How to Use the Gain/Loss Calculator

Gain/Loss Calculator

The Gain/Loss Calculator has been designed to allow you to easily determine how your stock purchase performed within a given time period. There are two ways to use the calculator. The first is to automatically look up stock prices for the date of the stock purchase and the current date, and the second is to fill in all of those values by hand. In either scenario you can adjust the values at any time. Let’s take a look at how to use the Gain/Loss Calculator.

Automatically Looking Up Stock Prices

Using this approach will save time if you don’t recall what the stock price was on the date you bought the stock or if you don’t know the current stock price. This is the recommended way to use the calculator.

Step 1: Data Entry

In order to automatically look up stock prices you must type in 3 required fields first.

  • Type in a valid stock symbol
  • Add the number of shares purchased
  • Enter a purchase date


Step 2: Lookup Prices

After those 3 fields have been entered click on the Lookup link. This will result in getting information about the stock and displaying it for your to validate it. At any time you can override the details that we look up and adjust any of the dates, share price, or commissions that are populated.

Step 3: Confirm Share Prices & Add Transaction Costs

The calculator will add the share price on the date of purchase, the share price for the current value of the stock, and preserve all of the fields you entered previously.


Review that the data that has been entered is what you intended or adjust as necessary. You can then add the transaction costs when you purchased the stock and the transaction costs when you sold it. These are typically sales commissions that your brokerage firm might charge for the trades. The transaction costs fields are optional, but will lead to more accurate results, especially if those transaction costs are significant.

Step 4: Calculate Your Gains or Losses

The next step will be to click on the Submit button to calculate the gains or losses on the transaction. The results that you see will depend on whether your stock gained or lost value and you will see one of the following 2 outcomes:

  • Stock Gained Value
    The results will be broken out into 3 distinct sections; a summary, additional information about your investment, and possible tax implications.

    1. The Gain/Loss summary will reveal how much you gained and will include the percentage gain and guidance on possible tax implications.


    2. Details of your investment including will include the name of the company, the length of time you held the stock, and the total costs and total proceeds from the transaction.


    3. The Possible Tax Implications section displays an initial estimate of what your taxes due on the transaction might be. It will automatically show the short term capital gains rate (15%) for stocks held for longer than one year, and will show a long term capital gains rate (28%) if the stock was held for less than one year. The long term capital gains rate can be adjusted so that it fits into your specific tax bracket. Changing the tax rate will update the Capital Gains, Taxes Due, and Net Profit automatically to show you the most accurate results.


  • Stock Lost Value
    The second scenario is one where your stock has lost value. In this scenario you will only see two sections in the results. The Summary section which will show you the amount of your loss including the the percentage loss and the a reference to the IRS website in case you are eligible for a tax write off, and the details of your investment section that will show you the name of your company, holding period, and costs and proceeds of the transaction.


Manually Entering Values

The other approach to using the Gain/Loss Calculator allows you to type in any values you want without automatically looking them up. The steps to go this are the same as looking up values except you do not need to click on the Lookup link and you must fill out the following fields before you can click on the Submit button:

  • Number of Shares
  • Purchase Date
  • Cost Per Share at Purchase
  • Sale Price Per Share

When you are ready to calculate the gain or loss click on the Submit button to view your results.

Now that you know how the Gain and Loss Calculator works go ahead and try it out!

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