How do I Complete a Schedule D Form?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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When you have to complete an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule D form, a tax document used in the United States, you may do well to start by obtaining a copy of the form and its instructions. You may then use these documents to become familiar with the information you will have to supply and the calculations you will have to make. Once you are ready, you will have to input descriptions, dates, and amounts for both short- and long-term losses. After adding these numbers to your Schedule D form, you will then follow the instructions on the form to calculate your net losses and gains.

The first step you'll take to complete an IRS Schedule D form is a visit to the IRS website. The IRS website will provide an explanation of the purpose of this form, which is to report your capital gains and losses for the applicable tax year. For example, if you sold a business or stocks, you may need to complete Schedule D along with the year’s other required tax documents. Additionally, you may do well to read the instructions provided on the IRS website before you begin to complete a Schedule D form.


To complete a Schedule D form, you will have to enter any applicable information in Part I of the form. This part of the form is used for the purpose of reporting your short-term gains and losses, which are losses or gains for assets you had for a year or less. You will have to enter data in this section for the date you acquired the asset, the date you sold it, the amount of money for which you sold it, and the amount of the gain or loss. Once you have entered this information, you can follow the steps listed to calculate your net gains or losses for this section.

Part II of Schedule D must be completed in much the same way as Part I. The difference with this section, however, is that you will calculate your gains and losses for the assets you had for a year or more. As with Part I, you will have to include a description of each asset, the date on which you acquired it, the date on which you sold it, the sale price, and the amount of money you gained or lost. You will then use the steps in this section to calculate the net value of your losses or gains.

After you’ve completed Part I and II, the remaining parts of the form use the calculations you’ve made. You will have to combine your final numbers for Part I with your final numbers for Part II. The remaining steps you will have to take are outlined in the last part of the form and depend on whether the net numbers from Part I or II are gains or losses. Once you’ve finished all your calculations, you may do well to review your entries to ensure that you haven’t left anything out or made mistakes.


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