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Taxes for Traders


MTrader Class (C) copyright MTrader

February 21, 2003
by Robert Green, CPA - GreenCPA
Beth Walter, CPA - WalterCPA
Darren Neuschwander CPA - NeuschwanderCPA

[09:29] <rgreen> Welcome MTraders to's chat today on taxes. For one hour.
[09:29] <rgreen> Robert Green CPA and Darren Neuschwander CPA are hosting the chat. Green answers questions and Darren gives some links and fills in when needed
[09:29] <rgreen> We have a new Website with ton's of new information for 2002
[09:30] <rgreen> Visit
[09:30] <rgreen> or, same site
[09:30] <monteng> let ur rip tater chip
[09:30] <KenWolff> Welcome Robert.... you have the floor!!
[09:30] <rgreen> Welcome all, who has the first question
[09:30] <KenWolff> We want to know how to avoid and evade taxes..
[09:30] <hockey1> ha ha
[09:30] <rgreen> Our GTT TradeLog software was rated best by Barrons recently
[09:30] <dwander>
[09:31] <rgreen> tax avoidance is a ticket to jail
[09:31] <rgreen> You can be clever and aggressive but you must pay your taxes
[09:31] <rgreen> all the tax shelter promoters are being busted now
[09:31] <rgreen> read about it in the papers
[09:31] <rgreen> You can lower your taxes with trader tax status
[09:31] <rgreen> that's business treatment
[09:31] <rgreen> deduct home office, and every thing under the sun
[09:31] <barron> With Trader status, can I expense trade commissions?
[09:32] <rgreen> set up an entity to deduct health insurance and a retirement plan
[09:32] <rgreen> everyone can expense commissions
[09:32] <rgreen> commissions are part of capital gains and losses and even investors deduct them
[09:32] <dwander> Trader Status:
[09:32] <rgreen> it's the other expenses that count
[09:32] <rgreen> you need trader tax status on your own or in a trading company to deduct the other expenses
[09:33] <rgreen> next question?
[09:33] <rgreen> if you don't have an entity with trader tax status, you can't deduct your health insurance premiumns
[09:33] <rgreen> that is why we set up entities for our trader clients
[09:33] <rgreen> they can also then deduct retirement plans
[09:33] <dwander> Trader Entities:
[09:33] <rgreen> sorry if I scarred you all on "avoiding" and "evading"
[09:34] <rgreen> the media goes after those terms now
[09:34] <rgreen> as a business trader you can convert all your otherwise regular expenses into business deductions. That is the best way to "limit" taxes
[09:34] <rgreen> any questions here?
[09:35] <rgreen> do you all use mark-to-market accounting to deduct your trading losses and get back large refunds on losses?
[09:35] <rgreen> do any of you have entities?
[09:35] <rgreen> do any of you have IRS exam problems?
[09:35] <phi1l> ... losses??
[09:35] <dwander> MTM:
[09:35] <rgreen> If you are part-time trading, you may not qualify for trader tax status
[09:35] <Eubac> Any statuatory changes in wash rules?
[09:35] <rgreen> trading losses are generally capital losses and hopefully you all have gains
[09:35] <rgreen> no changes in wash sales
[09:35] <rgreen> they are a nightmare
[09:36] <dwander> Wash Sales:
[09:36] <rgreen> wash sales can be good
[09:36] <catman> define part-time please
[09:36] <rgreen> for year end 2002 if you have excess capital losses, then wash sales are good
[09:36] <rgreen> you can convert those wash sales in to ordinary MTM losses for 2002
[09:36] <rgreen> MTM is mark to market
[09:36] <dwander> Part-time Trader:
[09:36] <rgreen> part time means you have another job or living besides trading
[09:36] <rgreen> the irs is scutinizing part time traders
[09:37] <rgreen> part time traders may want a separate entity to get the IRS off their back
[09:37] <rgreen> like an S-Corp
[09:37] <catman> will a separate entity totally eliminate that part time issue?
[09:37] <rgreen> part time traders with MTM ordinary losses and a net operating loss NOL refund will get IRS questions most likely and fight on their hands
[09:37] <hockey1> any way to write off my car if im trading from home
[09:38] <rgreen> no a separate entity will help get the IRS off your back, but if you get tripped up otherwise, you still need to qualify for trader tax status in the entity
[09:38] <rgreen> at home traders have little use for a car
[09:38] <rgreen> and therefore a tough time explaining the deduction for a car to the irs
[09:38] <rgreen> if you have another trading office, then the car works
[09:38] <hockey1> what other write offs can we get away with
[09:38] <rgreen> be careful with how you report your expenses.
[09:38] <rgreen> maybe take some car, but lump it in with travel
[09:39] <_jdb> what other requirements are there for trader status?
[09:39] <rgreen> computers, home office, supplies, phone, services and tons more
[09:39] <rgreen> trader tax status means you trade everyday all day and it's a business
[09:39] <rgreen> IRS Pub 550 chapter 4 Special Rules for Traders
[09:39] <rgreen> the trader tax status rules are vague
[09:39] <rgreen> part time traders need our Trader Tax Status and MTM Guide
[09:40] <rgreen> you can have trader tax status on the entity level and deliver business tax breaks to your spouse, friends and family
[09:40] <dwander> Trader Tax Status and MTM Guide:
[09:40] <rgreen> we have groudbreaking new research on the "trading rule" and tax breaks for others in your "trading" company
[09:40] <rgreen> next question
[09:41] <rgreen> you can use the GTT "trading rule" loophole for 2002
[09:41] <KenWolff> good information
[09:41] <dwander> GTT "trading rule" loophole:
[09:41] <rgreen> if your spouse is listed on your account, you can have a partnership after-the-fact and have MTM for 2002, with ordinary loss treatment and huge refunds
[09:41] <monteng> is $3000 the max caryover from a previous bad year
[09:41] <rgreen> yes capital losses are limited to 3k per year and that is rediculous
[09:42] <rgreen> we are trying to get Congress to change that with our advocacy campaign
[09:42] <rgreen> every securities trader needs MTM to avoid the capital loss limitation
[09:42] <KenWolff> Would you know the rule for taking money out of my IRA for private investment in rare coins??
[09:42] <dwander> Husband/Wife Partnership:
[09:42] <rgreen> early distribtutions from IRA are subject to tax and a 10% excise penalty
[09:42] <dwander> Advocacy campaign:
[09:43] <rgreen> IRAs can make some investments and you need to see what the administrator allows
[09:43] <rgreen> the new Mini 401K plan from GTT gives the most flexibility
[09:43] <rgreen> so no full answer for you Ken on the coins
[09:43] <KenWolff> OK.. thanks..
[09:43] <rgreen> next question
[09:43] <dwander> Mini 401k:
[09:43] <KenWolff> what age do you have to be to take the money with no penalty??
[09:43] <rgreen> 59 1/2
[09:43] <KenWolff> thanks..
[09:44] <KenWolff> what if you feel 59 1/2 ??
[09:44] <rgreen> go to and search IRAs and get all good answers there
[09:44] <KenWolff> sorry
[09:44] <rgreen> traders feel young
[09:44] <rgreen> for general tax questions the IRS is the best in the business now with Web site help
[09:44] <rgreen> but they don't show you how to save money
[09:44] <rgreen> GTT shows you how to save money
[09:44] <catman> I'm shocked
[09:44] <rgreen> plus no one knows beans about traders not even H&R Block
[09:45] <Eubac> What does GreenCo cost?
[09:45] <rgreen> We really recommend our guides again this year
[09:45] <rgreen> tax prep with GTT costs $650 per year
[09:45] <rgreen> It includes all our guides and login areas
[09:45] <hockey1> when your say capital loss limitations if you are still up after all your writeoffs how does that come into play if you made money
[09:45] <rgreen> we guarantee to save you more money then our fee
[09:45] <rgreen> so Uncle Sam pays us not you
[09:45] <dwander> GTT Guides:
[09:46] <rgreen> you can make money and still get stuck with wash sales and owe more taxes
[09:46] <dwander> GTT Tax Prep:
[09:46] <rgreen> if you make money, then you are not effected by the capital loss limitation rules
[09:46] <rgreen> when you convert to MTM from cash, there are several clever strategies
[09:47] <rgreen> you can convert unrealized losses into realized ordinary losses and avoid that capital loss limitation (I used the avoid word)
[09:47] <rgreen> next question
[09:47] <rgreen> Profitable traders need an entity to deduct retirement plans and health insurance premiumns
[09:47] <rgreen> Our Mini 401K plan strategy puts 5-7k in your pocket by contributing 14k to 40k in a plan
[09:48] <rgreen> see our Mini 401K plan page
[09:48] <dwander> Mini 401(k):
[09:48] <rgreen> without an entity, you can't deduct your health insurance premiumns
[09:48] <rgreen> an entity costs around $750 and you save 5k ASAP, so it pays
[09:48] <dwander> Trader Entities:
[09:48] <rgreen> a single member LLC SMLLC is best and you don't even have to file another tax return, so no extra prep fees
[09:49] <rgreen> part time traders should use an S-Corp rather then SMLLC instead
[09:49] <rgreen> any questions here?
[09:49] <rgreen> can't believe you are all set with your taxes
[09:49] <rgreen> GTT has great services for hedge fund traders
[09:49] <dwander> Hedge Fund Services:
[09:50] <cchpgc> I have been working with you guys especially Darren and have been really happy with the help - the GTT trader log worked great as I had used 5 companies for trades in 2002
[09:50] <rgreen> we can show you how to raise money with the trader tax status benefits and have a competitive edge versus other money managers
[09:50] <rgreen> that's great cchpgc
[09:50] <rgreen> we aim to please
[09:50] <rgreen> we want all your preparation business so call us and we will make you an "offer you can't refuse."
[09:51] <rgreen> Darren is doing great with GTT and we have other new CPAs as well and are working to have the lowest price points around, while keeping the best service and service quality
[09:51] <blizzard> how would you suggest separating investment accounts from trading accounts for MTM purposes?
[09:51] <rgreen> lot's of our competitors are bad news in our opinion and we find errors in their work all the time
[09:52] <rgreen> we also get hired by their clients to defend them in IRS exams after they made blunders which caused the exams
[09:52] <rgreen> yes, you need to "segregate" investment from trading positions
[09:52] <dwander> IRS exams:
[09:52] <rgreen> the IRS proposed regulations call for separate accounts
[09:52] <cchpgc> I think the last time you were in here - I think you said for 2001 you guys did 1500 trader returns and had 3 IRS problems - was that correct?
[09:52] <rgreen> but those are just proposed regulations and you can still combine positions in one account, but must segregate them
[09:53] <rgreen> we suggest that you email yourself on a daily basis when you purchase an investment position
[09:53] <rgreen> the irs will look into fooling around between investment and trading positions in an exam, so don't play games here
[09:53] <blizzard> ty
[09:54] <rgreen> yes, to date we have had 3 trade IRS exams and won them all ASAP, and that is out of many thousands of trader tax returns filed
[09:54] <Eubac> What is the difference between investment and daytrading other than long term taxes?
[09:54] <rgreen> we have also been hired by many other traders to help them in exams
[09:54] <cchpgc> Really good
[09:54] <rgreen> we also have 2 exams in appeals and we are fighting hard to win
[09:54] <rgreen> the irs is attacking 1 of our traders on "sporadic" part time trading and we think we will still win
[09:54] <barron> what's the definition of investment vs trade position?
[09:55] <rgreen> another trader was attacked because he traded his wife's account and his name was not on it.
[09:55] <rgreen> so we are representing about 10 clients now with the IRS and the ones that are tough are the ones where other CPAs and the client's themselves caused their own exams with blunders in preparation
[09:56] <rgreen> day trading and trading businesses by nature don't hold positions for over 12-months which is needed to get long-term capital gains rates on securities
[09:56] <rgreen> business traders can segregate investments and still benefit from long term capital gains
[09:56] <rgreen> are you all mostly trading securities
[09:56] <rgreen> or some are trading commodiites
[09:56] <rgreen> the rules are different and so are the strategies
[09:56] <Eubac> So what you mean by "investment" is 12 month holding?
[09:57] <rgreen> also currencies and single stock futures have special rules
[09:57] <Eubac> goal of 12 months
[09:57] <rgreen> an investment position is held outside of your trading business and you intend to hold it for price appreciation rather then quick swings in price
[09:57] <dwander> Commodities:
[09:57] <hockey1> is there a diffrence between futures and equity trading tax wise
[09:57] <Eubac> Yes, but what tax difference?
[09:58] <rgreen> to get a long-term capital gains rate benefit, you must hold an investment position over 12-months
[09:58] <Eubac> got it
[09:58] <rgreen> if you call it a trading position and hold it for 12-months, you are technically not supposed to get a long-term capital gain, but this is not clear in the law
[09:58] <rgreen> yes, futures are commodities and different from securities
[09:59] <rgreen> darren give commodities page
[09:59] <rgreen> we also have a GTT Commodity Tax Guide
[09:59] <dwander> Commodities:
[09:59] <rgreen> futures and commodities have better tax rates
[09:59] <rgreen> 60% is long term and 40% is short term
[09:59] <sunlight> do you sell the guides to non clients?
[09:59] <dwander> GTT Commodity Tax Guide:
[09:59] <rgreen> futures and commodities are section 1256 contracts reported on Form 6781 and then split 60/40 to Schedule D for capital gains
[10:00] <Eubac> Some brokers are featuring the new "single stock futures" in place of shorting securites, does that apply to different from securities?
[10:00] <rgreen> if you have Form 6781 losses, you can carry them back 3 years to only Form 6781 gains
[10:00] <dwander> All GTT Guides:
[10:00] <rgreen> yes, the guides are sold to all on our site
[10:00] <rgreen> if you sign up for preparation, you then get a credit for your purchase of the guides
[10:00] <blizzard> must you list all trades if reporting as MTM trader?
[10:01] <rgreen> single stock futures are taxed the same as securities
[10:01] <rgreen> Darren give the ssf page
[10:01] <sunlight> why is the 60/40 split better for commodities if you're MTM trader? Shouldn't all losses be short term on Schedule C or on the entitiy's return?
[10:01] <dwander> Single Stock Futures:
[10:01] <rgreen> shorting ssf against securities could trigger the straddle loss deferral rules so be careful and check with us
[10:01] <rgreen> the irs wants you to list all trades on Sch D, but we advise otherwise
[10:02] <rgreen> we have all our clients for over 20 years report one line item per broker and say "details available on request"
[10:02] <rgreen> the irs gets the 1099B listing all your trades
[10:02] <rgreen> you can attach our GTT TradeLog reports
[10:02] <dwander> Bob please follow up on this: <sunlight> why is the 60/40 split better for commodities if you're MTM trader? Shouldn't all losses be short term on Schedule C or on the entitiy's return?
[10:03] <rgreen> don't bother listing all trades on your tax return, you will probably make an erros, Quicken will make errors and your accountant will overcharge you for something you don't need
[10:03] <dwander> GTT TradeLog:
[10:03] <rgreen> we don't recommend MTM IRC 475 for commodity traders, so they don't lose their 60/40 capital gains rate benefit
[10:04] <rgreen> if you lose your shirt in commodities by 4/10/03 then elect 475 for 2003 to give up 60/40 and get ordinary gain or loss treatment, so you have ordinary loss treatment
[10:04] <blizzard> isn't form 4797 used to report MTM trades?
[10:04] <sunlight> but if you're profitable in commodities?
[10:04] <rgreen> IRC 475 MTM traders don't report their ordinary gains and losses on Schedule C, that causes an IRS exam, rather it's reported on Form 4797 Part II ordinary gain or loss
[10:05] <rgreen> profitable commodities traders have MTM under section 1256, so all year end positions are mark-to-market and they should skip MTM under IRC 475 - don't confuse the 2 MTMS
[10:05] <sunlight> thanks
[10:05] <rgreen> Entites have different forms and schedules
[10:05] <rgreen> Entities also use Form 4797, Schedule D and Form 6781
[10:06] <rgreen> Rather then Sch C, entities just have the face of their return. Form 1065 for partnerships (including LLCs)
[10:06] <rgreen> yes, Form 4797 is for IRC 475 MTM
[10:06] <rgreen> a commodities trader who wants IRC 475 MTM will first report on Form 6781 and then transfer the results to Form 4797
[10:07] <rgreen> in preparation, we have many strategies for transferring items from one schedule to another and this is very key
[10:07] <rgreen> next question
[10:07] <rgreen> you need to qualify for securities and commodities trader tax status separately
[10:08] <rgreen> unless you can tie the two trading programs together
[10:08] <rgreen> currency traders get ordinary gain or loss treatment unless they elect out of IRC 988 to have 60/40 treatment
[10:08] <rgreen> next question?
[10:09] <dwander> Currency Traders:
[10:09] <rgreen> check out my radio show every Tuesday on The Trade from ETRADE. See link on our home page
[10:09] <rgreen> Check out my monthly column in Active Trader magazine, see our site
[10:09] <dwander> "The Trade" :
[10:10] <rgreen> anyone have questions about trading other peoples money?
[10:10] <sunlight> yes
[10:10] <dwander> Active Trader:
[10:10] <rgreen> we can set up a simple LLC for you to use trading other peoples money
[10:10] <rgreen> we then see if you need to register as an investment advisor for the future
[10:11] <sunlight> if I trade a friend's account, does this kill trader status because that makes me a $mgr or CTA?
[10:11] <rgreen> we can put together your private placement memorandum, LLC Operating Agreement and other papers
[10:11] <sunlight> ie., not full time anymore?
[10:11] <rgreen> no see our new writing on trader tax status in entities
[10:11] <rgreen> you can trade for others hyperactively, qualify for trader tax status on the entity level and then your investor gets business treatment, with one exception
[10:12] <rgreen> the one exception is the investor is subject to the investment interest expense rules
[10:12] <dwander> Trader Entities:
[10:12] <rgreen> but not the investment expenses rules and they get full business expense treatment
[10:12] <rgreen> and if you elect IRC 475, the get MTM ordinary loss treatment
[10:12] <sunlight> very good
[10:12] <sunlight> wow!
[10:12] <rgreen> so investors can pay incentive fees and get a business deduction
[10:13] <rgreen> investors in "investment" companies versus "trading" companies are stuck with investment expense limitation on paying incentive fees
[10:13] <rgreen> the the hyperactive trader has an edge over the less active money manger/trader
[10:13] <dwander> GTT Tax Strag. :
[10:14] <rgreen> sunlight? not fulltime anymore - not sure what you mean here
[10:14] <rgreen> bottom line, part time traders in this room, need our guide and a half hour consultation with me
[10:15] <sunlight> If I trade fulltime for me but then also start trading for others, was afraid I could no longer be MTM for me if I had another type of "job."
[10:15] <rgreen> fulltime profitable traders need an entity to deduct health insurance and retirement plans and to be set up to attract investor money
[10:15] <dwander> Consultation:
[10:15] <dwander> GTT Guides:
[10:15] <rgreen> sunlight, for sure read the links here and you will be contacting me soon for an hour consulation $225 to deploy this strategy
[10:15] <dwander> Trader Entity:
[10:16] <rgreen> half hour consultations with me Green are $125 and hour are $225
[10:16] <rgreen> you can then "upgrade" to preparation with a lower retainer.
[10:16] <rgreen> I talk faster then I type so you won't waste a minute and it's a great value
[10:16] <dwander> GTT Tax Preparation:
[10:16] <KenWolff> LOL
[10:16] <sunlight> thanks, I'll definitely keep it in mind
[10:17] <rgreen> you can trade fulltime for yourself with trader tax status and trade for others in an entity which you also trade fulltime and very actively and have trader tax status on you and the entity
[10:17] <rgreen> whenever you think our rates should high, just remember taxes are even higher and if we save them big time, you are making money
[10:18] <rgreen> sort of like higher a money manager, they get paid a percentage of profits
[10:18] <rgreen> now is a good time to get your taxes in order for filing 2002 and planning 2003
[10:19] <rgreen> there are tons of GTT strategies for how to handle your spouse and some will save you big bucks, see our entities page
[10:19] <rgreen> we handle clients in all states
[10:19] <dwander> Trader Services:
[10:19] <rgreen> CA is our biggest market
[10:19] <rgreen> watch out the states are getting tough and reversing laws and going off the federal standard
[10:19] <dwander> Trader Entity:
[10:19] <rgreen> CA just disallowed use of NOLs net operating losses for 2002 and 2003 - Wow the nerve!
[10:20] <rgreen> Bush tax cuts sound great but read the fine print
[10:20] <dwander> CA Tax Law Changes:
[10:20] <rgreen> Bush tax cuts deny loss treatment in almost every cae
[10:20] <rgreen> for example, the new retirement plans take away the tax deduction
[10:21] <rgreen> Bush tax cuts will help the budget deficit in my view because in these markets giving tax relief on gains and dividends may have less effect then denying tax relief on deducting losses.
[10:21] <rgreen> everywhere you look your taxes will get more complex and solutions may turn out to be pitfalls, so be careful
[10:21] <rgreen> any more questions?
[10:22] <barron> I bought a half-hour consultation with you, very helpful, saved me far more than the half-hour cost.
[10:22] <rgreen> We are at the OnlineTradingExpo in NYC on 2/29-3/2 in booth 1503 and I give a presentation on Sat at 4:30 in the educational rooms, hope you join us
[10:22] <rgreen> thanks barron
[10:22] <KenWolff> thank you very much Bob... appreciate the class...
[10:22] <dwander> NYC Trade Show:
[10:23] <barron> You know your stuff!
[10:23] <rgreen> thanks Ken for having us and we want to come back and hopefully you all can pin me down with more questions closer to April 15th
[10:23] <monteng> tks very informative
[10:23] <rgreen> thanks barron and others who made nice comments
[10:23] <rgreen> we aim to please and every client is very important to us
[10:23] <sunlight> preciate your answers
[10:24] <cchpgc> Thanks
[10:24] <dwander> Contact Us:
[10:24] <rgreen> we hope you all have a profitable year and have the kind of tax problems we like, saving money on gains, rather then the other kind we specialize in getting refunds on losses
[10:24] <blizzard> Thanks
[10:24] <rgreen> Have a nice weekend and we are done now until 12:30 unless we see another question beforehand
[10:24] <KenWolff> Thanks Bob..
[10:24] <barron> ty
[10:24] <KenWolff> have a great week end...
[10:25] <rgreen> Ken, please send us an archive and we can redact all names out of it for confidentiality and then publish it on our site for later reading and going to links
[10:25] <rgreen> Thanks Darren, my "link man"
[10:25] <Eubac> How is your Advocacy Program going?
[10:25] <rgreen> advocacy is going no where, we need big time help
[10:26] <Eubac> Maybe mTrader can help
[10:26] <rgreen> we need more traders to send our letters and help us get some sponsors to hire a lobbyist in Washington to play the game
[10:26] <rgreen> no sponsor, no money and I can write and scream until I am blue in the face
[10:26] <rgreen> but without playing the lobbying game the way they insist, there will be no results
[10:27] <Eubac> Seems there must something else besides money
[10:27] <rgreen> GTT doesn't make a penny on our advocacy campaign and I donate all my time pro bono. I want to lead the charge for change, but without an army and I just another cook here
[10:27] <Eubac> mTrader will think about this
[10:28] <catman> not all of us are capable of thinking Eubac
[10:28] <rgreen> A few key sponsors like Schwab, CyberTrader, TerraNova, Bright, the big boys on Wall Street etc, the people who make money on your commissions, should put some money into tax free organization
[10:28] <Eubac> We have a concerned gimmie
[10:29] <rgreen> and that organization can hire a lobbyist to go around Washington. It won't take much. I have tons to say and just need someone to delivery my message effectively
[10:29] <rgreen> our trader tax org can also get us group rates on health insurance and there are other effective joint actions that can be taken
[10:30] <rgreen> As soon as I see some interest, I can form and start a more effective campaign here
[10:30] <dwander> Advocacy:
[10:30] <Eubac> Big answer to big question, thanks
[10:30] <rgreen> Active Trader magazine is very interested and ran my article on this last year
[10:30] <Eubac> Does your site have a reprint?
[10:30] <KenWolff> interesting Bob.. let us know how we might help..
[10:31] <rgreen> Anyone can use content from our site per permission on our trader link submit page and contact me for reprints
[10:31] <dwander> Active Trader Mag:
[10:31] <rgreen> Ken, thanks for your interest in our advocacy campaign. Maybe you all can read that section and discuss it more in the room soon and invite me in to join in. Let's work up a plan together
[10:32] <KenWolff> OK.. will do Bob..



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