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andrereaume
New Member

How do I enter contracts and straddles 1256, profits from futures trades, that is part of my business? My business is trading futures full time.

 
4 Replies
ColeenD3
Expert Alumni

How do I enter contracts and straddles 1256, profits from futures trades, that is part of my business? My business is trading futures full time.

If you meet all the qualifications below and you timely made the mark-to-market election, you can include gains on Form 4797 and expenses on Schedule C.

 

Traders

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).

 

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.pdfSales 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:

 

  1. That you're making an election under section 475(f);
  2. The first tax year for which the election is effective; and
  3. The trade or business for which you're making the election

Traders report their business expenses on Form 1040, Schedule C.pdfProfit 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. 703Basis of Assets. Gains and losses from selling securities from being a trader aren't subject to self-employment tax.

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jlins1
Level 1

How do I enter contracts and straddles 1256, profits from futures trades, that is part of my business? My business is trading futures full time.

Thank you! 

Just a question about this line on your answer: "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), ......."

 

Question:

Where do I make that selection in TurboTax Business?

DawnC
Expert Alumni

How do I enter contracts and straddles 1256, profits from futures trades, that is part of my business? My business is trading futures full time.

You don't make the election in TurboTax.   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:

  1. That you're making an election under section 475(f);
  2. The first tax year for which the election is effective (that is, the tax year for which a timely election is being made); and
  3. The trade or business for which you're making the election.

Refer to the Instructions for Schedule D 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.   @jlins1

 

How to elect Mark to Market - this answer is still valid despite referencing previous years.  

 

Topic No. 429 Traders in Securities 

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jlins1
Level 1

How do I enter contracts and straddles 1256, profits from futures trades, that is part of my business? My business is trading futures full time.

Fantastic! Will do. Thank you so very much. Great answer!

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