Reported gains from gold ETFs, like the GLD, will be found here too. You’ll see this with mutual funds, REITs, and MLPs.
This is a return of capital used to adjust your initial cost in an investment.
For example, if Box 1a reports $1,000 but Box 1b reports $700, the $700 in qualified dividends would be taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate while the remaining $300 in ordinary dividends ($1,000 – $700 gets you $300) is taxed at your income tax rate.
The next four boxes show capital gains distributions from mutual funds, REITs, collectibles, and small businesses.
In other words it lowers the initial cost basis by that amount.
The cost basis drops by $1/share ($100 divided by 100 shares = $1/share).
Unfortunately, not all dividends and distributions are taxed the same. In turn, it might even help you build a more tax efficient investment strategy and lower your taxes in the long run.
The Form 1099-DIV is issued by banks, brokers, and fund companies when you earn at least in dividends and distribution.
Box 2a shows the total capital gain distributions paid out.
This is typical of mutual funds, and to a lesser degree index funds, as managers sell long-term holdings for a profit.
Box 5 covers investment expenses which can be used to offset gains.
Box 6 reports any foreign tax paid on dividends and distributions with Box 7 showing the name of the country.
Because of this, the amount in Box 2b is taxed at a higher capital gains rate, up to a maximum of 25%.