Adjusted Basis – Definition

Cite this article as:"Adjusted Basis – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated June 8, 2019, last accessed October 19, 2020,


What is the Adjusted Basis?

Adjusted Basis is often used for taxation and accounting purposes. It is the measure of an asset’s net cost after tax deductions or after it has been adjusted for tax purposes. The adjustment basis is calculated after certain modifications have been made to the cost of assets or goods. These modifications (adjustments) might be increases or decreases attributed to the net cost.

The cost of an asset after it has been adjusted for tax purposes is the adjusted basis. When the net cost or original cost of an asset declines as a result of tax deductions and increases due to capital expenditures, the adjusted tax basis is realized.

A Little More on What is Adjusted Basis

An increase can be made as an adjustment to the base (cost) of goods. Assets that offer a value for more than a year can attract certain improvements which can increase their value or usefulness or adapt them for different use.

For instance, if the asset in question in a heavy machinery, improvement to the asset might include building of a new facility for the asset, installation of new systems, among others. The costs for these improvements are added to the base of the goods which in turn causes an increase to the base.

Example of Adjusted Basis

Take for example, if a city council charges a store and other properties on a particular street for transforming the street. The amount charged can be added to the base of the assets that the store owns, the charge is called a depreciable asset.

Decreases in Basis

Decreases to the basis occurs as a result of losses and other declined during the period of holding an asset. Losses that occur as a result of theft can be subtracted as deductible losses or reimbursement for the loss. The amount of money spent on repairs of the assets can also be added as an increase to the base. Losses for assets can be claimed as deductions in tax return.

Example of Tax Basis

Assuming the total amount used for purchase of land and building is a duplex as rental is $40,000 and another extension is made to building with a sum of $10,000. If paradventure the building is destroyed by fire in a particular year, the amount for losses incurred or money used for the rehabilitation of the duplex will be calculated and collected from insurance company.

The adjustment base of the duplex can however be calculated as follows; the gain from the sale of real estate usually regarded as the amount received from an easement and the base of the property affected by fire after the easement has been granted.

References for Adjusted Basis Value

Academic Resources for Adjusted Basis Value

Corporate social responsibility and stock market performance, Alexander, G. J., & Buchholz, R. A. (1978). Corporate social responsibility and stock market performance. Academy of Management journal, 21(3), 479-486. T

Risk-adjusted performance: The correlation correction, Muralidhar, A. S. (2000). Financial Analysts Journal, 56(5), 63-71.

The persistence of risk-adjusted mutual fund performance, Elton, E. J., Gruber, M. J., & Blake, C. R. (1996). Journal of business, 133-157.

Rethinking risk management, Stulz, R. M. (1996). Journal of applied corporate finance, 9(3), 8-25.

Correlation in currency markets a risk-adjusted perspective, Sheedy, E. (1998). Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, 8(1), 59-82.

The implications of using stock-split adjusted I/B/E/S data in empirical research, Payne, J. L., & Thomas, W. B. (2003). The Accounting Review, 78(4), 1049-1067.

Risk-adjusted returns and stock market games, Kagan, G., Mayo, H., & Stout, R. (1995). The Journal of Economic Education, 26(1), 39-50.

The relationship between return and market value of common stocks, Banz, R. W. (1981).

Effects of an inflation-adjusted basis on asset values after capital gains taxes, Klemperer, W. D., & O’Neil, C. J. (1987). Land Economics, 63(4), 386-395.

Risk-adjusted, ex ante, optimal technical trading rules in equity markets, Neely, C. J. (2003). International Review of Economics & Finance, 12(1), 69-87.


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