Investor's wiki

Covered Security

Covered Security

What Is a Covered Security?

Covered securities are those that are subject to federally forced exemptions from state limitations and regulations. Most stocks traded in the U.S. are covered securities.

Figuring out Covered Securities

Covered securities were developed to normalize security regulations and filings across the U.S., as opposed to making individual companies register, file and consent to regulations state-by-state. Compliance costs shift widely by state. As per the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), they run as low as a $100 fee and 0.1% of the value of the securities sold in Texas, to a simple $1,000 fee for those offered in Florida.

The 1996 National Securities Market Improvement Act supplanted state regulations and specifies what is a covered security, otherwise called a "federal covered security." The law applies to securities listed on public exchanges, for example, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq National Market, or any national exchange with comparable listing standards. Stocks traded on specific tiers of the Pacific Exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange are classified as covered securities, as are options listed on the International Securities Exchange.

Covered securities likewise incorporate those issued by an investment company that is registered or has filed a registration statement under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The assignment of covered securities reaches out to the sale of those securities to qualified buyers as defined by the SEC.

By type of security, the definition remembers stock for a corporation, including American depositary receipts (ADR), acquired on or after Jan. 1, 2011, or either type of security acquired through a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) on or after Jan. 1, 2012. It incorporates two classes of bonds, derivatives, and options: less-complex assortments purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2014, and complex types purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Tax Treatment of Covered Securities

Brokers must uncover to the Internal Revenue Service the adjusted cost basis of covered securities when they are sold. This must be reported on Form 1099-B. Taxpayers who sell covered securities must likewise report the transactions with their tax filings. Assuming covered securities and non-covered securities are inside a similar investment account, they will be dealt with separately for tax purposes.

Different criteria become possibly the most important factor. Company stocks acquired starting in 2011, as well as shares of stock in dividend reinvestment plans and mutual-fund shares purchased in 2012 and a short time later, are designated as covered securities. This means that many bonds, notes, commodities, and options bought from 2013 ahead are additionally classified as covered securities. Securities purchased prior to these dates are non-covered securities whose adjusted cost basis isn't reported when they are sold.


  • Covered securities are excluded from state limitations and regulations to normalize and improve on regulatory compliance.
  • Covered securities must be acquired after a certain date to qualify.
  • The National Securities Market Improvement Act explains the rules administering covered securities.