Day-Trading Taxes

Day-trading stocks and ETFs can make doing your taxes a nightmare. That is not the case with futures. No matter how many futures contracts you trade, at the end of the year, you get a 1099-B from your broker with a single number on it: profit-or-loss for the year.

Your taxes may vary, but this is probably all that you will need to do:

Add to your 1040 a Form 6781 “Gains and Losses From Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles.” It’s a simple form with only one calculation: you plug in your number from the 1099-B and use a formula to split it into long-term and short-term capital gains/losses.

Those two numbers then get plugged into your Schedule D – “Capital Gains and Losses” which you probably already have attached to your 1040. And that’s it.

Form 6781 isn’t exotic either. It’s right there in the IRS’s website, and can be easily added to your 1040.

If you are new to day-trading, be sure to read my book: The General Theory of Day-Trading.