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.

Cost Basis & Asset Transfers


The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 introduced cost basis reporting requirements for U.S. firms. The law now requires firms to include cost basis and the holding period of closed positions on tax forms for US persons/entities.

This article outlines a few things that affect cost basis information with asset transfers.


Cost Basis information may follow the movement of assets between accounts, both internal asset transfers and external asset transfers.  The following information goes into more detail on these.

Assets Received From Another Firm

Assets Transferred Between IB Accounts

Assets Delivered Out To Another Firm


Covered/Non-Covered Securities

Covered Securities > Assets that US firms will report cost basis to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form 1099.  Taxpayers will use the reported data with their tax filing. 

Non-Covered Securities > Assets that US firms may report cost basis to the IRS.  Taxpayers will report cost basis to the IRS.


Assets Received From Another Firm

 By law, Firms that transfer customer assets to another financial institution must also deliver cost basis information to the new firm within 15 days of the asset delivery.  

The cost basis data may not automatically transfer into IB LLC.  If the delivering firm knows the lots to be “Non-Covered,” then firms are not required to send any cost basis.
  • When can I expect my Cost Basis to update after the transfer of a “Covered Security”?  

If the delivering firm participates in the Cost Basis Reporting Service (CBRS), then IB LLC usually receives the data within 10 business days after the assets post to an IB account.

  • When can I expect my Cost Basis to update after the transfer of a “Non-Covered Security”?
Your account may not reflect an updated cost basis. The Activity Statements will display a unit price as of the closing price on the asset transfer date.  
When the delivering firm fails to send cost basis data, then the transferred assets are considered uncovered for the purposes of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. IB will flag the assets as Non-Covered and will not include the cost basis data on any tax forms or reports. 
  • What are your options when the other firm does not send any cost basis data to IB LLC?
For a “Covered Security,” clients should contact the delivering firm and request transmission of the cost basis directly to IB LLC. The other firm must send the information directly to IB.
For a “Non-Covered Security,” clients should retain the original cost basis for their records and consult their tax advisor. IB will flag the asset as non-covered and will NOT report cost basis information to the IRS.  Clients will remain responsible to report non-covered security transactions with the correct cost basis to the IRS.
  • Can clients send cost basis information to IB for their transferred securities?
No, regulations prohibit IB from form accepting customer-furnished cost basis data on covered securities for US persons and entities. 

Assets Transferred Between IB Accounts

Cost basis information will follow internal account-to-account transfers at IB and other movements of securities with like-titled accounts.

Assets Delivered Out To Another Firm

By default, IB delivers cost basis information to other firms with all outgoing asset transfers electronically via the Cost Basis Reporting Service (CBRS).  IB does not send paper Cost Basis Transfer Statements.



For information about when all tax forms are made available, go to our Tax Information and Reporting page, then click the Reports & 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?


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


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. 


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?


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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