What’s New for the 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet

 

 
Wash Sales – If you sold a stock or security at a loss, but re-purchased within 30 days the same or substantially the same security, the Worksheet identifies the sale using code “WS” (Disallowed loss from wash sale).
 
Social Security Number – For security purposes, the first 5 digits of the tax identification number have been removed.
 
Tax Basis Declaration – Two new tax basis methods, made available January 2009, help identify gain/loss methods for trades.  The optional methods Last In, First Out (LIFO) and Maximize Losses (ML) join the default First In, First Out (FIFO) on the Worksheet.
 

Select Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet: Considerations for details about the new features.

Click here to go back to the main 2009 Worksheet article.

 

 

 

IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.

Understanding the 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article has been customized for use by individual US taxpayers investing in securities for information purposes only.  Persons are encouraged to consult a qualified tax professional with the preparation of tax returns.  IB does not provide tax advice.  Traders or dealers in securities, for whom other tax treatment applies, may find the worksheet helpful.  The methodology used to determine the yearly gain or loss, however, differs.  Traders electing the mark-to-market accounting method may consult IRS Instructions for Form 4797, page 2.

The 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet calculates the gain or loss for your securities bought and sold from January 1 through December 31 utilizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines.  Every sell trade executed appears, including short sells, on a trade-date basis.  Not all securities, however, are eligible for inclusion.  For additional information, see the following article categories.


Below we have categorized information about this year's "Worksheet" within the IB Knowledge Base.  Each article provides more details to assist with your understanding of this tool.

 

 

IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.

2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet: Considerations

Overview: 

Interactive Brokers has taken the time to ensure that the gain/loss figures are calculated according to your elected tax methods.  Sell transactions are offset versus the original purchase details available.  Consider the following limitations and issues as you review the Worksheet.

Corporate Actions

For each of the transactions labeled corporate actions, adjustments under to the Worksheet in formation may be required.  The IB Worksheet does not make those adjustments.  Activity classified by the issuer as a sale may be included on the Worksheet, the 1099-B's box 2, and under the Annual Statement’s Corporate Actions section. 

Transactions designated as corporate actions include those processes that impact shareholders by Publicly Traded Companies and result in a material change.  Over 50 voluntary or mandatory actions fall in this category.  Some of the most common processes which may be reported include:   

► Acquisition                              ► Merger

► Captial Reduction                   ► Reverse Split

► Conversion                             ► Rights Issue

► Dividends or Interest              ► Stock Split

 

Option Assignments/Exchanges/Expirations

Options not considered to be Section 1256 contracts appear.  Special rules apply for assignments and exchanges.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments.  The option transaction’s proceeds do NOT get included on the Worksheet next to the actual trade.  In accordance with IRS guidelines, IB includes the proceeds with the assigned stock.  The IRS Publication 550 on page 57 describes in detail the adjustments required for both the option writer and holder. 

If an option expires during the year, IB enters the expiration date under column (c), Date Sold, 0.00 under column (d), Sales price, and assigns “Ep” under the Codes column.  The gain or loss treatment differs for the option writer and holder.  See IRS Publication 550 for details.

 

Short Sales

Securities sold during the year that you do not own are short sales.  The sale proceeds are included in the 1099-B, box 2, and on the Worksheet, regardless of the year in which the sale is covered or closed.  This may cause a difference in the figure reported for your tax purposes versus the IB Worksheet and the 1099. 

Determination of gain or loss takes place when the security covered is purchased at a later date.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments for current and prior year sales.  See IRS Publication 550, page 55 for details.

 

Tax Basis Declaration

The default tax basis method for IB accounts is First In, First Out (FIFO).  This matches the the first assets purchased with most recently sold assets for gain and loss tax purposes.  In January 2009, we added an option to allow modification of the tax basis method.  Customers may elect two additional methods, Last In, First Out (LIFO) or Maximize Losses (ML).

On the Worksheet, trades using the default FIFO method do not have an identification code.  For trades using the methods LIFO or Maximize Losses, the following codes apply: 

First In, First Out (FIFO), code = no code appears

Last In, First Out (LIFO), code = LI

Maximize Losses, code = ML

Note:  The tax basis method may be changed for trades going forward through Account Management.  Select Report Management and choose Tax Basis Declaration.

 

Transferred Accounts

The cost of a transferred security reflects the closing price value and date acquired "as of" the transfer settlement date.  An exception applies for cost and date acquired details manually entered by you within Account Management before January 1.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments for these entries.

If you were unable to complete the online adjustment, then contact your former financial firm for the original cost basis. 

Note:  IB provides the ability through Account Management to update the basis by December 31.  Updates reflect on all future statement records.  Select Report Management and choose Position Transfer Basis.

 

Wash Sales

Stock or security trades sold at a loss, but purchased again within 30 days may be considered wash sales.  The IB Worksheet does identify wash sale trades, beginning in tax year 2009.  Trades considered wash sales are identified by the code “WS” (disallowed loss form wash sales). For more details on trades considered wash sales or the adjustments, see IRS Publication 550, page 56.

 Click here to go back to the main 2009 Worksheet article.

 For information about when all tax forms are made available, go to our Tax Information and Reporting page, then click the Reporting Dates tab.

IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.

 

 

 

How do I select my Country of Legal Residence?

Overview: 

Choosing the correct Country of Legal Residence for non-US persons is important and may provide lower withholding rates.   All Interactive Brokers accounts must select a Country of Legal Residence due to regulatory and reporting laws.

The Country of Legal Residence is your tax home.  Generally, this is your main place of business, employment, post, regardless of your family home.  It is the place where you work or attend school on a long-term basis, permanantly, or indefinitely. 

For an entity, the tax home is the place where the entity was formed.

Your Country of Legal Residence is not always the same as your Passport Country.  For example, a South African passport holder may attend 4 year university in France.  During the study in France, the student tax home would be considered France. 

What if I pay taxes in two countries this year?

It is possible to pay taxes in two countries and to be considered a Legal Resident of both countries during the same year.  When completing an account application, your choice would be the country in which you currently live and will pay taxes to. 

What if I do not have a regular place of business?

In some cases, persons may not have a regular place of business or home.  Your tax home is the place where you live on a regular basis or wherever you work at the time of your application submission.

What if none of these applies?

Your Country of Legal Residence is wherever you work.

For additional help determining your status as either a non-US Legal Resident or a US Legal Resident, visit www.irs.gov to review the IRS Publication 519 or visit http://www.irs.gov/publications/p519/index.html  

 

Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax adviser or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

 

Tax Treaty Benefits

Overview: 

Income payments (dividends and payment in lieu) from U.S. sources into your IB account may have U.S. tax withheld.  Generally, a 30% rate is applied to non-U.S. accounts.  Exemption from the withholding or a lower rate may apply if your home country has a tax treaty with the U.S.  Complete the applicable Form W-8 to find out your status. 

Background: 

Tax Treaties*

U.S. tax treaties with some countries have different benefits.  Legal tax residents of the following countries may be eligible for the treaty benefits.  Below is a list of the tax treaty countries.  Benefits vary by country.

Australia Czech Republic India Lithuania Sweden
Austria Denmark Indonesia Poland Switzerland
Bangladesh Egypt Ireland Portugal Thailand
Barbados Estonia Israel Romania Trinidad & Tobago
Belgium Finland Italy Russia Tunisia
Bulgaria France Jamaica Slovak Republic Turkey
Canada Germany Japan Slovenia Ukraine
China, People's Rep. Of Greece Kazakhstan South Africa United Kingdom
Commonwealth of Ind. States Hungary Korea, Rep. of Spain Venezuela
Cyprus Iceland Latvia Sri Lanka  

*Country list as of April 2009

 

Refer to IRS Publication 901 for details on withholding rates for your tax residence country and your eligible benefits.

 

Why am I required to disclose my employment with a financial institution?

Rule 407 of the New York Stock Exchange prohibits a member organization (i.e., IB) from opening a securities or commodities account or executing any transaction for an account in which an exchange member, employee associated with another exchange member or member organization or an exchange employee is directly or indirectly interested without prior written consent of the employer.  The rule also requires IB to promptly submit to the account holder's employer duplicate account statements and confirmations.

Applicants who designate employment or affiliation with another broker are required to submit a Rule 407 letter containing the email address of their organization in order to provide notification and consent to the employer and for the purpose of transmitting statements and confirmations.  If the employment is with a financial institution and  no such Rule 407 letter is submitted, IB's Compliance Department will typically contact the applicant in order to confirm that Rule 407 does not apply.

Can I customize my User Name?

Overview: 

As the User Name is the principal factor for identifying accounts upon log in, by definition, no two accounts can share the same User Name.  IB enforces this constraint at the point of application by allowing the applicant to define the first 5 characters (lower-case letters) of the User Name and randomly assigning three trailing numbers which are then appended to the applicant-defined characters.  Allowing the applicant to select these leading 5 characters is intended to strike a balance between enforcing unique User Names and providing a User Name that is easy to remember.

The User Name is required for log in to all account applications including Account Management, WebTrader and TraderWorkstation.  Once established, the User Name cannot be changed and will remained associated with the account throughout its life.


How do I find out about the status of my account application?

Once you have completed the on-line portion of the application, you will be provided with a list of any documentation required to be submitted in order to verify the identity and/or address of the account holder as well as forms of documentation which will satisfy the request. Documentation may be submitted via fax or email (i.e., scanned documents).

While waiting for this documentation, the application will be reviewed to determine whether clarification is required for any responses provided during the course of the application.  This is most often the case where the applicant  is unemployed or retired, warranting additional due diligence in order to ensure that the applicant's financial qualifications are sufficient. 

Once IB has received the necessary documentation and clarifying responses, a decision will be made regarding account approval.  Applicants will be informed of that decision via e-mail and may log in through the Complete Application link to view the current application status.

Margin oversight for U.S. listed securities & commodities products

The particular regulation which determines the minimum amount of margin collateral that each broker is required to collect from clients transacting in U.S. exchange listed products generally depends upon the following 3 factors:

1. Product Classification - the principal determinant of regulatory oversight is based upon whether the product is classified as a security or commodity. Security products, including stocks, bonds, options and mutual funds are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Commodity products, which include futures contracts and options on futures contracts, are regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  Single stock futures, a special class of futures contracts, are considered a hybrid product subject to joint regulation by the SEC and CFTC.

In the case of security products, the US central bank referred to as the Federal Reserve (FRB) holds responsibility for regulating the extension of credit by brokers and dealers.  This is accomplished through Regulation T, or Reg T as it is commonly referred, which provides for establishment of a margin account and which imposes the initial margin requirement and payment rules on certain securities transactions.  For example, on stock purchases, Reg T currently requires an initial margin deposit by the client equal to of 50% of the purchase value, allowing the broker to extend credit or finance the remaining 50%.  Reg T does not establish margin requirements for securities options which fall under the jurisdiction of exchange rules (subject to SEC approval).  In addition, the FRB has excluded from Reg T the authority to establish either initial or maintenance margin requirements on securities positions held in a portfolio margining account.  here margin authority resides with the security exchanges whose rules are subject to SEC approval. 

The authority for establishing margin rates on commodity products resides with the listing exchanges, with the exception of broad based stock index futures, for which the FRB has delegated authority to the CFTC.

In the case of single stock futures, margin is set by the listing exchange and subject to SEC approval to the extent the position is carried in a securities account, and subject to an agreement that the margin be equivalent whether held in a securities or commodities account.  Margin for single stock futures are currently set at 20% of the underlying stock value.

2. Initial or Maintenance - initial margin generally refers to the amount of money or its equivalent that the customer must deposit in order to initiate the position and maintenance margin the amount of equity which must be maintained in order to continue holding the position. As noted above, Reg T controls the initial margin requirement on securities transactions.  The rules of the listing exchanges specify the maintenance margin requirements on security transactions subject to SEC approval.  The maintenance margin requirement for long stock positions is currently set at 25% although brokers often establish 'house margin' requirements in excess of that, particularly where the security is considered low-priced or subject to volatile price changes.

Commodities exchanges establish both the initial and maintenance margin requirements for products which they list (subject to provisions for broad based index futures and single stock futures as noted above).

3. Listing Exchange - as noted above, in the case of US securities products the listing exchange has the authority to establish rules for the maintenance margin requirement on positions held in a Reg T margin account and initial and maintenance margin (currently the same) for positions held in a portfolio margin account. Exchange margin rules, however, require prior SEC approval which acts to ensure that margin requirements are set  in a consistent manner across exchanges.  

Subject to the provisions noted above, commodities exchanges maintain authority to establish both initial and maintenance margin requirements.  As a general rule, US commodities exchanges employ the same risk-based margining methodology referred to as SPAN for determining the margin requirement on listed positions with each exchange specifying the relevant SPAN input factors (e.g., Price Scan Range, Volatility Scan Range, Spread Charges, Combined Commodity offsets).

Glossary terms: 

Tips for selecting your security questions and answers

The security questions represent just one component of the security framework which IB has put into place to protect your account. We offer the following simple tips for selecting your security questions and answers in order to make the most effective use of this security measure:

1. Choose questions having answers that you can remember in the future and answer consistently.

2. Use one-word answers whenever possible.

3. Be careful with spaces. If you use "San Diego" as an answer to one of your security questions, the system will reject "SanDiego."

4. Avoid using quirky or nonsensical answers as they'll likely to be difficult to remember later.

5. Select a question which cannot be easily guessed or researched, has many possible answers and where the probability of guessing the correct answer is low.

6. Select a question for which the answer is unlikely to be known by others such as a family member, close friend, relative, ex-spouse, or significant other.

7. Choose a question having an answer which is stable and not likely to change over time.

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