User Guide


Negative Shares Error Checklist

Use the checklist below to help identify and resolve your negative shares error. If you need help, at least try to identify the cause of the error and then contact our support department for help resolving.
You might want to print this checklist and use as a worksheet! If you are viewing this from the built-in help file in TradeLog, click the Print button at the top of this window. If you are viewing this on our website, go to the print option in the web browser you are using to print the current page.
Missing baseline positions (positions held open from the previous year) – this is the cause of most negative share errors for TradeLog users.
New users
o Did you manually enter your baseline positions before importing your trade history? See step 2 of the Getting Started Guide: Enter Baseline Positions
o Check your December statement to make sure you included any positions that were pending settlement when calculating baseline positions. See our online tutorial 'Gathering and Entering Baseline Information' under Step 2 tutorials.
o Did you enter all positions in the correct format? Using current market ticker symbols for stocks; and the option long format for any option contracts (ex: AAPL 22JAN12 242 PUT)? See the topic 'Entering Baseline Positions' for step by step instructions.
o Did you include any mutual funds or bonds? These are usually reported in TradeLog. See our online Tax Topic about Mutual Funds.
Previous users
o Did you run the End Tax Year function at the completion of your previous tax year file? This function automatically creates the next tax year data files, carrying forward any positions held open as of year-end. See Step 6 of the Getting Started Guide: End the tax year
o If you did run the End Tax Year function, are you using the new tax year file created automatically by TradeLog? See the topic 'Opening an Existing Data File'
o Verify if your TradeLog file includes positions that were held open from the previous tax year, and if so, confirm that these positions match with what is reported on your December statement from the previous tax year. See Step 4 of the Getting Started Guide: Verify your TradeLog data
Basic errors – these are some basic errors that can cause Negative Shares.
o Are there negative amounts in the shares column? TradeLog works on an open trade, close trade system therefore there should not be negative amounts in the shares column. See 'How TradeLog Works' Concept #2 to understand more.
o Are there stock descriptions listed in the Ticker column? TradeLog must have the actual market ticker for proper trade matching. See the topic 'Manually Entering a Trade' and 'Changing Stock Descriptions to Ticker Symbols'
o Are there CUSIP numbers in the ticker field instead of a ticker symbol (ex. 037833100 in place of AAPL)? TradeLog uses market ticker symbols or long form option tickers, CUSIP numbers must be converted for proper matching. See the topic 'Manually Entering a Trade'
Corporate actions – if not adjusted for, these can cause negative share errors. Check your broker statements for reported corporate actions. Or you can lookup the security that has negative share errors online to view corporate action history.
o Brokers may report a closing position at a 0 amount to refer to a corporate action but this may cause a negative share error. If a trade is listed with a $0 amount then verify the trade history with your broker statement(s) to identify possible causes.
o Did a security change ticker symbols or go bankrupt (in turn, replacing the symbol with a CUSIP number)? This trade may not be matched properly with a close position. See the topic 'Changing Tickers'
o Was there a stock split or reverse split adding or subtracting away shares or contracts from your portfolio? See the topic 'Adjusting for Stock Splits'
o If dealing with options after a stock split, did you opt to change the strike price of that option based on the split ratio? The open and close positions will not match if the strike prices are different. See the topic 'Splitting Option Trades'
o Did shares spinoff from a parent company into its child company? See the topic 'Adjusting for Spinoffs'
Trades out of order – TradeLog attempts to match trades. However, at times broker reporting is out of order and closing positions are unable to be matched to the proper open position. If your broker does not report a time stamp or is known to not list trade history in the order of execution then this may be the cause of your errors. The Fix Trades Out of Order function may be a quick solution to your negative share errors.
o Browse your trade history. Do you see closing positions that appear to occur before an open position? Tips:
- Isolate the ticker that is causing the negative shares error by going to Find>Ticker and typing the ticker symbol. See the topic 'Finding a Ticker'
- When isolating a stock or option ticker do you see a positive or negative number under the “Shares Open:” section of the Profit/Loss Summary Bar? If the number is positive there is a good chance your trades are out of order! See 'Overview of Main Window' to understand the Profit/Loss Summary Bar
o Did you use the Match Tax Lots function? Did you match the lots correctly so that there are not more shares closed in one round trip than are actually open? (Match lots is not to be used arbitrarily, buy only to replicate actual execution orders). See the topic 'Match Tax Lots'
Trades mislabeled – sometimes trades are mislabeled as a result of insufficient broker reporting or an import error. The result may prevent TradeLog from properly matching trades.
o View the trades that are triggering the negative shares error. Is a trade being reported as a close long position when it should actually be an open short position? Are there other trades for the same ticker that are incorrectly labeled? You may need to look up the trade in question with your broker statement or online history to verify.
o Does your broker report short sale positions? (See the broker support matrix.) If no, and you have positions labeled as short in your file it is possible they are mislabeled.
o Did you attempt to use Toggle Long/Short or Short/Long on any trades before you received this negative shares error? See the topic 'Toggle Long/Short'
o Are the negative share errors isolated to one or two trades, or is this a trend in your TradeLog file? A trend is an indicator of a possible problem with labeling and matching of trades from broker import. If you notice a trend you should contact our Support Department for assistance.
Still having problems? Send your TradeLog data file to our support department for assistance identifying the cause of a negative shares error.