Forex for a trader
Forex traders loss irs

Forex traders loss irsHow To File Taxes As A Forex Trader. Most new traders never have concern themselves with finding out the specifics of taxes in relation to forex trading. All of a new trader's focus is simply on learning to trade profitably! However, at some point, traders must learn how to account for their trading activity and how to file taxes-hopefully filing taxes is to account for forex gains, but even if there are losses on the year, a trader should file them with the proper national governmental authority. Filing taxes on forex profits and losses can be a bit confusing for new traders. In the United States there are a few options for Forex Trader . First of all, the explosion of the retail forex market has caused the IRS to fall behind the curve in many ways, so the current rules that are in place concerning forex tax reporting could change any time. Regulations are continually being instituted in the forex market, so always make sure you confer with a tax professional before taking any steps in filing your taxes. There are essentially two sections defined by the IRS that apply to forex traders - section 988 and section 1256. Section 1256 is the standard 6040 capital gains tax treatment. This is the most common way that forex traders file forex profits.

Under this tax treatment, 60% of total capital gains are taxed at 15% and the remaining 40% of total capital gains are taxed at your current income tax bracket, which could currently be as high as 35%. Profitable traders prefer to report forex trading profits under section 1256 because it offers a greater tax break than section 988. Losing trader tend to prefer section 988 because there is no capital-loss limitation, which allows for full standard loss treatment against any income. This will help a trader take full advantage of trading losses in order to decrease taxable income. In order to take advantage of section 1256, a trader must opt-out of section 988, but currently the IRS does not require a trader to file anything to report that he is opting out. Also, if your forex account is huge and you lose more than $2 million in any single tax year, you may qualify to file a Form 886. If your broker is based in the United States, you will receive a 1099 at the end of the year reporting your total gainslosses. This number should be used to file taxes under either section 1256 or section 988. Forex trading tax laws in the U. K. are much more trader-friendly than the United States. Currently, spread betting profits are not taxed in the U. K., and many U. K. brokers offer retail forex demo and regular accounts in a spread betting structure. This means a trader can trade the forex market and be free from paying taxes; thus, forex trading is tax-free! This is incredibly positive for profitable forex traders in the U. K. The drawback to spread betting is that a trader cannot claim trading losses against his other personal income. Also, if a trader is managing funds or trading for an institution there are many other tax laws that one may have to abide by. However, if a trader stays with spread betting, no taxes need to be paid on profits. There are different pieces of legislation in process that could change forex tax laws very soon. One should make sure that one confers with a tax professional to ensure he is abiding by all proper laws. Another option that carries a higher degree of risk is creating an offshore business that engages in forex trading in a country with little to no forex taxation; then, pay yourself a small salary to live on each year, which would be taxed in the country where you are a citizen. There are many types of forex software that can help you learn to trade the forex market. This type of business formation is very risky because you must make sure you are abiding 100% by tax laws and not slipping into illegal activities.

This type of operation should be carried out only with the help of a tax professional, and it may be best to confirm with at least 2 tax professionals to make sure you are making the right decisions. How Currency Traders Can Reduce Their Taxes. The foreign exchange market, or forex, as it is more commonly called, is the biggest market in the world with over $4 trillion changing hands every single day. To put that into perspective, it is 12 times greater than the average daily turnover on the global equity markets and more than 50 times greater than the average daily turnover on the NYSE. Trading in foreign currencies has been around for thousands of years. In fact, some of the first known currency traders were the Middle Eastern moneychangers who exchanged coins to facilitate trade. Given a market this size, it is no surprise that the taxation of forex remains a complexity to most traders and tax professionals. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 instituted the provisions covering Section 988 transactions. Section 988 transactions, the default method of taxation for currency traders, treats the gains or losses from forex transactions as ordinary gains or ordinary losses. If you have forex gains, they are taxed as ordinary income, subject to which ever tax bracket you fall under. Let's look at an example: Joe Trader is married and makes $100,000 salary a year. He has a good year trading FOREX, making $50,000 for the year. Joe falls in the 25% tax bracket, making his tax due on his FOREX gain $12,500 ($50,000 X 25%). BUT WHAT ABOUT FOREX LOSSES?

If you lose money trading FOREX, your losses are treated as ordinary losses, and can be used to offset any other income on your tax return. Let's use Joe as an example again: Instead of making $50,000, Joe loses $50,000 trading forex. The $50,000 loss can be taken against his W-2 income, making his taxable income $50,000 ($100,000 - $50,000). If his forex loss were a capital loss instead of an ordinary loss, Joe would only be able to take $3,000 off of his taxes, making his taxable income $97,000. The remaining $47,000 loss would have to be carried forward and used up in future years. So what type of FOREX trader benefits from Section 988 tax treatment? In my opinion, if a trader is not consistently profitable and has other earned income on their tax return, they should stay under the Section 988 taxation to be able to fully utilize any losses that come from FOREX trading. If you are not consistently profitable in your FOREX trading AND you have no other earned income, you should consider doing what profitable FOREX traders should do: opt out of Section 988 tax treatment. I'll explain why at the end of the article. IRC section 988(a) (1) (B) provides FOREX traders with a way to opt out of the ordinary gainloss tax treatment: "Except as provided in regulations, a taxpayer may elect to treat any foreign currency gain or loss. as a capital gain or loss (as the case may be) if the taxpayer makes such election and identifies such transaction before the close of the day on which such transaction is entered into".

This exception gives forex traders the option to opt out of ordinary gainloss treatment; making your forex trades taxed the same as section 1256 contracts. Section 1256 contracts are taxed at a more beneficial rate of 6040, 60% taxed at long term capital gains rates and 40% taxed at short term capital gains rates. The maximum tax rate on ordinary income currently is 39.6%. The maximum tax rate on Section 1256 contracts by comparison is 28%, almost a 30% reduction in taxation on the gains! Using our example above, if Joe had opted out of the Section 988 tax treatment, his tax rate on his $50,000 FOREX gain at a 6040 rate would drop 24% (19% vs. 25%), saving him $3,000 in taxes that year! Here is a comparison of ordinary tax rates vs. the 6040 tax rate using 2013 tax brackets: The IRS requires a trader to make the election to opt out of Section 988 tax treatment internally, meaning you make the opt out election in your own corporate books or records. You do not have to notify the IRS in advance, as you do if you were making the mark to market election. I'd personally suggest having your opt out election notarized, which would help solidify your claim of a timely election if you got audited. Opting out of Section 988 tax treatment for forex traders is a no-brainer decision for profitable traders due to the tax savings. However, it also makes sense for traders who are not consistently profitable yet but also don't have any earned income on their tax returns. If a trader has an ordinary loss and no earned income to offset it against, the ordinary loss ends up being wasted as it cannot be carried forward to future tax years. If you opt out and elect Section 1256 tax treatment, the loss can be carried forward and used against future capital gains. If you are still uncertain as to whether to opt out or not, please seek out the advice of a knowledgeable trader tax specialists to assist you with this decision.

Forex Taxation Basics. For beginner forex traders, the goal is simply to make successful trades. In a market where profits – and losses – can be realized in the blink of an eye, many investors just want to "try their hand" before thinking long-term. While forex can be a confusing field to master, filing taxes in the U. S. for your profitloss ratio can be reminiscent of the Wild West. Here is a breakdown of what you should know – even before your first trade. For Options and Futures Investors. Forex options andor futures are grouped in what are known as IRC Section 1256 contracts. These IRS-sanctioned contracts mean traders get a lower 6040 tax consideration. This means that 60% of gains or losses are counted as long-term capital gainslosses and the remaining 40% as short term. The two main benefits of this tax treatment are: Time Many forex futuresoptions traders make several transactions per day. Of these trades, up to 60% can be counted as long-term capital gainslosses. Tax Rate When trading stocks held less than one year, investors are taxed at the same rate as their ordinary income.

When trading futures or options, investors are taxed at a 23% rate (calculated as 60% long-term x 15% max rate + 40% short-term rate x max income tax rate). For Over-the-Counter (OTC) Investors. Most spot traders are taxed according to IRC Section 988 contracts. These contracts are for foreign exchange transactions settled within two days, making them open to ordinary losses and gains as reported to the IRS. If you trade spot forex you will likely automatically be grouped in this category. The main benefit of this tax treatment is loss protection. If you experience net losses through your year-end trading, being categorized as a "988 trader" serves as a large benefit. As in the 1,256 contract, you can count all of your losses as "ordinary losses" instead of just the first $3,000. Which Contract to Choose. Now comes the tricky part: deciding how to file taxes for your situation. What makes foreign-exchange filing confusing is that while optionsfutures and OTC are grouped separately, you as the investor can pick either a 1256 or 988 contract. You have to decide before January 1 of the trading year. IRC 988 contracts are simpler than IRC 1256 contracts in that the tax rate remains constant for both gains and losses – an ideal situation for losses. Notably, 1256 contracts, while more complex, offer more savings for a trader with net gains – 12% more. The most significant difference between the two is that of anticipated gains and losses.

At most accounting firms you will be subject to 988 contracts if you are a spot trader and 1256 contracts if you are a futures trader. The key factor is talking with your accountant before investing. Once you begin trading you cannot switch from 988 to 1256 or vice versa. Most traders will anticipate net gains (why else trade?) so they will want to elect out of their 988 status and in to 1256 status. To opt out of a 988 status you need to make an internal note in your books as well as file with your accountant. This complication intensifies if you trade stocks as well as currencies. Equity transactions are taxed differently and you may not be able to elect 988 or 1256 contracts, depending on your status. Keeping Track: Your Performance Record. Rather than rely on your brokerage statements, a more accurate and tax-friendly way of keeping track of profitloss is through your performance record. This is an IRS-approved formula for record keeping: Subtract your beginning assets from your end assets (net) Subtract cashdeposits (to your accounts) and add withdrawals (from your accounts) Subtract income from interest and add interest paid Add other trading expenses. The performance record formula will give you a more accurate depiction of your profitloss ratio and will make year-end filing easier for you and your accountant. When it comes to forex taxation there are a few things you will want to keep in mind, including: Deadlines for filing : In most cases, you are required to elect a type of tax situation by January 1. If you are a new trader, you can make this decision before your first trade – whether this is in January 1 or December 31. It is also worth noting that you can change your status mid-year, but only with IRS approval. Detailed record keeping : Keeping good records (and backups) can save you time when tax season approaches. This will give you more time to trade and less time to prepare taxes.

Importance of paying : Some traders try to "beat the system" and earn a full or part-time income trading forex without paying taxes. Since over-the-counter trading is not registered with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) some traders think they can get away with it. Not only is this unethical, but the IRS will catch up eventually and tax avoidancefees will trump any taxes you owed. Trading forex is all about capitalizing on opportunities and increasing profit margins, so a wise trader will do the same when it comes to taxes. Whether you are planning on making forex a career path or are interested in simply seeing how your strategy pans out, taking the time to file correctly can save you hundreds if not thousands in taxes, making it a transaction that's well worth the time. Forex traders loss irs. This topic explains if an individual who buys and sells securities qualifies as a trader in securities for tax purposes and how traders must report the income and expenses resulting from the trading business. This topic also discusses the mark-to-market election under Internal Revenue Code section 475(f) for a trader in securities. In general, under section 475(c)(2), the term security includes a share of stock, beneficial ownership interests in certain partnerships and trusts, evidence of indebtedness, and certain notional principal contracts, as well as evidence of an interest in, or a derivative financial instrument in, any of these items and certain identified hedges of these items. To better understand the special rules that apply to traders in securities, it's helpful to review the meaning of the terms investor, dealer, and trader, and the different manner in which they report the income and expenses relating to their activities. Investors typically buy and sell securities and expect income from dividends, interest, or capital appreciation. They buy and sell these securities and hold them for personal investment; they're not conducting a trade or business. Most investors are individuals and hold these securities for a substantial period of time. Sales of these securities result in capital gains and losses that must be reported on Form 1040, Schedule D. pdf, Capital Gains and Losses , and on Form 8949.pdf, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets , as appropriate. Investors are subject to the capital loss limitations described in section 1211(b), in addition to the section 1091 wash sales rules. Investors may be able to benefit from a deduction for the expenses of producing taxable investment income.

These include expenses for investment counseling and advice, legal and accounting fees, and investment newsletters. They report these expenses on Form 1040, Schedule A. pdf, Itemized Deductions , as miscellaneous deductions allowable to the extent that they exceed 2% of adjusted gross income. They can also deduct interest paid for money to buy or carry investment property that produces taxable income on Schedule A, but under section 163(d), the deduction can't exceed the net investment income. Commissions and other costs of acquiring or disposing of securities aren't deductible but must be used to figure gain or loss upon disposition of the securities. Review Topic No. 703, Basis of Assets , for additional information. Investment income isn't subject to self-employment tax. For more information on investors, refer to Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses . Dealers in securities may be individuals or business entities. Dealers purchase, hold, and sell securities to their customers in the ordinary course of their trade or business. Dealers also can hold themselves out as willing to enter into, assume, offset, assign or otherwise terminate positions in securities with customers in the ordinary course of the trade or business. Sometimes they maintain an inventory. Dealers are distinguished from investors and traders because they have customers and derive their income from marketing securities for sale to customers or from being compensated for services provided as an intermediary or market-maker. Section 475 requires dealers to keep and maintain records that clearly identify securities held for personal gain versus those held for use in their business activity. Dealers must report gains and losses associated with dispositions of securities by using the mark-to-market rules discussed below.

Special rules apply if you're a trader in securities, in the business of buying and selling securities for your own account. The law considers this to be a business, even though a trader doesn't maintain an inventory and doesn't have customers. To be engaged in business as a trader in securities, you must meet all of the following conditions: You must seek to profit from daily market movements in the prices of securities and not from dividends, interest, or capital appreciation; Your activity must be substantial; and You must carry on the activity with continuity and regularity. The following facts and circumstances should be considered in determining if your activity is a securities trading business: Typical holding periods for securities bought and sold; The frequency and dollar amount of your trades during the year; The extent to which you pursue the activity to produce income for a livelihood; and The amount of time you devote to the activity. If the nature of your trading activities doesn't qualify as a business, you're considered an investor and not a trader. It doesn't matter whether you call yourself a trader or a day trader, you're an investor. A taxpayer may be a trader in some securities and may hold other securities for investment. The special rules for traders don't apply to those securities held for investment. A trader must keep detailed records to distinguish the securities held for investment from the securities in the trading business.

The securities held for investment must be identified as such in the trader's records on the day he or she acquires them (for example, by holding them in a separate brokerage account). Traders report their business expenses on Form 1040, Schedule C. pdf, Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship) . The Schedule A limitations on investment interest expense, which apply to investors, don't apply to interest paid or incurred in a trading business. Commissions and other costs of acquiring or disposing of securities aren't deductible but must be used to figure gain or loss upon disposition of the securities. See Topic No. 703, Basis of Assets . Gains and losses from selling securities from being a trader aren't subject to self-employment tax. The Mark-to-Market Election. Traders can choose to use the mark-to-market rules, investors can't. If a trader doesn't make a valid mark-to-market election under section 475(f), then he or she must treat the gains and losses from sales of securities as capital gains and losses and report the sales on Form 1040, Schedule D. pdf, Capital Gains and Losses and on Form 8949.pdf, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets , as appropriate. When reporting on Schedule D, both the limitations on capital losses and the wash sales rules continue to apply.

However, if a trader makes a timely mark-to-market election, then he or she can treat the gains and losses from sales of securities as ordinary gains and losses (except for securities held for investment - see above) that must be reported on Part II of Form 4797.pdf, Sales of Business Property . Neither the limitations on capital losses nor the wash sale rules apply to traders using the mark-to-market method of accounting. A trader must make the mark-to-market election by the original due date (not including extensions) of the tax return for the year prior to the year for which the election becomes effective. You can make the election by attaching a statement either to your income tax return if filed without an extension or to a request for an extension of time to file your return. The statement should include the following information: That you're making an election under section 475(f); The first tax year for which the election is effective; and The trade or business for which you're making the election. Refer to the Form 1040, Schedule D Instructions, Capital Gains and Losses , for more information on how to make the mark-to-market election. It's important to note that in general, late section 475(f) elections aren't allowed. After making the election to change to the mark-to-market method of accounting, you must change your method of accounting for securities under Revenue Procedure 2017-30. In addition to making the election, you'll also be required to file a Form 3115.pdf, Application for Change in Accounting Method (see Revenue Procedures 2015-13, 2015-33, and 2017-30). Publication 550 describes the procedures for making an election under the section called "Special Rules for Traders in Securities." Non-filing of the Form 3115 mentioned above won't invalidate a timely and valid election.

If you've made a valid election under section 475(f), the only way to stop using mark-to-market accounting for securities is to file an automatic request for revocation under Revenue Procedure 2017-30, Section 23.02. Under that revenue procedure, the request for revocation must be filed by the original due date of the return (without regard to extensions) for the taxable year preceding the year of change (the year of change is the first taxable year the revocation is to be effective). This revocation notification statement must be attached to either that return or if applicable, to a request for extension of time to file that return. Late revocations won't generally be allowed except in unusual and compelling circumstances. Explore Tax Treatment On Financial Products. Get the best of both worlds with forex taxes: Ordinary losses in Section 988 or elect capital gains for a chance to use lower 6040 rates in Section 1256(g) “Forex” refers to the foreign exchange market where participants trade currencies, including spot, forwards or over-the-counter option contracts. In the forex industry and IRS content, it’s called the “Interbank” market. Forex differs from trading currency RFCs (regulated futures contracts) on futures exchanges. Like other RFCs, currency RFCs are Section 1256 contracts reported on Form 6781 with lower 6040 capital gains tax treatment. By default, forex transactions start off receiving an ordinary gain or loss treatment, as dictated by Section 988 (foreign currency transactions). The good news is Section 988 ordinary losses offset ordinary income in full and are not subject to the dreaded $3,000 capital loss limitation — that’s a welcome relief for many new forex traders who have initial losses. Section 988 allows investors and business traders — but not manufacturers — to internally file a contemporaneous “capital gains election” to opt-out of Section 988 into a capital gain or loss treatment.

One reason to do so is if you need capital gains to use up capital loss carryovers, which otherwise may go wasted for years. The capital gains election on forex forwards allows the trader to use Section 1256(g) treatment with lower 6040 capital gains rates on major currencies if the trader doesn’t take or make delivery of the underlying currency. “Major currencies” means currencies for which currency RFCs trade on U. S. futures exchanges. There are lists of currency contracts including pairs that trade on U. S. futures exchanges available on the Internet. Section 1256(g) does not mention the inclusion of spot forex, so we make a case for including spot forex in Section 1256(g) in our blog post, A Case For Retail Forex Traders Using Section 1256(g) Lower 6040 Tax Rates. The “Tax Cut & Jobs Act” (Act) The Act created a new 20% deduction on qualified business income (QBI) in pass-through entities. A forex trading company with trader tax status (TTS) is eligible for the QBI deduction as Section 988 ordinary income is includible in QBI for TTS traders. QBI excludes capital gains or investment-related Section 988 ordinary income. Trading is a specified service activity, so the 20% deduction is phased out above the taxable income threshold of $415,000 (married) and $207,500 (other taxpayers).

A forex TTS trading company should weigh the opportunity for this deduction vs. the capital gains election and use of Section 1256(g) lower 6040 tax rates. Consult with us about it. Forex accounting and tax reporting. Summary reporting is used for forex trades, and most brokers offer good online tax reports. Spot forex brokers aren’t supposed to issue Form 1099Bs at tax time. Section 988 is realized gain or loss, whereas, with a capital gains election into Section 1256(g), mark-to-market (MTM) treatment should be used. Section 988 transactions for investors are reported in summary form from gross income. Watch out for negative taxable income caused by forex losses without TTS; some of those losses may be wasted. (If you qualify for TTS, the negative income will likely generate a NOL.) There are several nuances and complexities in forex tax treatment, accounting and tax compliance that you should know about. For example, forex brokers handle rollover interest and trades differently.

Most online trading platforms and brokers only offer forex spot contracts. These contracts clear within two days, whereas forex forward contracts clear in over two days. If a trader wants to stay in a spot trade longer than two days, the broker offers a “rollover trade” which technically is a realized sale and purchase of a new position (but not all brokers treat it that way). Forex spot traders don’t take delivery of the foreign exchange. The Section 988 opt-out election. The election to opt out of Section 988 must be filed internally (meaning you don’t have to file an election statement with the IRS) on a contemporaneous basis (meaning the IRS does not allow hindsight). Section 988 talks about the election on every trade, but you can also make a “good to cancel” election which is more practical. The election can be made and withdrawn throughout the year. For extensive content on forex tax treatment, accounting and reporting, read Green’s 2018 Trader Tax Guide. Explore Tax Treatment On Financial Products. How to Report FOREX Losses. Forex traders can use their net losses to reduce their tax liability. Traders on the foreign exchange market, or Forex, use IRS Form 8949 and Schedule D to report their capital gains and losses on their federal income tax returns.

Forex net trading losses can be used to reduce your income tax liability. However, the IRS limits the loss amount you can deduct each year and traders must calculate the amount accurately. Review your monthly brokerage statement and match up each Forex trade’s buy and sell side. Do not include short or long term trades that are still open. Go to the IRS website and download Form 8949 and Schedule D. After entering your name and Social Security number on Form 8949, select the box that corresponds to your IRS reporting basis. Start with Part 1 if you held the assets for one year or less. Move down to line 1a and fill in a description of the property. In column c, enter the month, day and year you purchased the currency pair, and in column d, enter the month, day and year you sold it. Enter the sales price in column f, and the cost in column g. Enter this information for all your trades. Add the total of columns f and g and enter the information on line 2. Fill in Part II, Long Term Capital Gains, for assets held longer than one year. Complete the form the same way you did for Part I. Put any negative amount in parenthesis. Transfer the totals on Form 8949, Part 1, Line 2, over to Schedule D, Part I, line 1, 2, or 3. Remember to enter the information on the line that corresponds to the box you checked on Form 8949.

Now transfer the totals on Form 8949, Part II, Line 2, over to Schedule D, Part II, line 8, 9 or 10, depending on the box you checked on Form 8949. In Schedule D, Part 1, go to the line you selected and subtract column e from column f and enter the result in column h. Repeat the same steps for the information you entered in Schedule D, Part II. Put any negative amounts in parenthesis. Add up the gains and losses entered on Parts I and II of Schedule D. The IRS limits the amount of loss you can claim to $3,000. If the loss is less than $3,000, you can claim the entire amount. If the loss is greater, you can only deduct $3,000, but you can carry the amount that remains over to next year’s taxes. Please complete the security check to access lightspeed. com. Why do I have to complete a CAPTCHA? Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. What can I do to prevent this in the future? If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. Cloudflare Ray ID: 450144e3b0ac8b22 • Your IP : 193.0.218.8 • Performance & security by Cloudflare. How To File Taxes As A Forex Trader. Most new traders never have concern themselves with finding out the specifics of taxes in relation to forex trading.

All of a new trader's focus is simply on learning to trade profitably! However, at some point, traders must learn how to account for their trading activity and how to file taxes-hopefully filing taxes is to account for forex gains, but even if there are losses on the year, a trader should file them with the proper national governmental authority. Filing taxes on forex profits and losses can be a bit confusing for new traders. In the United States there are a few options for Forex Trader . First of all, the explosion of the retail forex market has caused the IRS to fall behind the curve in many ways, so the current rules that are in place concerning forex tax reporting could change any time. Regulations are continually being instituted in the forex market, so always make sure you confer with a tax professional before taking any steps in filing your taxes. There are essentially two sections defined by the IRS that apply to forex traders - section 988 and section 1256. Section 1256 is the standard 6040 capital gains tax treatment. This is the most common way that forex traders file forex profits.

Under this tax treatment, 60% of total capital gains are taxed at 15% and the remaining 40% of total capital gains are taxed at your current income tax bracket, which could currently be as high as 35%. Profitable traders prefer to report forex trading profits under section 1256 because it offers a greater tax break than section 988. Losing trader tend to prefer section 988 because there is no capital-loss limitation, which allows for full standard loss treatment against any income. This will help a trader take full advantage of trading losses in order to decrease taxable income. In order to take advantage of section 1256, a trader must opt-out of section 988, but currently the IRS does not require a trader to file anything to report that he is opting out. Also, if your forex account is huge and you lose more than $2 million in any single tax year, you may qualify to file a Form 886. If your broker is based in the United States, you will receive a 1099 at the end of the year reporting your total gainslosses. This number should be used to file taxes under either section 1256 or section 988. Forex trading tax laws in the U. K. are much more trader-friendly than the United States. Currently, spread betting profits are not taxed in the U. K., and many U. K. brokers offer retail forex demo and regular accounts in a spread betting structure. This means a trader can trade the forex market and be free from paying taxes; thus, forex trading is tax-free! This is incredibly positive for profitable forex traders in the U. K. The drawback to spread betting is that a trader cannot claim trading losses against his other personal income. Also, if a trader is managing funds or trading for an institution there are many other tax laws that one may have to abide by. However, if a trader stays with spread betting, no taxes need to be paid on profits. There are different pieces of legislation in process that could change forex tax laws very soon. One should make sure that one confers with a tax professional to ensure he is abiding by all proper laws. Another option that carries a higher degree of risk is creating an offshore business that engages in forex trading in a country with little to no forex taxation; then, pay yourself a small salary to live on each year, which would be taxed in the country where you are a citizen. There are many types of forex software that can help you learn to trade the forex market.

This type of business formation is very risky because you must make sure you are abiding 100% by tax laws and not slipping into illegal activities. This type of operation should be carried out only with the help of a tax professional, and it may be best to confirm with at least 2 tax professionals to make sure you are making the right decisions. How Currency Traders Can Reduce Their Taxes. The foreign exchange market, or forex, as it is more commonly called, is the biggest market in the world with over $4 trillion changing hands every single day. To put that into perspective, it is 12 times greater than the average daily turnover on the global equity markets and more than 50 times greater than the average daily turnover on the NYSE. Trading in foreign currencies has been around for thousands of years. In fact, some of the first known currency traders were the Middle Eastern moneychangers who exchanged coins to facilitate trade. Given a market this size, it is no surprise that the taxation of forex remains a complexity to most traders and tax professionals. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 instituted the provisions covering Section 988 transactions. Section 988 transactions, the default method of taxation for currency traders, treats the gains or losses from forex transactions as ordinary gains or ordinary losses. If you have forex gains, they are taxed as ordinary income, subject to which ever tax bracket you fall under. Let's look at an example: Joe Trader is married and makes $100,000 salary a year. He has a good year trading FOREX, making $50,000 for the year. Joe falls in the 25% tax bracket, making his tax due on his FOREX gain $12,500 ($50,000 X 25%). BUT WHAT ABOUT FOREX LOSSES? If you lose money trading FOREX, your losses are treated as ordinary losses, and can be used to offset any other income on your tax return. Let's use Joe as an example again: Instead of making $50,000, Joe loses $50,000 trading forex.

The $50,000 loss can be taken against his W-2 income, making his taxable income $50,000 ($100,000 - $50,000). If his forex loss were a capital loss instead of an ordinary loss, Joe would only be able to take $3,000 off of his taxes, making his taxable income $97,000. The remaining $47,000 loss would have to be carried forward and used up in future years. So what type of FOREX trader benefits from Section 988 tax treatment? In my opinion, if a trader is not consistently profitable and has other earned income on their tax return, they should stay under the Section 988 taxation to be able to fully utilize any losses that come from FOREX trading. If you are not consistently profitable in your FOREX trading AND you have no other earned income, you should consider doing what profitable FOREX traders should do: opt out of Section 988 tax treatment. I'll explain why at the end of the article. IRC section 988(a) (1) (B) provides FOREX traders with a way to opt out of the ordinary gainloss tax treatment: "Except as provided in regulations, a taxpayer may elect to treat any foreign currency gain or loss. as a capital gain or loss (as the case may be) if the taxpayer makes such election and identifies such transaction before the close of the day on which such transaction is entered into". This exception gives forex traders the option to opt out of ordinary gainloss treatment; making your forex trades taxed the same as section 1256 contracts. Section 1256 contracts are taxed at a more beneficial rate of 6040, 60% taxed at long term capital gains rates and 40% taxed at short term capital gains rates.

The maximum tax rate on ordinary income currently is 39.6%. The maximum tax rate on Section 1256 contracts by comparison is 28%, almost a 30% reduction in taxation on the gains! Using our example above, if Joe had opted out of the Section 988 tax treatment, his tax rate on his $50,000 FOREX gain at a 6040 rate would drop 24% (19% vs. 25%), saving him $3,000 in taxes that year! Here is a comparison of ordinary tax rates vs. the 6040 tax rate using 2013 tax brackets: The IRS requires a trader to make the election to opt out of Section 988 tax treatment internally, meaning you make the opt out election in your own corporate books or records. You do not have to notify the IRS in advance, as you do if you were making the mark to market election. I'd personally suggest having your opt out election notarized, which would help solidify your claim of a timely election if you got audited. Opting out of Section 988 tax treatment for forex traders is a no-brainer decision for profitable traders due to the tax savings. However, it also makes sense for traders who are not consistently profitable yet but also don't have any earned income on their tax returns. If a trader has an ordinary loss and no earned income to offset it against, the ordinary loss ends up being wasted as it cannot be carried forward to future tax years. If you opt out and elect Section 1256 tax treatment, the loss can be carried forward and used against future capital gains. If you are still uncertain as to whether to opt out or not, please seek out the advice of a knowledgeable trader tax specialists to assist you with this decision. Posted by Riverman. As I fired up TurboTax and prepared to do my taxes this year, I found myself mystified about how to report forex gains and losses from the spot currency markets where I do my trading. My currency broker had sent me an IRS 1099-B form reporting my overall gains for the year, but didn’t provide any detail on their cost basis, dates, or anything else beyond the cumulative total gain of all my trades.

I didn’t know if there was any other information I’d need to report to the IRS, or where in my tax forms to report it. I assumed Schedule D, along with the rest of my investment earnings, but wasn’t sure. So I went poking around online for free advice on how to handle my forex taxation conundrum (or FTC, for short). In short order, Google delivered me to an excellent article by Robert Green, CPA. It’s a pretty comprehensive overview of tax treatment of different types of investments, and it has a subsection on forex that I found very helpful. In particular, this sentence cleared a few things up nice and quickly: “Traders in forex, both forward and spot contracts, are by default subject to ordinary gain or loss treatment under IRC 988 (foreign currency transaction rules).” Green goes on to discuss ways that forex futures traders can file their gains under Section 1256 of the IRS code to avoid paying at ordinary tax rates. To do so, they would divide their gains and losses between 60% long-term gains (and thus taxed at a lower rate) and 40% short-term gains (taxed at the higher ordinary rate), substantially lowering the overall tax rate on their trades. Green notes that these rules could arguably be applied to the spot forex markets as well…which is where things get complicated. Some further reading in an essay by Jim Forrester of Traders Accounting only succeeded in confirming that the simplest, least controversial way for a spot (or cash) forex trader to file their trades is as ordinary, short-term gains or losses. But Forrester also makes the point, alluded to in Green’s article, that “the IRS enables you to opt out of Section 988 ordinary gains, and thereby retain the favorable 6040 split for these gains under Section 1256.” How you do this is a somewhat complicated process, but if it’s worth it to you to save those percentage points on your taxes, Forrester’s accounting firm will be happy to help you out. As for me, I didn’t have huge forex gains to report, and I didn’t feel like breaking any new ground in IRS policy, and I didn’t feel like paying someone to clarify the difference between Section 988 and Section 1256, and I definitely didn’t want the IRS calling me up and asking me to explain why I’d opted to account for my spot forex trades with forex futures rules.

So I decided to keep it simple and safe and go with ordinary tax rates all the way. But just to be sure, I went right to the source and called up the IRS. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got a live person on the line, and after bouncing between a few people and clarifying some other tax issues (no, I couldn’t double-count mortgage interest as both an itemized personal deduction and a home office business deduction), I got to the IRS employee with all the investment answers. I described my forex trading activity and the 1099-B form I’d received, and his answer was unambiguous: report the gains on Schedule D. Report them as short-term gains. Pay taxes at the short-term gain rate. Describe them as gains from currency investments. End of story. (If you’re ever befuddled about how to report an item on your taxes, I highly recommend calling up the IRS and describing your dilemma in excruciating detail. They won’t mind – in fact they’ll probably ask for even more excruciating detail; they’re required by law to answer your question (provided it’s about taxes); and afterwards you’ll feel reassured that you got the official line on the matter. Which is definitely one of the first things you’d want to mention to an IRS auditor if they ever show up at your door.) Anyway, I hope this rambling taxation narrative was helpful – or at least that those links I provided to real tax advice are. Just keep in mind that this is merely a personal account of my own research into forex tax issues, and for God’s sake don’t take it as the final word on the subject. And now, please read the friendly disclaimer below. And then re-read it. **DISCLAIMER: This post is simply an informational article intended for educational purposes and does not constitute tax advice from a licensed tax preparer. Be sure to consult an accountant or tax professional specializing in forex trading with any tax questions before reporting your trading gains or losses to the IRS.** ***This article was posted 312007, tax laws may have changed.

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