or acquired by leveraging a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP).
    • Options, derivatives, and bonds that are less complex and purchased on or after the first of January, 2014
    • Options, derivatives, and bonds that are more complex and purchased on or after the first of January, 2016. 
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    Cost Basis for Non-Covered Securities 

    The new legislation passed by Congress in 2008 also outlined details of how brokers are required to use the adjusted cost. This is instead of using the purchase price of a security when it comes to reporting taxes. 

    Basically, this means that an asset’s original cost will need to get reviewed on an annual basis. You’re going to want to reduce this total amount to help reduce the depreciation of fixed assets. As well, you’re also going to want to increase it when it comes to market value appreciation and capital expenditure. 

    The cost basis for non-covered securities helps calculate capital gains income within a taxpayer’s gross income. From here, these capital gains could be taxable even if they haven’t quite been realized yet. This is because regulatory authorities determine the applicable tax rate for each individual taxpayer. 

    Examples of Non-Covered Securities 

    One of the easiest examples of a non-covered security is an investor that wants to reinvest dividends. Let’s say that the investor has opened a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) to help generate additional shares. 

    Previously, an investment security purchased in the year 2011 could be transferred to a DRIP as long as it was done in the same year. The security also uses the average cost method of calculating the cost basis for an asset, meaning it’s a non-covered security. 

    However, if you transferred that investment security after 2011, it remains a covered security. 


    A non-covered security is any type of investment that gets purchased before the new changes from Congress came into effect. The cost basis that happens after a non-covered security is sold isn’t required to get reported to the IRS. That said, the redemption value or gross proceeds from a specific sale could still need to get reported. 

    To help keep things simple, the legislation passed in 2008 made some significant changes. The adjusted cost basis of any type of security purchased in or after the tax year of 2011 must get reported to the IRS.

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    FAQs About Non-Covered Security

    Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Non-Covered Securities?

    For any non-covered securities that you own, you’re going to be responsible for reporting the accurate cost basis information to the IRS. If you don’t report your cost basis, the IRS will think you sold your securities for a 100% capital gain, resulting in higher taxes.

    Do You Report Non-Covered Securities?

    It is your responsibility to report any relevant cost basis information to the IRS on Form 1040, Schedule D. You must do this for every share sold, regardless of whether they’re covered or non-covered.

    How Do You Report the Cost Basis for Non-Covered Securities?

    To report the cost basis for any non-covered securities you have, you will need to submit Form 1040, Schedule D to the IRS every year for any shares sold.


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