4.   Sales and Trades of Investment Property

Introduction

This chapter explains the tax treatment of sales and trades of investment property.

Investment property.   This is property that produces investment income. Examples include stocks, bonds, and Treasury bills and notes. Property used in a trade or business is not investment property.

Form 1099-B.   If you sold property such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or certain commodities through a broker during the year, you should receive, for each sale, a Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, or substitute statement, from the broker. You should receive the statement by February 15 of the next year. It will show the gross proceeds from the sale. The IRS will also get a copy of Form 1099-B from the broker.

  Use Form 1099-B (or substitute statement received from your broker) to complete Form 8949. If you sold a covered security in 2013, your broker will send you a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) that shows your basis. This will help you complete Form 8949. Generally, a covered security is a security you acquired after 2010, with certain exceptions explained in the Instructions for Form 8949.

  
For more information on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040), see Reporting Capital Gains and Losses in this chapter. Also see the Instructions for Form 8949 and the Instructions for Schedule D (Form 1040).

Nominees.   If someone receives gross proceeds as a nominee for you, that person will give you a Form 1099-B, which will show gross proceeds received on your behalf.

  If you receive a Form 1099-B that includes gross proceeds belonging to another person, see Nominees , later under Reporting Capital Gains and Losses for more information.

Other property transactions.   Certain transfers of property are discussed in other IRS publications. These include:
  • Sale of your main home, discussed in Publication 523, Selling Your Home;

  • Installment sales, covered in Publication 537;

  • Various types of transactions involving business property, discussed in Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets;

  • Transfers of property at death, covered in Publication 559; and

  • Disposition of an interest in a passive activity, discussed in Publication 925.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 551 Basis of Assets

Form (and Instructions)

  • Schedule D (Form 1040) Capital Gains and Losses

  • 6781 Gains and Losses From Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles

  • 8582 Passive Activity Loss Limitations

  • 8824 Like-Kind Exchanges

  • 8949 Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets

See chapter 5, How To Get Tax Help , for information about getting these publications and forms.

What Is a Sale or Trade?

This section explains what is a sale or trade. It also explains certain transactions and events that are treated as sales or trades.

A sale is generally a transfer of property for money or a mortgage, note, or other promise to pay money.

A trade is a transfer of property for other property or services, and may be taxed in the same way as a sale.

Sale and purchase.   Ordinarily, a transaction is not a trade when you voluntarily sell property for cash and immediately buy similar property to replace it. The sale and purchase are two separate transactions. But see Like-Kind Exchanges under Nontaxable Trades, later.

Redemption of stock.   A redemption of stock is treated as a sale or trade and is subject to the capital gain or loss provisions unless the redemption is a dividend or other distribution on stock.

Dividend versus sale or trade.   Whether a redemption is treated as a sale, trade, dividend, or other distribution depends on the circumstances in each case. Both direct and indirect ownership of stock will be considered. The redemption is treated as a sale or trade of stock if:
  • The redemption is not essentially equivalent to a dividend — see Dividends and Other Distributions in chapter 1,

  • There is a substantially disproportionate redemption of stock,

  • There is a complete redemption of all the stock of the corporation owned by the shareholder, or

  • The redemption is a distribution in partial liquidation of a corporation.

Redemption or retirement of bonds.   A redemption or retirement of bonds or notes at their maturity generally is treated as a sale or trade. See Stocks, stock rights, and bonds and Discounted Debt Instruments under Capital or Ordinary Gain or Loss, later.

  In addition, a significant modification of a bond is treated as a trade of the original bond for a new bond. For details, see Regulations section 1.1001-3.

Surrender of stock.   A surrender of stock by a dominant shareholder who retains ownership of more than half of the corporation's voting shares is treated as a contribution to capital rather than as an immediate loss deductible from taxable income. The surrendering shareholder must reallocate his or her basis in the surrendered shares to the shares he or she retains.

Trade of investment property for an annuity.   The transfer of investment property to a corporation, trust, fund, foundation, or other organization, in exchange for a fixed annuity contract that will make guaranteed annual payments to you for life, is a taxable trade. If the present value of the annuity is more than your basis in the property traded, you have a taxable gain in the year of the trade. Figure the present value of the annuity according to factors used by commercial insurance companies issuing annuities.

Transfer by inheritance.   The transfer of property of a decedent to the executor or administrator of the estate, or to the heirs or beneficiaries, is not a sale or other disposition. No taxable gain or deductible loss results from the transfer.

Termination of certain rights and obligations.   The cancellation, lapse, expiration, or other termination of a right or obligation (other than a securities futures contract) with respect to property that is a capital asset (or that would be a capital asset if you acquired it) is treated as a sale. Any gain or loss is treated as a capital gain or loss.

  This rule does not apply to the retirement of a debt instrument. See Redemption or retirement of bonds , earlier.

Worthless Securities

Stocks, stock rights, and bonds (other than those held for sale by a securities dealer) that became completely worthless during the tax year are treated as though they were sold on the last day of the tax year. This affects whether your capital loss is long term or short term. See Holding Period , later.

Worthless securities also include securities that you abandon after March 12, 2008. To abandon a security, you must permanently surrender and relinquish all rights in the security and receive no consideration in exchange for it. All the facts and circumstances determine whether the transaction is properly characterized as an abandonment or other type of transaction, such as an actual sale or exchange, contribution to capital, dividend, or gift.

If you are a cash basis taxpayer and make payments on a negotiable promissory note that you issued for stock that became worthless, you can deduct these payments as losses in the years you actually make the payments. Do not deduct them in the year the stock became worthless.

How to report loss.   Report worthless securities in Form 8949, Part I or Part II, whichever applies.

  
Report your worthless securities transactions on Form 8949 with the correct box checked for these transactions. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

Filing a claim for refund.   If you do not claim a loss for a worthless security on your original return for the year it becomes worthless, you can file a claim for a credit or refund due to the loss. You must use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend your return for the year the security became worthless. You must file it within 7 years from the date your original return for that year had to be filed, or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. (Claims not due to worthless securities or bad debts generally must be filed within 3 years from the date a return is filed, or 2 years from the date the tax is paid, whichever is later.) For more information about filing a claim, see Publication 556.

Constructive Sales of Appreciated Financial Positions

You are treated as having made a constructive sale when you enter into certain transactions involving an appreciated financial position (defined later) in stock, a partnership interest, or certain debt instruments. You must recognize gain as if the position were disposed of at its fair market value on the date of the constructive sale. This gives you a new holding period for the position that begins on the date of the constructive sale. Then, when you close the transaction, you reduce your gain (or increase your loss) by the gain recognized on the constructive sale.

Constructive sale.   You are treated as having made a constructive sale of an appreciated financial position if you:
  • Enter into a short sale of the same or substantially identical property,

  • Enter into an offsetting notional principal contract relating to the same or substantially identical property,

  • Enter into a futures or forward contract to deliver the same or substantially identical property (including a forward contract that provides for cash settlement), or

  • Acquire the same or substantially identical property (if the appreciated financial position is a short sale, an offsetting notional principal contract, or a futures or forward contract).

  You are also treated as having made a constructive sale of an appreciated financial position if a person related to you enters into a transaction described above with a view toward avoiding the constructive sale treatment. For this purpose, a related person is any related party described under Related Party Transactions , later in this chapter.

Exception for nonmarketable securities.   You are not treated as having made a constructive sale solely because you entered into a contract for sale of any stock, debt instrument, or partnership interest that is not a marketable security if it settles within 1 year of the date you enter into it.

Exception for certain closed transactions.   Do not treat a transaction as a constructive sale if all of the following are true.
  1. You closed the transaction on or before the 30th day after the end of your tax year.

  2. You held the appreciated financial position throughout the 60-day period beginning on the date you closed the transaction.

  3. Your risk of loss was not reduced at any time during that 60-day period by holding certain other positions.

  If a closed transaction is reestablished in a substantially similar position during the 60-day period beginning on the date the first transaction was closed, this exception still applies if the reestablished position is closed before the 30th day after the end of your tax year in which the first transaction was closed and, after that closing, (2) and (3) above are true.

  This exception also applies to successive short sales of an entire appreciated financial position. For more information, see Revenue Ruling 2003-1 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2003-3. This bulletin is available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb03-03.pdf.

Appreciated financial position.   This is any interest in stock, a partnership interest, or a debt instrument (including a futures or forward contract, a short sale, or an option) if disposing of the interest would result in a gain.

Exceptions.   An appreciated financial position does not include the following.
  1. Any position from which all of the appreciation is accounted for under marked-to-market rules, including section 1256 contracts (described later under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market ).

  2. Any position in a debt instrument if:

    1. The position unconditionally entitles the holder to receive a specified principal amount,

    2. The interest payments (or other similar amounts) with respect to the position are payable at a fixed rate or a variable rate described in Regulations section 1.860G-1(a)(3), and

    3. The position is not convertible, either directly or indirectly, into stock of the issuer (or any related person).

  3. Any hedge with respect to a position described in (2).

Certain trust instruments treated as stock.   For the constructive sale rules, an interest in an actively traded trust is treated as stock unless substantially all of the value of the property held by the trust is debt that qualifies for the exception to the definition of an appreciated financial position (explained in (2) above).

Sale of appreciated financial position.   A transaction treated as a constructive sale of an appreciated financial position is not treated as a constructive sale of any other appreciated financial position, as long as you continue to hold the original position. However, if you hold another appreciated financial position and dispose of the original position before closing the transaction that resulted in the constructive sale, you are treated as if, at the same time, you constructively sold the other appreciated financial position.

Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market

If you hold a section 1256 contract at the end of the tax year, you generally must treat it as sold at its fair market value on the last business day of the tax year.

Section 1256 Contract

A section 1256 contract is any:

  • Regulated futures contract,

  • Foreign currency contract,

  • Nonequity option,

  • Dealer equity option, or

  • Dealer securities futures contract.

Exceptions.   A section 1256 contract does not include:
  • Interest rate swaps,

  • Currency swaps,

  • Basis swaps,

  • Interest rate caps,

  • Interest rate floors,

  • Commodity swaps,

  • Equity swaps,

  • Equity index swaps,

  • Credit default swaps, or

  • Similar agreements.

For more details, including definitions of these terms, see section 1256.

Regulated futures contract.   This is a contract that:
  • Provides that amounts which must be deposited to, or can be withdrawn from, your margin account depend on daily market conditions (a system of marking to market), and

  • Is traded on, or subject to the rules of, a qualified board of exchange. A qualified board of exchange is a domestic board of trade designated as a contract market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, any board of trade or exchange approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, or a national securities exchange registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Foreign currency contract.   This is a contract that:
  • Requires delivery of a foreign currency that has positions traded through regulated futures contracts (or settlement of which depends on the value of that type of foreign currency),

  • Is traded in the interbank market, and

  • Is entered into at arm's length at a price determined by reference to the price in the interbank market.

  Bank forward contracts with maturity dates longer than the maturities ordinarily available for regulated futures contracts are considered to meet the definition of a foreign currency contract if the above three conditions are satisfied.

  Special rules apply to certain foreign currency transactions. These transactions may result in ordinary gain or loss treatment. For details, see Internal Revenue Code section 988 and Regulations sections 1.988-1(a)(7) and 1.988-3.

Nonequity option.   This is any listed option (defined later) that is not an equity option. Nonequity options include debt options, commodity futures options, currency options, and broad-based stock index options. A broad-based stock index is based on the value of a group of diversified stocks or securities (such as the Standard and Poor's 500 index).

Warrants based on a stock index that are economically, substantially identical in all material respects to options based on a stock index are treated as options based on a stock index.

Cash-settled options.   Cash-settled options based on a stock index and either traded on or subject to the rules of a qualified board of exchange are nonequity options if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) determines that the stock index is broad based.

  This rule does not apply to options established before the SEC determines that the stock index is broad based.

Listed option.   This is any option traded on, or subject to the rules of, a qualified board or exchange (as discussed earlier under Regulated futures contract). A listed option, however, does not include an option that is a right to acquire stock from the issuer.

Dealer equity option.   This is any listed option that, for an options dealer:
  • Is an equity option,

  • Is bought or granted by that dealer in the normal course of the dealer's business activity of dealing in options, and

  • Is listed on the qualified board of exchange where that dealer is registered.

  An “options dealer” is any person registered with an appropriate national securities exchange as a market maker or specialist in listed options.

Equity option.   This is any option:
  • To buy or sell stock, or

  • That is valued directly or indirectly by reference to any stock or narrow-based security index.

 
Equity options include options on a group of stocks only if the group is a narrow-based stock index.

Dealer securities futures contract.   For any dealer in securities futures contracts or options on those contracts, this is a securities futures contract (or option on such a contract) that:
  • Is entered into by the dealer (or, in the case of an option, is purchased or granted by the dealer) in the normal course of the dealer's activity of dealing in this type of contract (or option), and

  • Is traded on a qualified board or exchange (as defined under Regulated futures contract , earlier).

A securities futures contract that is not a dealer securities futures contract is treated as described later under Securities Futures Contracts .

Marked-to-Market Rules

A section 1256 contract that you hold at the end of the tax year will generally be treated as sold at its fair market value on the last business day of the tax year, and you must recognize any gain or loss that results. That gain or loss is taken into account in figuring your gain or loss when you later dispose of the contract, as shown in the example under 60/40 rule, below.

Hedging exception.   The marked-to-market rules do not apply to hedging transactions. See Hedging Transactions , later.

60/40 rule.   Under the marked-to-market system, 60% of your capital gain or loss will be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss, and 40% will be treated as a short-term capital gain or loss. This is true regardless of how long you actually held the property.

Example.

On June 22, 2012, you bought a regulated futures contract for $50,000. On December 31, 2012 (the last business day of your tax year), the fair market value of the contract was $57,000. You recognized a $7,000 gain on your 2012 tax return, treated as 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain.

On February 1, 2013, you sold the contract for $56,000. Because you recognized a $7,000 gain on your 2012 return, you recognize a $1,000 loss ($57,000 − $56,000) on your 2013 tax return, treated as 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital loss.

Limited partners or entrepreneurs.   The 60/40 rule does not apply to dealer equity options or dealer securities futures contracts that result in capital gain or loss allocable to limited partners or limited entrepreneurs (defined later under Hedging Transactions ). Instead, these gains or losses are treated as short term.

Terminations and transfers.   The marked-to-market rules also apply if your obligation or rights under section 1256 contracts are terminated or transferred during the tax year. In this case, use the fair market value of each section 1256 contract at the time of termination or transfer to determine the gain or loss. Terminations or transfers may result from any offsetting, delivery, exercise, assignment, or lapse of your obligation or rights under section 1256 contracts.

Loss carryback election.   An individual having a net section 1256 contracts loss (defined later), generally can elect to carry this loss back 3 years instead of carrying it over to the next year. See How To Report , later, for information about reporting this election on your return.

  The loss carried back to any year under this election cannot be more than the net section 1256 contracts gain in that year. In addition, the amount of loss carried back to an earlier tax year cannot increase or produce a net operating loss for that year.

  The loss is carried to the earliest carryback year first, and any unabsorbed loss amount can then be carried to each of the next 2 tax years. In each carryback year, treat 60% of the carryback amount as a long-term capital loss and 40% as a short-term capital loss from section 1256 contracts.

  If only a portion of the net section 1256 contracts loss is absorbed by carrying the loss back, the unabsorbed portion can be carried forward, under the capital loss carryover rules, to the year following the loss. (See Capital Losses under Reporting Capital Gains and Losses, later.) Figure your capital loss carryover as if, for the loss year, you had an additional short-term capital gain of 40% of the amount of net section 1256 contracts loss absorbed in the carryback years and an additional long-term capital gain of 60% of the absorbed loss. In the carryover year, treat any capital loss carryover from losses on section 1256 contracts as if it were a loss from section 1256 contracts for that year.

Net section 1256 contracts loss.   This loss is the lesser of:
  • The net capital loss for your tax year determined by taking into account only the gains and losses from section 1256 contracts, or

  • The capital loss carryover to the next tax year determined without this election.

Net section 1256 contracts gain.   This gain is the lesser of:
  • The capital gain net income for the carryback year determined by taking into account only gains and losses from section 1256 contracts, or

  • The capital gain net income for that year.

 
Figure your net section 1256 contracts gain for any carryback year without regard to the net section 1256 contracts loss for the loss year or any later tax year.

Traders in section 1256 contracts.   Gain or loss from the trading of section 1256 contracts is capital gain or loss subject to the marked-to-market rules. However, this does not apply to contracts held for purposes of hedging property if any loss from the property would be an ordinary loss.

Treatment of underlying property.   The determination of whether an individual's gain or loss from any property is ordinary or capital gain or loss is made without regard to the fact that the individual is actively engaged in dealing in or trading section 1256 contracts related to that property.

How To Report

If you disposed of regulated futures or foreign currency contracts in 2013 (or had unrealized profit or loss on these contracts that were open at the end of 2012 or 2013), you should receive Form 1099-B, or substitute statement, from your broker.

Form 6781.   Use Part I of Form 6781 to report your gains and losses from all section 1256 contracts that are open at the end of the year or that were closed out during the year. This includes the amount shown in box 10 of Form 1099-B. Then enter the net amount of these gains and losses on Schedule D (Form 1040), line 4 or line 11, as appropriate. Include a copy of Form 6781 with your income tax return.

  If the Form 1099-B you receive includes a straddle or hedging transaction, defined later, it may be necessary to show certain adjustments on Form 6781. Follow the Form 6781 instructions for completing Part I.

Loss carryback election.   To carry back your loss under the election procedures described earlier, file Form 1040X or Form 1045, Application for Tentative Refund, for the year to which you are carrying the loss with an amended Form 6781 and an amended Schedule D (Form 1040) attached. Follow the instructions for completing Form 6781 for the loss year to make this election.

Hedging Transactions

The marked-to-market rules, described earlier, do not apply to hedging transactions. A transaction is a hedging transaction if both of the following conditions are met.

  1. You entered into the transaction in the normal course of your trade or business primarily to manage the risk of:

    1. Price changes or currency fluctuations on ordinary property you hold (or will hold), or

    2. Interest rate or price changes, or currency fluctuations, on your current or future borrowings or ordinary obligations.

  2. You clearly identified the transaction as being a hedging transaction before the close of the day on which you entered 
    into it.

This hedging transaction exception does not apply to transactions entered into by or for any syndicate. A syndicate is a partnership, S corporation, or other entity (other than a regular corporation) that allocates more than 35% of its losses to limited partners or limited entrepreneurs. A limited entrepreneur is a person who has an interest in an enterprise (but not as a limited partner) and who does not actively participate in its management. However, an interest is not considered held by a limited partner or entrepreneur if the interest holder actively participates (or did so for at least 5 full years) in the management of the entity, or is the spouse, child (including a legally adopted child), grandchild, or parent of an individual who actively participates in the management of the entity.

Hedging loss limit.   If you are a limited partner or entrepreneur in a syndicate, the amount of a hedging loss you can claim is limited. A “hedging loss” is the amount by which the allowable deductions in a tax year that resulted from a hedging transaction (determined without regard to the limit) are more than the income received or accrued during the tax year from this transaction.

  Any hedging loss allocated to you for the tax year is limited to your taxable income for that year from the trade or business in which the hedging transaction occurred. Ignore any hedging transaction items in determining this taxable income. If you have a hedging loss that is disallowed because of this limit, you can carry it over to the next tax year as a deduction resulting from a hedging transaction.

  If the hedging transaction relates to property other than stock or securities, the limit on hedging losses applies if the limited partner or entrepreneur is an individual.

  The limit on hedging losses does not apply to any hedging loss to the extent that it is more than all your unrecognized gains from hedging transactions at the end of the tax year that are from the trade or business in which the hedging transaction occurred. The term “unrecognized gain” has the same meaning as defined under Loss Deferral Rules in Straddles, later.

Sale of property used in a hedge.   Once you identify personal property as being part of a hedging transaction, you must treat gain from its sale or exchange as ordinary income, not capital gain.

Self-Employment Income

Gains and losses derived in the ordinary course of a commodity or option dealer's trading in section 1256 contracts and property related to these contracts are included in net earnings from self-employment. See the Instructions for Schedule SE (Form 1040). In addition, the rules relating to contributions to self-employment retirement plans apply. For information on retirement plan contributions, see Publication 560 and Publication 590.

Basis of Investment Property

Basis is a way of measuring your investment in property for tax purposes. You must know the basis of your property to determine whether you have a gain or loss on its sale or other disposition.

Investment property you buy normally has an original basis equal to its cost. If you get property in some way other than buying it, such as by gift or inheritance, its fair market value may be important in figuring the basis.

Cost Basis

The basis of property you buy is usually its cost. The cost is the amount you pay in cash, debt obligations, or other property or services.

Unstated interest.   If you buy property on a time-payment plan that charges little or no interest, the basis of your property is your stated purchase price, minus the amount considered to be unstated interest. You generally have unstated interest if your interest rate is less than the applicable federal rate. For more information, see Unstated Interest and Original Issue Discount (OID) in Publication 537.

Basis Other Than Cost

There are times when you must use a basis other than cost. In these cases, you may need to know the property's fair market value or the adjusted basis of the previous owner.

Fair market value.   This is the price at which the property would change hands between a buyer and a seller, neither being forced to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts. Sales of similar property, around the same date, may be helpful in figuring fair market value.

Property Received for Services

If you receive investment property for services, you must include the property's fair market value in income. The amount you include in income then becomes your basis in the property. If the services were performed for a price that was agreed to beforehand, this price will be accepted as the fair market value of the property if there is no evidence to the contrary.

Restricted property.   If you receive, as payment for services, property that is subject to certain restrictions, your basis in the property generally is its fair market value when it becomes substantially vested. Property becomes substantially vested when it is transferable or is no longer subject to substantial risk of forfeiture, whichever happens first. See Restricted Property in Publication 525 for more information.

Bargain purchases.   If you buy investment property at less than fair market value, as payment for services, you must include the difference in income. Your basis in the property is the price you pay plus the amount you include in income.

Property Received in Taxable Trades

If you received investment property in trade for other property, the basis of the new property is its fair market value at the time of the trade unless you received the property in a nontaxable trade.

Example.

You trade A Company stock for B Company stock having a fair market value of $1,200. If the adjusted basis of the A Company stock is less than $1,200, you have a taxable gain on the trade. If the adjusted basis of the A Company stock is more than $1,200, you have a deductible loss on the trade. The basis of your B Company stock is $1,200. If you later sell the B Company stock for $1,300, you will have a gain of $100.

Property Received in Nontaxable Trades

If you have a nontaxable trade, you do not recognize gain or loss until you dispose of the property you received in the trade. See Nontaxable Trades , later.

The basis of property you received in a nontaxable or partly nontaxable trade is generally the same as the adjusted basis of the property you gave up. Increase this amount by any cash you paid, additional costs you had, and any gain recognized. Reduce this amount by any cash or unlike property you received, any loss recognized, and any liability of yours that was assumed or treated as assumed.

Property Received From Your Spouse

If property is transferred to you from your spouse (or former spouse, if the transfer is incident to your divorce), your basis is the same as your spouse's or former spouse's adjusted basis just before the transfer. See Transfers Between Spouses , later.

Recordkeeping. The transferor must give you the records necessary to determine the adjusted basis and holding period of the property as of the date of the transfer.

Property Received as a Gift

To figure your basis in property that you received as a gift, you must know its adjusted basis to the donor just before it was given to you, its fair market value at the time it was given to you, the amount of any gift tax paid on it, and the date it was given to you.

Fair market value less than donor's adjusted basis.   If the fair market value of the property at the time of the gift was less than the donor's adjusted basis just before the gift, your basis for gain on its sale or other disposition is the same as the donor's adjusted basis plus or minus any required adjustments to basis during the period you hold the property. Your basis for loss is its fair market value at the time of the gift plus or minus any required adjustments to basis during the period you hold the property.

No gain or loss.   If you use the basis for figuring a gain and the result is a loss, and then use the basis for figuring a loss and the result is a gain, you will have neither a gain nor a loss.

Example.

You receive a gift of investment property having an adjusted basis of $10,000 at the time of the gift. The fair market value at the time of the gift is $9,000. You later sell the property for $9,500. You have neither gain nor loss. Your basis for figuring gain is $10,000, and $9,500 minus $10,000 results in a $500 loss. Your basis for figuring loss is $9,000, and $9,500 minus $9,000 results in a $500 gain.

Fair market value equal to or more than donor's adjusted basis.   If the fair market value of the property at the time of the gift was equal to or more than the donor's adjusted basis just before the gift, your basis for gain or loss on its sale or other disposition is the donor's adjusted basis plus or minus any required adjustments to basis during the period you hold the property. Also, you may be allowed to add to the donor's adjusted basis all or part of any gift tax paid, depending on the date of the gift.

Gift received before 1977.   If you received property as a gift before 1977, your basis in the property is the donor's adjusted basis increased by the total gift tax paid on the gift. However, your basis cannot be more than the fair market value of the gift at the time it was given to you.

Example 1.

You were given XYZ Company stock in 1976. At the time of the gift, the stock had a fair market value of $21,000. The donor's adjusted basis was $20,000. The donor paid a gift tax of $500 on the gift. Your basis for gain or loss is $20,500, the donor's adjusted basis plus the amount of gift tax paid.

Example 2.

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that the gift tax paid was $1,500. Your basis is $21,000, the donor's adjusted basis plus the gift tax paid, but limited to the fair market value of the stock at the time of the gift.

Gift received after 1976.   If you received property as a gift after 1976, your basis is the donor's adjusted basis increased by the part of the gift tax paid that was for the net increase in value of the gift. You figure this part by multiplying the gift tax paid on the gift by a fraction. The numerator (top part) is the net increase in value of the gift and the denominator (bottom part) is the amount of the gift.

  The net increase in value of the gift is the fair market value of the gift minus the donor's adjusted basis. The amount of the gift is its value for gift tax purposes after reduction by any annual exclusion and marital or charitable deduction that applies to the gift.

Example.

In 2013, you received a gift of property from your mother. At the time of the gift, the property had a fair market value of $101,000 and an adjusted basis to her of $40,000. The amount of the gift for gift tax purposes was $87,000 ($101,000 minus the $14,000 annual exclusion), and your mother paid a gift tax of $21,000. You figure your basis in the following way:

Fair market value $101,000
Minus: Adjusted basis 40,000
Net increase in value of gift $61,000
Gift tax paid $21,000
Multiplied by .701 ($61,000 ÷ $87,000) .701
Gift tax due to net increase in value $14,721
Plus: Adjusted basis of property to  
your mother
40,000
Your basis in the property $54,721

Part sale, part gift.   If you get property in a transfer that is partly a sale and partly a gift, your basis is the larger of the amount you paid for the property or the transferor's adjusted basis in the property at the time of the transfer. Add to that amount the amount of any gift tax paid on the gift, as described in the preceding discussion. For figuring loss, your basis is limited to the property's fair market value at the time of the transfer.

Gift tax information.   For information on gift tax, see Publication 950, Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes. For information on figuring the amount of gift tax to add to your basis, see Property Received as a Gift in Publication 551.

Property Received as Inheritance

Before or after 2010.   If you inherited property from a decedent who died before or after 2010, or who died in 2010 and the executor of the decedent's estate elected not to file Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired From a Decedent, your basis in that property generally is its fair market value (its appraised value on Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return) on:
  • The date of the decedent's death, or

  • The later alternate valuation date if the estate qualifies for, and elects to use, alternate valuation.

If no Form 706 was filed, use the appraised value on the date of death for state inheritance or transmission taxes. For stocks and bonds, if no Form 706 was filed and there are no state inheritance or transmission taxes, see the Form 706 instructions for figuring the fair market value of the stocks and bonds on the date of the decedent's death.

Appreciated property you gave the decedent.   Your basis in certain appreciated property that you inherited is the decedent's adjusted basis in the property immediately before death rather than its fair market value. This applies to appreciated property that you or your spouse gave the decedent as a gift during the 1-year period ending on the date of death. Appreciated property is any property whose fair market value on the day you gave it to the decedent was more than its adjusted basis.

More information.   See Publication 551 for more information on the basis of inherited property, including community property, property held by a surviving tenant in a joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, a qualified joint interest, and a farm or closely held business.

Inherited in 2010 and executor elected to file Form 8939.   If you inherited property from a decedent who died in 2010 and the executor made the election to file Form 8939, see Publication 4895, Tax Treatment of Property Acquired From a Decedent Dying in 2010, to figure your basis.

Adjusted Basis

Before you can figure any gain or loss on a sale, exchange, or other disposition of property or figure allowable depreciation, depletion, or amortization, you usually must make certain adjustments (increases and decreases) to the basis of the property. The result of these adjustments to the basis is the adjusted basis.

Adjustments to the basis of stocks and bonds are explained in the following discussion. For information about other adjustments to basis, see Publication 551.

Stocks and Bonds

The basis of stocks or bonds you own generally is the purchase price plus the costs of purchase, such as commissions and recording or transfer fees. If you acquired stock or bonds other than by purchase, your basis is usually determined by fair market value or the previous owner's adjusted basis as discussed earlier under Basis Other Than Cost .

The basis of stock must be adjusted for certain events that occur after purchase. For example, if you receive more stock from nontaxable stock dividends or stock splits, you must reduce the basis of your original stock. You must also reduce your basis when you receive nondividend distributions (discussed in chapter 1). These distributions, up to the amount of your basis, are a nontaxable return of capital.

The IRS partners with companies that offer Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040) software that can import trades from many brokerage firms and accounting software to help you keep track of your adjusted basis in securities. To find out more, go to www.irs.gov/Filing/Filing-Options.

Identifying stock or bonds sold.   If you can adequately identify the shares of stock or the bonds you sold, their basis is the cost or other basis of the particular shares of stock or bonds.

Adequate identification.   You will make an adequate identification if you show that certificates representing shares of stock from a lot that you bought on a certain date or for a certain price were delivered to your broker or other agent.

Broker holds stock.   If you have left the stock certificates with your broker or other agent, you will make an adequate identification if you:
  • Tell your broker or other agent the particular stock to be sold or transferred at the time of the sale or transfer, and

  • Receive a written confirmation of this from your broker or other agent within a reasonable time.

 
Stock identified this way is the stock sold or transferred even if stock certificates from a different lot are delivered to the broker or other agent.

Single stock certificate.   If you bought stock in different lots at different times and you hold a single stock certificate for this stock, you will make an adequate identification if you:
  • Tell your broker or other agent the particular stock to be sold or transferred when you deliver the certificate to your broker or other agent, and

  • Receive a written confirmation of this from your broker or other agent within a reasonable time.

  If you sell part of the stock represented by a single certificate directly to the buyer instead of through a broker, you will make an adequate identification if you keep a written record of the particular stock that you intend to sell.

Bonds.   These methods of identification also apply to bonds sold or transferred.

Identification not possible.   If you buy and sell securities at various times in varying quantities and you cannot adequately identify the shares you sell, the basis of the securities you sell is the basis of the securities you acquired first. Except for certain mutual fund shares, discussed later, you cannot use the average price per share to figure gain or loss on the sale of the shares.

Example.

You bought 100 shares of stock of XYZ Corporation in 1998 for $10 a share. In January 1999 you bought another 200 shares for $11 a share. In July 1999 you gave your son 50 shares. In December 2001 you bought 100 shares for $9 a share. In April 2013 you sold 130 shares. You cannot identify the shares you disposed of, so you must use the stock you acquired first to figure the basis. The shares of stock you gave your son had a basis of $500 (50 × $10). You figure the basis of the 130 shares of stock you sold in 2013 as follows:

50 shares (50 × $10) balance of stock bought in 1998 $ 500
80 shares (80 × $11) stock bought in January 1999 880
Total basis of stock sold in 2013 $1,380

Shares in a mutual fund or REIT.    The basis of shares in a mutual fund (or other regulated investment company) or a real estate investment trust (REIT) is generally figured in the same way as the basis of other stock and usually includes any commissions or load charges paid for the purchase.

Example.

You bought 100 shares of Fund A for $10 a share. You paid a $50 commission to the broker for the purchase. Your cost basis for each share is $10.50 ($1,050 ÷ 100).

Commissions and load charges.   The fees and charges you pay to acquire or redeem shares of a mutual fund are not deductible. You can usually add acquisition fees and charges to your cost of the shares and thereby increase your basis. A fee paid to redeem the shares is usually a reduction in the redemption price (sales price).

  You cannot add your entire acquisition fee or load charge to the cost of the mutual fund shares acquired if all of the following conditions apply.
  1. You get a reinvestment right because of the purchase of the shares or the payment of the fee or charge.

  2. You dispose of the shares within 90 days of the purchase date.

  3. You acquire new shares in the same mutual fund or another mutual fund, for which the fee or charge is reduced or waived because of the reinvestment right you got when you acquired the original shares.

  The amount of the original fee or charge in excess of the reduction in (3) is added to the cost of the original shares. The rest of the original fee or charge is added to the cost basis of the new shares (unless all three conditions above also apply to the purchase of the new shares).

Choosing average basis for mutual fund shares.   You can choose to use the average basis of mutual fund shares if you acquired the identical shares at various times and prices, or you acquired the shares after 2010 in connection with a dividend reinvestment plan, and left them on deposit in an account kept by a custodian or agent. The methods you can use to figure average basis are explained later.

Undistributed capital gains.   If you had to include in your income any undistributed capital gains of the mutual fund or REIT, increase your basis in the stock by the difference between the amount you included and the amount of tax paid for you by the fund or REIT. See Undistributed capital gains of mutual funds and REITs under Capital Gain Distributions in chapter 1.

Reinvestment right.   This is the right to acquire mutual fund shares in the same or another mutual fund without paying a fee or load charge, or by paying a reduced fee or load charge.

  

  The original cost basis of mutual fund shares you acquire by reinvesting your distributions is the amount of the distributions used to purchase each full or fractional share. This rule applies even if the distribution is an exempt-interest dividend that you do not report as income.

Table 4-1. This is a worksheet you can use to keep track of the adjusted basis of your mutual fund shares. Enter the cost per share when you acquire new shares and any adjustments to their basis when the adjustment occurs. This worksheet will help you figure the adjusted basis when you sell or redeem shares.

Table 4-1. Mutual Fund Record

Mutual Fund Acquired1 Adjustment to Basis Per Share Adjusted2 Basis Per Share Sold or redeemed
Date Number of Shares Cost Per Share Date Number of Shares
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
1 Include share received from reinvestment of distributions.
2 Cost plus or minus adjustments.
Automatic investment service.   If you participate in an automatic investment service, your basis for each share of stock, including fractional shares, bought by the bank or other agent is the purchase price plus a share of the broker's commission.

Dividend reinvestment plans.   If you participate in a dividend reinvestment plan and receive stock from the corporation at a discount, your basis is the full fair market value of the stock on the dividend payment date. You must include the amount of the discount in your income.

Public utilities.   If, before 1986, you excluded from income the value of stock you had received under a qualified public utility reinvestment plan, your basis in that stock is zero.

Stock dividends.   Stock dividends are distributions made by a corporation of its own stock. Generally, stock dividends are not taxable to you. However, see Distributions of Stock and Stock Rights under Dividends and Other Distributions in chapter 1 for some exceptions. If the stock dividends are not taxable, you must divide your basis for the old stock between the old and new stock.

New and old stock identical.   If the new stock you received as a nontaxable dividend is identical to the old stock on which the dividend was declared, divide the adjusted basis of the old stock by the number of shares of old and new stock. The result is your basis for each share of stock.

Example 1.

You owned one share of common stock that you bought for $45. The corporation distributed two new shares of common stock for each share held. You then had three shares of common stock. Your basis in each share is $15 ($45 ÷ 3).

Example 2.

You owned two shares of common stock. You bought one for $30 and the other for $45. The corporation distributed two new shares of common stock for each share held. You had six shares after the distribution—three with a basis of $10 each ($30 ÷ 3) and three with a basis of $15 each ($45 ÷ 3).

New and old stock not identical.   If the new stock you received as a nontaxable dividend is not identical to the old stock on which it was declared, the basis of the new stock is calculated differently. Divide the adjusted basis of the old stock between the old and the new stock in the ratio of the fair market value of each lot of stock to the total fair market value of both lots on the date of distribution of the new stock.

Example.

You bought a share of common stock for $100. Later, the corporation distributed a share of preferred stock for each share of common stock held. At the date of distribution, your common stock had a fair market value of $150 and the preferred stock had a fair market value of $50. You figure the basis of the old and new stock by dividing your $100 basis between them. The basis of your common stock is $75 (($150 ÷ $200) × $100), and the basis of the new preferred stock is $25 (($50 ÷ $200) × $100).

Stock bought at various times.   Figure the basis of stock dividends received on stock you bought at various times and at different prices by allocating to each lot of stock the share of the stock dividends due to it.

Taxable stock dividends.   If your stock dividend is taxable when you receive it, the basis of your new stock is its fair market value on the date of distribution. The basis of your old stock does not change.

Stock splits.   Figure the basis of stock splits in the same way as stock dividends if identical stock is distributed on the stock held.

Stock rights.   A stock right is a right to acquire a corporation's stock. It may be exercised, it may be sold if it has a market value, or it may expire. Stock rights are rarely taxable when you receive them. See Distributions of Stock and Stock Rights under Dividends and Other Distributions in chapter 1.

Taxable stock rights.   If you receive stock rights that are taxable, the basis of the rights is their fair market value at the time of distribution. The basis of the old stock does not change.

Nontaxable stock rights.   If you receive nontaxable stock rights and allow them to expire, they have no basis.

  If you exercise or sell the nontaxable stock rights and if, at the time of distribution, the stock rights had a fair market value of 15% or more of the fair market value of the old stock, you must divide the adjusted basis of the old stock between the old stock and the stock rights. Use a ratio of the fair market value of each to the total fair market value of both at the time of distribution.

  If the fair market value of the stock rights was less than 15%, their basis is zero. However, you can choose to divide the basis of the old stock between the old stock and the stock rights. To make the choice, attach a statement to your return for the year in which you received the rights, stating that you choose to divide the basis of the stock.

Basis of new stock.   If you exercise the stock rights, the basis of the new stock is its cost plus the basis of the stock rights exercised.

Example.

You own 100 shares of ABC Company stock, which cost you $22 per share. The ABC Company gave you 10 nontaxable stock rights that would allow you to buy 10 more shares at $26 per share. At the time the stock rights were distributed, the stock had a market value of $30, not including the stock rights. Each stock right had a market value of $3. The market value of the stock rights was less than 15% of the market value of the stock, but you chose to divide the basis of your stock between the stock and the rights. You figure the basis of the rights and the basis of the old stock as follows:

100 shares × $22 = $2,200, basis of old stock  
100 shares × $30 = $3,000, market value of old stock  
10 rights × $3 = $30, market value of rights  
($3,000 ÷ $3,030) × $2,200 = $2,178.22, new basis of old stock  
($30 ÷ $3,030) × $2,200 = $21.78, basis of rights  

If you sell the rights, the basis for figuring gain or loss is $2.18 ($21.78 ÷ 10) per right. If you exercise the rights, the basis of the stock you acquire is the price you pay ($26) plus the basis of the right exercised ($2.18), or $28.18 per share. The remaining basis of the old stock is $21.78 per share.

Investment property received in liquidation.   In general, if you receive investment property as a distribution in partial or complete liquidation of a corporation and if you recognize gain or loss when you acquire the property, your basis in the property is its fair market value at the time of the distribution.

S corporation stock.   You must increase your basis in stock of an S corporation by your pro rata share of the following items.
  • All income items of the S corporation, including tax-exempt income, that are separately stated and passed through to you as a shareholder.

  • The nonseparately stated income of the S corporation.

  • The amount of the deduction for depletion (other than oil and gas depletion) that is more than the basis of the property being depleted.

  You must decrease your basis in stock of an S corporation by your pro rata share of the following items.
  • Distributions by the S corporation that were not included in your income.

  • All loss and deduction items of the S corporation that are separately stated and passed through to you.

  • Any nonseparately stated loss of the S corporation.

  • Any expense of the S corporation that is not deductible in figuring its taxable income and not properly chargeable to a capital account.

  • The amount of your deduction for depletion of oil and gas wells to the extent the deduction is not more than your share of the adjusted basis of the wells.

However, your basis in the stock cannot be reduced below zero.

Specialized small business investment company stock or partnership interest.   If you bought this stock or interest as replacement property for publicly traded securities you sold at a gain, you must reduce the basis of the stock or interest by the amount of any postponed gain on that sale. See Rollover of Gain From Publicly Traded Securities , later.

Qualified small business stock.   If you bought this stock as replacement property for other qualified small business stock you sold at a gain, you must reduce the basis of this replacement stock by the amount of any postponed gain on the earlier sale. See Gains on Qualified Small Business Stock , later.

Short sales.   If you cannot deduct payments you make to a lender in lieu of dividends on stock used in a short sale, the amount you pay to the lender is a capital expense, and you must add it to the basis of the stock used to close the short sale.

  See Payments in lieu of dividends , later, for information about deducting payments in lieu of dividends.

Premiums on bonds.   If you buy a bond at a premium, the premium is treated as part of your basis in the bond. If you choose to amortize the premium paid on a taxable bond, you must reduce the basis of the bond by the amortized part of the premium each year over the life of the bond.

  Although you cannot deduct the premium on a tax-exempt bond, you must amortize it to determine your adjusted basis in the bond. You must reduce the basis of the bond by the premium you amortized for the period you held the bond.

  See Bond Premium Amortization in chapter 3 for more information.

Market discount on bonds.   If you include market discount on a bond in income currently, increase the basis of your bond by the amount of market discount you include in your income. See Market Discount Bonds in chapter 1 for more information.

Bonds purchased at par value.   A bond purchased at par value (face amount) has no premium or discount. When you sell or otherwise dispose of the bond, you figure the gain or loss by comparing the bond proceeds to the purchase price of the bond.

Example.

You purchased a bond several years ago for its par value of $10,000. You sold the bond this year for $10,100. You have a gain of $100. However, if you had sold the bond for $9,900, you would have a loss of $100.

Acquisition discount on short-term obligations.   If you include acquisition discount on a short-term obligation in your income currently, increase the basis of the obligation by the amount of acquisition discount you include in your income. See Discount on Short-Term Obligations in chapter 1 for more information.

Original issue discount (OID) on debt instruments.   Increase the basis of a debt instrument by the OID you include in your income. See Original Issue Discount (OID) in chapter 1.

Discounted tax-exempt obligations.   OID on tax-exempt obligations is generally not taxable. However, when you dispose of a tax-exempt obligation issued after September 3, 1982, that you acquired after March 1, 1984, you must accrue OID on the obligation to determine its adjusted basis. The accrued OID is added to the basis of the obligation to determine your gain or loss.

  For information on determining OID on a long-term obligation, see Debt Instruments Issued After July 1, 1982, and Before 1985 or Debt Instruments Issued After 1984, whichever applies, in Publication 1212 under Figuring OID on Long-Term Debt Instruments.

  If the tax-exempt obligation has a maturity of 1 year or less, accrue OID under the rules for acquisition discount on short-term obligations. See Discount on Short-Term Obligations in chapter 1.

Stripped tax-exempt obligation.   If you acquired a stripped tax-exempt bond or coupon after October 22, 1986, you must accrue OID on it to determine its adjusted basis when you dispose of it. For stripped tax-exempt bonds or coupons acquired after June 10, 1987, part of this OID may be taxable. You accrue the OID on these obligations in the manner described in chapter 1 under Stripped Bonds and Coupons .

  Increase your basis in the stripped tax-exempt bond or coupon by the taxable and nontaxable accrued OID. Also increase your basis by the interest that accrued (but was not paid and was not previously reflected in your basis) before the date you sold the bond or coupon. In addition, for bonds acquired after June 10, 1987, add to your basis any accrued market discount not previously reflected in basis.

How To Figure Gain or Loss

You figure gain or loss on a sale or trade of property by comparing the amount you realize with the adjusted basis of the property.

Gain.   If the amount you realize from a sale or trade is more than the adjusted basis of the property you transfer, the difference is a gain.

Loss.   If the adjusted basis of the property you transfer is more than the amount you realize, the difference is a loss.

Amount realized.   The amount you realize from a sale or trade of property is everything you receive for the property minus your expenses of sale (such as redemption fees, sales commissions, sales charges, or exit fees). Amount realized includes the money you receive plus the fair market value of any property or services you receive.

  If you finance the buyer's purchase of your property and the debt instrument does not provide for adequate stated interest, the unstated interest that you must report as ordinary income will reduce the amount realized from the sale. For more information, see Publication 537.

  If a buyer of property issues a debt instrument to the seller of the property, the amount realized is determined by reference to the issue price of the debt instrument, which may or may not be the fair market value of the debt instrument. See Regulations section 1.1001-1(g). However, if the debt instrument was previously issued by a third party (one not part of the sale transaction), the fair market value of the debt instrument is used to determine the amount realized.

Fair market value.   Fair market value is the price at which property would change hands between a buyer and a seller, neither being forced to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts.

Example.

You trade A Company stock with an adjusted basis of $7,000 for B Company stock with a fair market value of $10,000, which is your amount realized. Your gain is $3,000 ($10,000 – $7,000). If you also receive a note for $6,000 that has an issue price of $6,000, your gain is $9,000 ($10,000 + $6,000 – $7,000).

Debt paid off.   A debt against the property, or against you, that is paid off as a part of the transaction or that is assumed by the buyer must be included in the amount realized. This is true even if neither you nor the buyer is personally liable for the debt. For example, if you sell or trade property that is subject to a nonrecourse loan, the amount you realize generally includes the full amount of the note assumed by the buyer even if the amount of the note is more than the fair market value of the property.

Example.

You sell stock that you had pledged as security for a bank loan of $8,000. Your basis in the stock is $6,000. The buyer pays off your bank loan and pays you $20,000 in cash. The amount realized is $28,000 ($20,000 + $8,000). Your gain is $22,000 ($28,000 – $6,000).

Payment of cash.   If you trade property and cash for other property, the amount you realize is the fair market value of the property you receive. Determine your gain or loss by subtracting the cash you pay and the adjusted basis of the property you trade in from the amount you realize. If the result is a positive number, it is a gain. If the result is a negative number, it is a loss.

No gain or loss.   You may have to use a basis for figuring gain that is different from the basis used for figuring loss. In this case, you may have neither a gain nor a loss. See No gain or loss in the discussion on the basis of property you received as a gift under Basis Other Than Cost, earlier.

Special Rules for Mutual Funds

To figure your gain or loss when you dispose of mutual fund shares, you need to determine which shares were sold and the basis of those shares. If your shares in a mutual fund were acquired all on the same day and for the same price, figuring their basis is not difficult. However, shares are generally acquired at various times, in various quantities, and at various prices. Therefore, figuring your basis can be more difficult. You can choose to use either a cost basis or an average basis to figure your gain or loss.

Cost Basis

You can figure your gain or loss using a cost basis only if you did not previously use an average basis for a sale, exchange, or redemption of other shares in the same mutual fund.

To figure cost basis, you can choose one of the following methods.

  • Specific share identification.

  • First-in first-out (FIFO).

Specific share identification.   If you adequately identify the shares you sold, you can use the adjusted basis of those particular shares to figure your gain or loss.

  You will adequately identify your mutual fund shares, even if you bought the shares in different lots at various prices and times, if you:
  1. Specify to your broker or other agent the particular shares to be sold or transferred at the time of the sale or transfer, and

  2. Receive confirmation in writing from your broker or other agent within a reasonable time of your specification of the particular shares sold or transferred.

  You continue to have the burden of proving your basis in the specified shares at the time of sale or transfer.

First-in first-out (FIFO).    If your shares were acquired at different times or at different prices and you cannot identify which shares you sold, use the basis of the shares you acquired first as the basis of the shares sold. In other words, the oldest shares you own are considered sold first. You should keep a separate record of each purchase and any dispositions of the shares until all shares purchased at the same time have been disposed of completely.

   Table 4-2 illustrates the use of the FIFO method to figure the cost basis of shares sold, compared with the use of the average basis method (discussed next).

Average Basis

You can figure your gain or loss using an average basis only if you acquired identical shares at various times and prices, or you acquired the shares after 2010 in connection with a dividend reinvestment plan, and you left the shares on deposit in an account handled by a custodian or agent who acquires or redeems those shares.

Average basis is determined by averaging the basis of all shares of identical stock in an account regardless of how long you have held the stock. However, shares of stock in a dividend reinvestment plan are not identical to shares of stock with the same CUSIP number that are not in a dividend reinvestment plan. The basis of each share of identical stock in the account is the aggregate basis of all shares of that stock in the account divided by the aggregate number of shares.

Transition rule from double-category method.   You may no longer use the double-category method for figuring your average basis. If you were using the double-category method for stock you acquired before April 1, 2011 and you sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of that stock on or after April 1, 2011, you must figure the average basis of this stock by averaging together all identical shares of stock in the account on April 1, 2011, regardless of the holding period.

Election of average basis method for covered securities.   To make the election to use the average basis method for your covered securities, you must send written notice to the custodian or agent who keeps the account. The written notice can be made electronically. You must also notify your broker that you have made the election. Generally, a covered security is a security you acquired after 2010, with certain exceptions explained in the Instructions for Form 8949.

  You can make the election to use the average basis method at any time. The election will be effective for sales or other dispositions of stocks that occur after you notify the custodian or agent of your election. Your election must identify each account with that custodian or agent and each stock in that account to which the election applies. The election can also indicate that it applies to all accounts with a custodian or agent, including accounts you later establish with the custodian or agent.

Election of average basis method for noncovered securities.   For noncovered securities, you elect to use the average basis method on your income tax return for the first taxable year that the election applies. You make the election by showing on your return that you used the average basis method in reporting gain or loss on the sale or other disposition.

Revoking the average basis method election.   You can revoke an election to use the average basis method for your covered securities by sending written notice to the custodian or agent holding the stock for which you want to revoke the election. The election must generally be revoked by the earlier of 1 year after you make the election or the date of the first sale, transfer, or disposition of the stock following the election. The revocation applies to all the stock you hold in an account that is identical to the shares of stock for which you are revoking the election. After revoking your election, your basis in the shares of stock to which the revocation applies is the basis before averaging.

You may be able to find the average basis of your shares from information provided by the fund.

Average basis method illustrated.    Table 4-2 illustrates the average basis method of shares sold, compared with the use of the FIFO method to figure cost basis (discussed earlier).

  Even though you include all unsold shares of identical stock in an account to compute average basis, you may have both short-term and long-term gains or losses when you sell these shares. To determine your holding period, the shares disposed of are considered to be those acquired first.

Example.

You bought 400 identical shares in the LJO Mutual Fund: 200 shares on May 9, 2012, and 200 shares on May 14, 2013. On November 14, 2013, you sold 300 shares. The basis of all 300 shares sold is the same, but you held 200 shares for more than 1 year, so your gain or loss on those shares is long term. You held 100 shares for 1 year or less, so your gain or loss on those shares is short term.

   How to figure the basis of shares sold. To figure the basis of shares you sell, use the steps in the following worksheet.
1. Enter the total adjusted basis of all the shares you owned in the fund just before the sale. (If you made an earlier sale of shares in this fund, add the adjusted basis of any shares you still owned after the last sale and the adjusted basis of any shares you acquired after that sale.) $
2. Enter the total number of shares you owned in the fund just before the sale  
3. Divide the amount on line 1 by the amount on line 2. This is your average basis per share $
4. Enter the number of shares you sold  
5. Multiply the amount on line 3 by the amount on line 4. This is the basis of the shares you sold $

Example 1.

You bought 300 identical shares in the LJP Mutual Fund: 100 shares in 2009 for $1,000 ($10 per share); 100 shares in 2010 for $1,200 ($12 per share); and 100 shares in 2011 for $2,600 ($26 per share). Thus, the total cost of your shares was $4,800 ($1,000 + $1,200 + $2,600). On May 8, 2013, you sold 150 shares. The basis of the shares you sold is $2,400 ($16 per share), figured as follows.

1. Enter the total adjusted basis of all the shares you owned in the fund just before the sale. (If you made an earlier sale of shares in this fund, add the adjusted basis of any shares you still owned after the last sale and the adjusted basis of any shares you acquired after that sale.) $4,800
2. Enter the total number of shares you owned in the fund just before the sale 300
3. Divide the amount on line 1 by the amount on line 2. This is your average basis per share $16
4. Enter the number of shares you sold 150
5. Multiply the amount on line 3 by the amount on line 4. This is the basis of the shares you sold $2,400

Remaining shares.   The average basis of the shares you still hold after a sale of some of your shares is the same as the average basis of the shares sold. The next time you make a sale, your average basis will still be the same, unless you have acquired additional shares (or have made a subsequent adjustment to basis).

Example 2.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that you sold an additional 50 shares on December 9, 2013. You do not need to recompute the average basis of the 150 shares you owned at that time because you acquired or sold no shares, and had no other adjustments to basis, since the last sale. Your basis is the $16 per share figured earlier.

Example 3.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that you bought an additional 150 identical shares at $14 a share on September 9, 2013, and then sold 50 shares on December 9, 2013. The total adjusted basis of all the shares you owned just before the sale is $4,500, figured as follows.

1. Basis of remaining shares ($16 x 150) $2,400
2. Cost of shares acquired 9/9/2013 ($14 x 150) $2,100
3. Total adjusted basis of all shares owned ($2,400 + $2,100) $4,500
     

The basis of the shares sold is $750 ($15 a share), figured as follows.

1. Enter the total adjusted basis of all the shares you owned in the fund just before the sale. (If you made an earlier sale of shares in this fund, add the adjusted basis of any shares you still owned after the last sale and the adjusted basis of any shares you acquired after that sale.) $4,500
2. Enter the total number of shares you owned in the fund just before the sale 300
3. Divide the amount on line 1 by the amount on line 2. This is your average basis per share $15
4. Enter the number of shares you sold 50
5. Multiply the amount on line 3 by the amount on line 4. This is the basis of the shares you sold $750

Shares received as gift.   If your account includes shares that you received by gift, and the fair market value of the shares at the time of the gift was not more than the donor's basis, special rules apply. You cannot choose to use the average basis for the account unless you state in writing that you will treat the basis of the gift shares as the FMV at the time you acquire the shares. You must provide this written statement when you make the election to use the average basis method, as described under Election of average basis method for covered securities and Election for average basis method for noncovered securities , earlier, or when you transfer the gift shares to an account for which you have made the average basis method election, whichever is later. The statement must be effective for any gift shares identical to the gift shares to which the average basis method election applies that you acquire at any time and must remain in effect as long as the election remains in effect.

Table 4-2. Example of How To Figure Basis of Shares Sold

This is an example showing two different ways to figure basis. It compares the cost basis using the FIFO method with the average basis method.
Date Action Share Price No. of Shares Total Shares Owned
2/8/2011 Invest $4,000 $25 160 160
8/9/2011 Invest $4,800 $20 240 400
12/13/2011 Reinvest $300 dividend $30 10 410
10/1/2013 Sell 210 shares for $6,720 $32 210 200
 
COST BASIS  
(FIFO)
To figure the basis of the 210 shares sold on 10/1/2013, use the share price of the first 210 shares you bought, namely the 160 shares you purchased on 2/8/2011 and 50 of those purchased on 8/9/2011.
 
    $4,000 (cost of 160 shares on 2/8/2011)
  + $1,000 (cost of 50 shares on 8/9/2011)
  Basis = $5,000
 
AVERAGE BASIS To figure the basis of the 210 shares sold on 10/1/2013, use the average basis of all 410 shares owned on 10/1/2013.
    $9,100 (cost of 410 shares)
    ÷ 410 (number of shares)
    $22.20 (average basis per share)
 
    $22.20  
    × 210
  Basis = $4,662

  
When there is a sale, exchange, or redemption of your shares in a fund, keep the confirmation statement you receive. The statement shows the price you received for the shares and other information you need to report gain or loss on your return.

Nontaxable Trades

This section discusses trades that generally do not result in a taxable gain or a deductible loss. For more information on nontaxable trades, see chapter 1 of Publication 544.

Like-Kind Exchanges

If you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, you do not pay tax on any gain or deduct any loss until you sell or dispose of the property you receive. To be nontaxable, a trade must meet all six of the following conditions.

  1. The property must be business or investment property. You must hold both the property you trade and the property you receive for productive use in your trade or business or for investment. Neither property may be property used for personal purposes, such as your home or family car.

  2. The property must not be held primarily for sale. The property you trade and the property you receive must not be property you sell to customers, such as merchandise.

  3. The property must not be stocks, bonds, notes, choses in action, certificates of trust or beneficial interest, or other securities or evidences of indebtedness or interest, including partnership interests. However, see Special rules for mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company stock , later. Also, you can have a nontaxable trade of corporate stocks under a different rule, as discussed later under Corporate Stocks .

  4. There must be a trade of like property. The trade of real estate for real estate, or personal property for similar personal property, is a trade of like property. The trade of an apartment house for a store building, or a panel truck for a pickup truck, is a trade of like property. The trade of a piece of machinery for a store building is not a trade of like property. Real property located in the United States and real property located outside the United States are not like property. Also, personal property used predominantly within the United States and personal property used predominantly outside the United States are not like property.

  5. The property to be received must be identified in writing within 45 days after the date you transfer the property given up in the trade. If you received the replacement property before the end of the 45-day period, you automatically are treated as having met the 45-day written notice requirement.

  6. The property to be received must be received by the earlier of:

    1. The 180th day after the date on which you transfer the property given up in the trade, or

    2. The due date, including extensions, for your tax return for the year in which the transfer of the property given up occurs.

If you trade property with a related party in a like-kind exchange, a special rule may apply. See Related Party Transactions , later in this chapter. Also, see chapter 1 of Publication 544 for more information on exchanges of business property and special rules for exchanges using qualified intermediaries or involving multiple properties.

Partly nontaxable exchange.   If you receive money or unlike property in addition to the like property, and the preceding six conditions are met, you have a partly nontaxable trade. You are taxed on any gain you realize, but only up to the amount of the money and the fair market value of the unlike property you receive. You cannot deduct a loss.

Like property and unlike property transferred.   If you give up unlike property in addition to the like property, you must recognize gain or loss on the unlike property you give up. The gain or loss is the difference between the adjusted basis of the unlike property and its fair market value.

Like property and money transferred.   If conditions (1) – (6) are met, you have a nontaxable trade even if you pay money in addition to the like property.

Basis of property received.   You figure your basis in property received in a nontaxable or partly nontaxable trade as explained under Basis Other Than Cost , earlier.

Special rules for mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company stock.   For purposes of item 3 above, stock does not include shares in a mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company if all of the following conditions are met at the time of the trade.
  • The mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company is an organization described in section 501(c)(12)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code (determined without regard to the percentage of its income that is collected from its members for the purpose of meeting losses and expenses).

  • The shares in the company have been recognized by the highest court of the state in which the company was organized or by applicable state statute as constituting or representing real property or an interest in real property.

  • The trade occurred after May 22, 2008.

How to report.   You must report the trade of like property on Form 8824. If you figure a recognized gain or loss on Form 8824, report it on Schedule D (Form 1040) or on Form 4797, whichever applies.

  For information on using Form 4797, see chapter 4 of Publication 544.

Corporate Stocks

The following trades of corporate stocks generally do not result in a taxable gain or a deductible loss.

Corporate reorganizations.   In some instances, a company will give you common stock for preferred stock, preferred stock for common stock, or stock in one corporation for stock in another corporation. If this is a result of a merger, recapitalization, transfer to a controlled corporation, bankruptcy, corporate division, corporate acquisition, or other corporate reorganization, you do not recognize gain or loss.

Example 1.

On April 19, 2013, KP1 Corporation was acquired by KP2 Corporation. You held 100 shares of KP1 stock with a basis of $3,500. As a result of the acquisition, you received 70 shares of KP2 stock in exchange for your KP1 stock. You do not recognize gain or loss on the transaction. Your basis in the 70 shares of the new stock is still $3,500.

Example 2.

On July 26, 2013, RGB Corporation divests itself of SFH Corporation. You hold 75 shares of RGB stock with a basis of $5,400. You receive 25 shares of SFH stock as a result of the spin-off. You do not recognize any gain or loss on the transaction. You receive information from RGB Corporation that your basis in SFH stock is equal to 10.9624% of your basis in RGB stock ($5,400). Thus, your basis in SFH stock is $592.00. Your basis in RGB stock (after the spin-off) is $4,808 ($5,400 – $592).

Note.

In the case of a spin-off, the divesting corporation should send you information that includes details on how to allocate basis between the old and new stock. Keep this information until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the stock in a taxable disposition. Usually, this is 3 years from the date the return was due or filed, or 2 years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later.

Stock for stock of the same corporation.   You can exchange common stock for common stock or preferred stock for preferred stock in the same corporation without having a recognized gain or loss. This is true for a trade between two stockholders as well as a trade between a stockholder and the corporation.

  If you receive cash for fractional shares, see Fractional shares under Distributions of Stock and Stock Rights in chapter 1.

Money or other property received.   If in an otherwise nontaxable trade you receive money or other property in addition to stock, then your gain on the trade, if any, is taxed, but only up to the amount of the money or other property. Any loss is not recognized.

  If you received cash for fractional shares, see Fractional shares under Distributions of Stock and Stock Rights in chapter 1.

Nonqualified preferred stock.   Nonqualified preferred stock is generally treated as property other than stock. Generally, this applies to preferred stock with one or more of the following features.
  • The holder has the right to require the issuer or a related person to redeem or purchase the stock.

  • The issuer or a related person is required to redeem or purchase the stock.

  • The issuer or a related person has the right to redeem the stock, and on the issue date, it is more likely than not that the right will be exercised.

  • The dividend rate on the stock varies with reference to interest rates, commodity prices, or similar indices.

For a detailed definition of nonqualified preferred stock, see section 351(g)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Convertible stocks and bonds.   You generally will not have a recognized gain or loss if you convert bonds into stock or preferred stock into common stock of the same corporation according to a conversion privilege in the terms of the bond or the preferred stock certificate.

Example.

In November, you bought for $1 a right issued by XYZ Corporation entitling you, on payment of $99, to subscribe to a bond issued by that corporation.

On December 5, you subscribed to the bond, which was issued on December 12. The bond contained a clause stating that you would receive one share of XYZ Corporation common stock on surrender of one bond and the payment of $50.

Later, you presented the bond and $50 and received one share of XYZ Corporation common stock. You did not have a recognized gain or loss. This is true whether the fair market value of the stock was more or less than $150 on the date of the conversion.

The basis of your share of stock is $150 ($1 + $99 + $50). Your holding period is split. Your holding period for the part based on your ownership of the bond ($100 basis) begins on December 5. Your holding period for the part based on your cash investment ($50 basis) begins on the day after you acquired the share of stock.

Bonds for stock of another corporation.   Generally, if you convert the bonds of one corporation into common stock of another corporation, according to the terms of the bond issue, you must recognize gain or loss up to the difference between the fair market value of the stock received and the adjusted basis of the bonds exchanged. In some instances, however, such as trades that are part of mergers or other corporate reorganizations, you will have no recognized gain or loss if certain requirements are met. For more information about the tax consequences of converting securities of one corporation into common stock of another corporation, under circumstances such as those just described, consult the respective corporations and the terms of the bond issue. This information is also available on the prospectus of the bond issue.

Property for stock of a controlled corporation.   If you transfer property to a corporation solely in exchange for stock in that corporation, and immediately after the trade you are in control of the corporation, you ordinarily will not recognize a gain or loss. This rule applies both to individuals and to groups who transfer property to a corporation. It does not apply if the corporation is an investment company.

  If you are in a bankruptcy or a similar proceeding and you transfer property to a controlled corporation under a plan, other than a reorganization, you must recognize gain to the extent the stock you receive in the exchange is used to pay off your debts.

  For this purpose, to be in control of a corporation, you or your group of transferors must own, immediately after the exchange, at least 80% of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote and at least 80% of the outstanding shares of each class of nonvoting stock of the corporation.

  If this provision applies to you, you may have to attach to your return a complete statement of all facts pertinent to the exchange. For details, see Regulations section 1.351-3.

Money or other property received.   If, in an otherwise nontaxable trade of property for corporate stock, you also receive money or property other than stock, you may have a taxable gain. However, you are taxed only up to the amount of money plus the fair market value of the other property you receive. The rules for figuring taxable gain in this situation generally follow those for a partly nontaxable exchange discussed earlier under Like-Kind Exchanges . If the property you give up includes depreciable property, the taxable gain may have to be reported as ordinary income because of depreciation. (See chapter 3 of Publication 544.) No loss is recognized.

  Nonqualified preferred stock (described earlier under Stock for stock of the same corporation) received is generally treated as property other than stock.

Basis of stock or other property received.   The basis of the stock you receive is generally the adjusted basis of the property you transfer. Increase this amount by any amount that was treated as a dividend, plus any gain recognized on the trade. Decrease this amount by any cash you received and the fair market value of any other property you received.

  The basis of any other property you receive is its fair market value on the date of the trade.

Exchange of Shares In One Mutual Fund For Shares In Another Mutual Fund

Any exchange of shares in one fund for shares in another fund is a taxable exchange. This is true even if you exchange shares in one fund for shares in another fund within the same family of funds. Report any gain or loss on the shares you gave up as a capital gain or loss in the year in which the exchange occurs. Usually, you can add any service charge or fee paid in connection with an exchange to the cost of the shares acquired. For an exception, see Commissions and load charges under Shares in a mutual fund or REIT, earlier.

Insurance Policies and Annuities

You will not have a recognized gain or loss if the insured or annuitant is the same under both contracts and you trade:

  • A life insurance contract for another life insurance contract or for an endowment or annuity contract or for a qualified long-term care insurance contract,

  • An endowment contract for another endowment contract that provides for regular payments beginning at a date no later than the beginning date under the old contract or for annuity contract or for a qualified long-term insurance contract,

  • An annuity contract for annuity contract or for a qualified long-term care insurance contract, or

  • A qualified long-term care insurance contract for a qualified long-term care insurance contract.

 
You also may not have to recognize gain or loss from an exchange of a portion of an annuity contract for another annuity contract. For transfers completed before October 24, 2011, see Revenue Ruling 2003-76 and Revenue Procedure 2008-24 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2008-13. Revenue Ruling 2003-76 is available at www.irs.gov/irb/2003-33_IRB/ar11.html. Revenue Procedure 2008-24 is available at www.irs.gov/irb/2008-13_IRB/ar13.html. For transfers completed on or after October 24, 2011, see Revenue Ruling 2003-76, above, and Revenue Procedure 2011-38, in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2011-30. Revenue Procedure 2011-38 is available at www.irs.gov/irb/2011-30_IRB/ar09.html. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2010, amounts received as an annuity for a period of 10 years or more, or for the lives of one or more individuals, under any portion of an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract, are treated as a separate contract and are considered partial annuities. A portion of an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract may be annuitized, provided that the annuitization period is for 10 years or more or for the lives of one or more individuals. The investment in the contract is allocated between the part of the contract from which amounts are received as an annuity and the part of the contract from which amounts are not received as an annuity.

Exchanges of contracts not included in this list, such as an annuity contract for an endowment contract, or an annuity or endowment contract for a life insurance contract, are taxable.

Demutualization of Life Insurance Companies

A life insurance company may change from a mutual company to a stock company. This is commonly called demutualization. If you were a policyholder or annuitant of the mutual company, you may have received either stock in the stock company or cash in exchange for your equity interest in the mutual company.

If the demutualization transaction qualifies as a tax-free reorganization under section 368(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, no gain or loss is recognized on the exchange. Your holding period for the new stock includes the period you held an equity interest in the mutual company as a policyholder or annuitant.

If the demutualization transaction does not qualify as a tax-free reorganization under section 368(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, you must recognize a capital gain or loss. Your holding period for the stock does not include the period you held an equity interest in the mutual company.

If you received cash in exchange for your equity interest, you must recognize a capital gain. If you held an equity interest for more than 1 year, your gain is long term.

U.S. Treasury Notes or Bonds

You can trade certain issues of U.S. Treasury obligations for other issues, designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, with no gain or loss recognized on the trade.

See the discussion in chapter 1 under U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, and Bonds for information about income from these investments.

Transfers Between Spouses

Generally, no gain or loss is recognized on a transfer of property from an individual to (or in trust for the benefit of) a spouse or, if incident to a divorce, a former spouse. This nonrecognition rule does not apply in the following situations.

  • The recipient spouse or former spouse is a nonresident alien.

  • Property is transferred in trust and liability exceeds basis. Gain must be recognized to the extent the amount of the liabilities assumed by the trust, plus any liabilities on the property, exceed the adjusted basis of the property.

  • An installment obligation is transferred in trust. For information on the disposition of an installment obligation, see Publication 537.

  • Certain stock redemptions, which are taxable to a spouse under the tax law, a divorce or separation instrument, or a valid written agreement, discussed in Regulations section 1.1041-2.

Any transfer of property to a spouse or former spouse on which gain or loss is not recognized is treated by the recipient as a gift and is not considered a sale or exchange. The recipient's basis in the property will be the same as the adjusted basis of the giver immediately before the transfer. This carryover basis rule applies whether the adjusted basis of the transferred property is less than, equal to, or greater than either its fair market value at the time of transfer or any consideration paid by the recipient. This rule applies for purposes of determining loss as well as gain. Any gain recognized on a transfer in trust increases the basis.

A transfer of property is incident to a divorce if the transfer occurs within 1 year after the date on which the marriage ends, or if the transfer is related to the ending of the marriage. For more information, see Property Settlements in Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals.

Related Party Transactions

Special rules apply to the sale or trade of property between related parties.

Gain on Sale or Trade of Depreciable Property

Your gain from the sale or trade of property to a related party may be ordinary income, rather than capital gain, if the property can be depreciated by the party receiving it. See chapter 3 in Publication 544 for more information.

Like-Kind Exchanges

Generally, if you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, no gain or loss is recognized. See Like-Kind Exchanges , earlier, under Nontaxable Trades.

This rule also applies to trades of property between related parties, defined next under Losses on Sales or Trades of Property. However, if either you or the related party disposes of the like property within 2 years after the trade, you both must report any gain or loss not recognized on the original trade on your return for the year in which the later disposition occurs.

This rule generally does not apply to:

  • Dispositions due to the death of either related party,

  • Involuntary conversions (see chapter 1 of Publication 544), or

  • Trades and later dispositions whose main purpose is not the avoidance of federal income tax.

If a property holder's risk of loss on the property is substantially diminished during any period, that period is not counted in determining whether the property was disposed of within 2 years. The property holder's risk of loss is substantially diminished by:

  • The holding of a put on the property,

  • The holding by another person of a right to acquire the property, or

  • A short sale or any other transaction.

Losses on Sales or Trades of Property

You cannot deduct a loss on the sale or trade of property, other than a distribution in complete liquidation of a corporation, if the transaction is directly or indirectly between you and the following related parties.

  • Members of your family. This includes only your brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.), and lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.).

  • A partnership in which you directly or indirectly own more than 50% of the capital interest or the profits interest.

  • A corporation in which you directly or indirectly own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock (see Constructive ownership of stock , later).

  • A tax-exempt charitable or educational organization directly or indirectly controlled, in any manner or by any method, by you or by a member of your family, whether or not this control is legally enforceable.

 
In addition, a loss on the sale or trade of property is not deductible if the transaction is directly or indirectly between the following related parties.

  • A grantor and fiduciary, or the fiduciary and beneficiary, of any trust.

  • Fiduciaries of two different trusts, or the fiduciary and beneficiary of two different trusts, if the same person is the grantor of both trusts.

  • A trust fiduciary and a corporation of which more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is directly or indirectly owned by or for the trust, or by or for the grantor of the trust.

  • A corporation and a partnership if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of the corporation and more than 50% of the capital interest, or the profits interest, in the partnership.

  • Two S corporations if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of each corporation.

  • Two corporations, one of which is an S corporation, if the same persons own more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of each corporation.

  • An executor and a beneficiary of an estate (except in the case of a sale or trade to satisfy a pecuniary bequest).

  • Two corporations that are members of the same controlled group (under certain conditions, however, these losses are not disallowed but must be deferred).

  • Two partnerships if the same persons own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the capital interests or the profit interests in both partnerships.

Multiple property sales or trades.   If you sell or trade to a related party a number of blocks of stock or pieces of property in a lump sum, you must figure the gain or loss separately for each block of stock or piece of property. The gain on each item may be taxable. However, you cannot deduct the loss on any item. Also, you cannot reduce gains from the sales of any of these items by losses on the sales of any of the other items.

Indirect transactions.   You cannot deduct your loss on the sale of stock through your broker if, under a prearranged plan, a related party buys the same stock you had owned. This does not apply to a trade between related parties through an exchange that is purely coincidental and is not prearranged.

Constructive ownership of stock.   In determining whether a person directly or indirectly owns any of the outstanding stock of a corporation, the following rules apply.

Rule 1.   Stock directly or indirectly owned by or for a corporation, partnership, estate, or trust is considered owned proportionately by or for its shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries.

Rule 2.   An individual is considered to own the stock directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her family. Family includes only brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, ancestors, and lineal descendants.

Rule 3.   An individual owning, other than by applying rule 2, any stock in a corporation is considered to own the stock directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her partner.

Rule 4.   When applying rule 1, 2, or 3, stock constructively owned by a person under rule 1 is treated as actually owned by that person. But stock constructively owned by an individual under rule 2 or rule 3 is not treated as owned by that individual for again applying either rule 2 or rule 3 to make another person the constructive owner of the stock.

Property received from a related party.   If you sell or trade at a gain property you acquired from a related party, you recognize the gain only to the extent that it is more than the loss previously disallowed to the related party. This rule applies only if you are the original transferee and you acquired the property by purchase or exchange. This rule does not apply if the related party's loss was disallowed because of the wash sale rules, described later under Wash Sales .

  If you sell or trade at a loss property you acquired from a related party, you cannot recognize the loss that was not allowed to the related party.

Example 1.

Your brother sells you stock for $7,600. His cost basis is $10,000. Your brother cannot deduct the loss of $2,400. Later, you sell the same stock to an unrelated party for $10,500, realizing a gain of $2,900. Your reportable gain is $500 (the $2,900 gain minus the $2,400 loss not allowed to your brother).

Example 2.

If, in Example 1, you sold the stock for $6,900 instead of $10,500, your recognized loss is only $700 (your $7,600 basis minus $6,900). You cannot deduct the loss that was not allowed to your brother.

Capital Gains and Losses

This section discusses the tax treatment of gains and losses from different types of investment transactions.

Character of gain or loss.   You need to classify your gains and losses as either ordinary or capital gains or losses. You then need to classify your capital gains and losses as either short term or long term. If you have long-term gains and losses, you must identify your 28% rate gains and losses. If you have a net capital gain, you must also identify any unrecaptured section 1250 gain.

  The correct classification and identification helps you figure the limit on capital losses and the correct tax on capital gains. For information about determining whether your capital gain or loss is short term or long term, see Holding Period , later. For information about 28% rate gain or loss and unrecaptured section 1250 gain, see Capital Gain Tax Rates under Reporting Capital Gains and Losses, later.

Capital or Ordinary Gain or Loss

If you have a taxable gain or a deductible loss from a transaction, it may be either a capital gain or loss or an ordinary gain or loss, depending on the circumstances. Generally, a sale or trade of a capital asset (defined next) results in a capital gain or loss. A sale or trade of a noncapital asset generally results in ordinary gain or loss. Depending on the circumstances, a gain or loss on a sale or trade of property used in a trade or business may be treated as either capital or ordinary, as explained in Publication 544. In some situations, part of your gain or loss may be a capital gain or loss, and part may be an ordinary gain or loss.

Capital Assets and Noncapital Assets

For the most part, everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure, or investment is a capital asset. Some examples are:

  • Stocks or bonds held in your personal account,

  • A house owned and used by you and your family,

  • Household furnishings,

  • A car used for pleasure or commuting,

  • Coin or stamp collections,

  • Gems and jewelry, and

  • Gold, silver, or any other metal.

Any property you own is a capital asset, except the following noncapital assets.

  1. Property held mainly for sale to customers or property that will physically become a part of the merchandise for sale to customers. For an exception see Capital asset treatment for self-created musical works , later.

  2. Depreciable property used in your trade or business, even if fully depreciated.

  3. Real property used in your trade or business.

  4. A copyright, a literary, musical, or artistic composition, a letter or memorandum, or similar property that is:

    1. Created by your personal efforts,

    2. Prepared or produced for you (in the case of a letter, memorandum, or similar property), or

    3. Acquired under circumstances (for example, by gift) entitling you to the basis of the person who created the property or for whom it was prepared or produced.

    For an exception to this rule, see Capital asset treatment for self-created musical works , later.

  5. Accounts or notes receivable acquired in the ordinary course of a trade or business for services rendered or from the sale of property described in (1).

  6. U.S. government publications that you received from the government free or for less than the normal sales price, or that you acquired under circumstances entitling you to the basis of someone who received the publications free or for less than the normal sales price.

  7. Certain commodities derivative financial instruments held by commodities derivatives dealers. For more information, see section 1221 of the Internal Revenue Code.

  8. Hedging transactions, but only if the transaction is clearly identified as a hedging transaction before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into. For more information, see the definition of hedging transaction, earlier, and the discussion of hedging transactions under Commodity Futures, later.

  9. Supplies of a type you regularly use or consume in the ordinary course of your trade or business.

Investment property.   Investment property is a capital asset. Any gain or loss from its sale or trade generally is a capital gain or loss.

Gold, silver, stamps, coins, gems, etc.   These are capital assets except when they are held for sale by a dealer. Any gain or loss from their sale or trade generally is a capital gain or loss.

Stocks, stock rights, and bonds.   All of these, including stock received as a dividend, are capital assets except when they are held for sale by a securities dealer. However, see Losses on Section 1244 (Small Business) Stock and Losses on Small Business Investment Company Stock , later.

Personal use property.   Property held for personal use only, rather than for investment, is a capital asset, and you must report a gain from its sale as a capital gain. However, you cannot deduct a loss from selling personal use property.

Capital asset treatment for self-created musical works.   You can elect to treat musical compositions and copyrights in musical works as capital assets when you sell or exchange them if:
  • Your personal efforts created the property, or

  • You acquired the property under circumstances (for example, by gift) entitling you to the basis of the person who created the property or for whom it was prepared or produced.

   You must make a separate election for each musical composition (or copyright in a musical work) sold or exchanged during the tax year. You must make the election on or before the due date (including extensions) of the income tax return for the tax year of the sale or exchange. You must make the election on Form 8949 by treating the sale or exchange as the sale or exchange of a capital asset, according to the Instructions for Form 8949 and Instructions for Schedule D (Form 1040).

  You can revoke the election if you have IRS approval. To get IRS approval, you must submit a request for a letter ruling under the appropriate IRS revenue procedure. See, for example, Revenue Procedure 2013-1, corrected by Announcement 2013-9, and amplified and modified by Revenue Procedure 2013-32 available at www.irs.gov/irb/2013-01_IRB/ar06.html. Alternatively, you are granted an automatic 6-month extension from the due date of your income tax return (excluding extensions) to revoke the election, provided you timely file your income tax return, and within this 6-month extension period, you file Form 1040X that treats the sale or exchange as the sale or exchange of property that is not a capital asset.

Discounted Debt Instruments

Treat your gain or loss on the sale, redemption, or retirement of a bond or other debt instrument originally issued at a discount or bought at a discount as capital gain or loss, except as explained in the following discussions.

Short-term government obligations.   Treat gains on short-term federal, state, or local government obligations (other than tax-exempt obligations) as ordinary income up to your ratable share of the acquisition discount. This treatment applies to obligations with a fixed maturity date not more than 1 year from the date of issue. Acquisition discount is the stated redemption price at maturity minus your basis in the obligation.

  However, do not treat these gains as income to the extent you previously included the discount in income. See Discount on Short-Term Obligations in chapter 1 for more information.

Short-term nongovernment obligations.   Treat gains on short-term nongovernment obligations as ordinary income up to your ratable share of OID. This treatment applies to obligations with a fixed maturity date of not more than 1 year from the date of issue.

  However, to the extent you previously included the discount in income, you do not have to include it in income again. See Discount on Short-Term Obligations in chapter 1 for more information.

Tax-exempt state and local government bonds.   If these bonds were originally issued at a discount before September 4, 1982, or you acquired them before March 2, 1984, treat your part of OID as tax-exempt interest. To figure your gain or loss on the sale or trade of these bonds, reduce the amount realized by your part of OID.

  If the bonds were issued after September 3, 1982, and acquired after March 1, 1984, increase the adjusted basis by your part of OID to figure gain or loss. For more information on the basis of these bonds, see Discounted tax-exempt obligations under Stocks and Bonds, earlier in this chapter.

  Any gain from market discount is usually taxable on disposition or redemption of tax-exempt bonds. If you bought the bonds before May 1, 1993, the gain from market discount is capital gain. If you bought the bonds after April 30, 1993, the gain from market discount is ordinary income.

  You figure market discount by subtracting the price you paid for the bond from the sum of the original issue price of the bond and the amount of accumulated OID from the date of issue that represented interest to any earlier holders. For more information, see Market Discount Bonds in chapter 1.

  A loss on the sale or other disposition of a tax-exempt state or local government bond is deductible as a capital loss.

Redeemed before maturity.   If a state or local bond issued before June 9, 1980, is redeemed before it matures, the OID is not taxable to you.

  If a state or local bond issued after June 8, 1980, is redeemed before it matures, the part of OID earned while you hold the bond is not taxable to you. However, you must report the unearned part of OID as a capital gain.

Example.

On July 2, 2002, the date of issue, you bought a 20-year, 6% municipal bond for $800. The face amount of the bond was $1,000. The $200 discount was OID. At the time the bond was issued, the issuer had no intention of redeeming it before it matured. The bond was callable at its face amount beginning 10 years after the issue date.

The issuer redeemed the bond at the end of 11 years (July 2, 2013) for its face amount of $1,000 plus accrued annual interest of $60. The OID earned during the time you held the bond, $73, is not taxable. The $60 accrued annual interest also is not taxable. However, you must report the unearned part of OID ($200 − $73 = $127) as a capital gain.

Long-term debt instruments issued after 1954 and before May 28, 1969 (or before July 2, 1982, if a government instrument).   If you sell, trade, or redeem for a gain one of these debt instruments, the part of your gain that is not more than your ratable share of OID at the time of sale or redemption is ordinary income. The rest of the gain is capital gain. If, however, there was an intention to call the debt instrument before maturity, all of your gain that is not more than the entire OID is treated as ordinary income at the time of the sale. This treatment of taxable gain also applies to corporate instruments issued after May 27, 1969, under a written commitment that was binding on May 27, 1969, and at all times thereafter.

Example.

You bought a 30-year, 6% government bond for $700 at original issue on April 5, 1982, and sold it for $900 on October 18, 2012, for a $200 gain. The redemption price is $1,000. At the time of original issue, there was no intention to call the bond before maturity. You have held the bond for 336 full months. Do not count the additional days that are less than a full month. The number of complete months from date of issue to date of maturity is 360 (30 years). The fraction 336/360 multiplied by the discount of $300 ($1,000 − $700) is equal to $280. This is your ratable share of OID for the period you owned the bond. You must treat any part of the gain up to $280 as ordinary income. As a result, the entire $200 gain is treated as ordinary income.

Long-term debt instruments issued after May 27, 1969 (or after July 1, 1982, if a government instrument).   If you hold one of these debt instruments, you must include a part of OID in your gross income each year you own the instrument. Your basis in that debt instrument is increased by the amount of OID that you have included in your gross income. See Original Issue Discount (OID) in chapter 1.

  If you sell or trade the debt instrument before maturity, your gain is a capital gain. However, if at the time the instrument was originally issued there was an intention to call it before its maturity, your gain generally is ordinary income to the extent of the entire OID reduced by any amounts of OID previously includible in your income. In this case, the rest of the gain is capital gain.

  An intention to call a debt instrument before maturity means there is a written or oral agreement or understanding not provided for in the debt instrument between the issuer and original holder that the issuer will redeem the debt instrument before maturity. In the case of debt instruments that are part of an issue, the agreement or understanding must be between the issuer and the original holders of a substantial amount of the debt instruments in the issue.

Example 1.

On February 4, 2011, you bought at original issue for $7,600, Jones Corporation's 10-year, 5% bond which has a stated redemption price at maturity of $10,000. On February 5, 2013, you sold the bond for $9,040. Assume you have included $334 of OID in your gross income (including the amount accrued for 2013) and increased your basis in the bond by that amount. Your basis is now $7,934. If at the time of the original issue there was no intention to call the bond before maturity, your gain of $1,106 ($9,040 amount realized minus $7,934 adjusted basis) is capital gain.

Example 2.

If, in Example 1, at the time of original issue there was an intention to call the bond before maturity, your entire gain is ordinary income. You figure this as follows:

1) Entire OID ($10,000 stated redemption price at maturity minus $7,600 issue price) $2,400
2) Minus: Amount previously included 
in income
334
3) Maximum amount of ordinary income $2,066

Because the amount in (3) is more than your gain of $1,106, your entire gain is ordinary income.

Market discount bonds.   If the debt instrument has market discount and you chose to include the discount in income as it accrued, increase your basis in the debt instrument by the accrued discount to figure capital gain or loss on its disposition. If you did not choose to include the discount in income as it accrued, you must report gain as ordinary interest income up to the instrument's accrued market discount. See Market Discount Bonds in chapter 1. The rest of the gain is capital gain.

  However, a different rule applies if you dispose of a market discount bond that was:
  • Issued before July 19, 1984, and

  • Purchased by you before May 1, 1993.

 
In that case, any gain is treated as interest income up to the amount of your deferred interest deduction for the year you dispose of the bond. The rest of the gain is capital gain. (The limit on the interest deduction for market discount bonds is discussed in chapter 3 under When To Deduct Investment Interest .)

   Report the sale or trade of a market discount bond in Form 8949, Part I or Part II, whichever is appropriate. If the sale or trade results in a gain and you did not choose to include market discount in income currently, enter “O” in column (f) and in column (g) enter the amount of the accrued market discount as a negative number. Also report the amount of accrued market discount in column (g) as interest income on Schedule B (Form 1040A or 1040), line 1, and identify it as “Accrued Market Discount.

  
Report your sales or trades of a market discount bond on Form 8949 with the correct box checked for these transactions. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

Retirement of debt instrument.   Any amount you receive on the retirement of a debt instrument is treated in the same way as if you had sold or traded that instrument.

Notes of individuals.   If you hold an obligation of an individual issued with OID after March 1, 1984, you generally must include the OID in your income currently, and your gain or loss on its sale or retirement is generally capital gain or loss. An exception to this treatment applies if the obligation is a loan between individuals and all the following requirements are met.
  • The lender is not in the business of lending money.

  • The amount of the loan, plus the amount of any outstanding prior loans, is $10,000 or less.

  • Avoiding federal tax is not one of the principal purposes of the loan.

  If the exception applies, or the obligation was issued before March 2, 1984, you do not include the OID in your income currently. When you sell or redeem the obligation, the part of your gain that is not more than your accrued share of OID at that time is ordinary income. The rest of the gain, if any, is capital gain. Any loss on the sale or redemption is capital loss.

Bearer Obligations

You cannot deduct any loss on an obligation required to be in registered form that is instead held in bearer form. In addition, any gain on the sale or other disposition of the obligation is ordinary income. However, if the issuer was subject to a tax when the obligation was issued, then you can deduct any loss, and any gain may qualify for capital gain treatment.

Obligations required to be in registered form.   Any obligation must be in registered form unless:
  • It is issued by a natural person,

  • It is not of a type offered to the public,

  • It has a maturity at the date of issue of not more than 1 year, or

  • It was issued before 1983.

Deposit in Insolvent or Bankrupt Financial Institution

If you lose money you have on deposit in a bank, credit union, or other financial institution that becomes insolvent or bankrupt, you may be able to deduct your loss in one of three ways.

  • Ordinary loss.

  • Casualty loss.

  • Nonbusiness bad debt (short-term capital loss).

Ordinary loss or casualty loss.   If you can reasonably estimate your loss, you can choose to treat the estimated loss as either an ordinary loss or a casualty loss in the current year. Either way, you claim the loss as an itemized deduction.

  If you claim an ordinary loss, report it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23. The maximum amount you can claim is $20,000 ($10,000 if you are married filing separately) reduced by any expected state insurance proceeds. Your loss is subject to the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit. You cannot choose to claim an ordinary loss if any part of the deposit is federally insured.

  If you claim a casualty loss, attach Form 4684 to your return. Each loss must be reduced by $100. Your total casualty losses for the year are reduced by 10% of your adjusted gross income.

  You cannot choose either of these methods if:
  • You own at least 1% of the financial institution,

  • You are an officer of the institution, or

  • You are related to such an owner or officer. You are related if you and the owner or officer are “related parties,” as defined earlier under Related Party Transactions , or if you are the aunt, uncle, nephew, or niece of the owner or officer.

  If the actual loss that is finally determined is more than the amount you deducted as an estimated loss, you can claim the excess loss as a bad debt. If the actual loss is less than the amount deducted as an estimated loss, you must include in income (in the final determination year) the excess loss claimed. See Recoveries in Publication 525.

Nonbusiness bad debt.   If you do not choose to deduct your estimated loss as a casualty loss or an ordinary loss, you wait until the year the amount of the actual loss is determined and deduct it as a nonbusiness bad debt in that year. Report it as a short-term capital loss on Form 8949, Part I, line 1, as explained under How to report bad debts in Nonbusiness Bad Debts, later.

Sale of Annuity

The part of any gain on the sale of an annuity contract before its maturity date that is based on interest accumulated on the contract is ordinary income.

Conversion Transactions

Generally, all or part of a gain on a conversion transaction is treated as ordinary income. This applies to gain on the disposition or other termination of any position you held as part of a conversion transaction you entered into after April 30, 1993.

A conversion transaction is any transaction that meets both of these tests.

  1. Substantially all of your expected return from the transaction is due to the time value of your net investment. In other words, the return on your investment is, in substance, like interest on a loan.

  2. The transaction is one of the following.

    1. A straddle as defined under Straddles , later, but including any set of offsetting positions on stock established before October 22, 2004.

    2. Any transaction in which you acquire property (whether or not actively traded) at substantially the same time that you contract to sell the same property, or substantially identical property, at a price set in the contract.

    3. Any other transaction that is marketed or sold as producing capital gains from a transaction described in (1).

Amount treated as ordinary income.   The amount of gain treated as ordinary income is the smaller of:
  • The gain recognized on the disposition or other termination of the position, or

  • The “applicable imputed income amount.

Applicable imputed income amount.   Figure this amount as follows.
  1. Figure the amount of interest that would have accrued on your net investment in the conversion transaction for the period ending on the earlier of:

    1. The date you dispose of the position, or

    2. The date the transaction stops being a conversion transaction.

    To figure this amount, use an interest rate equal to 120% of the “applicable rate,” defined later.

  2. Subtract from (1) the amount treated as ordinary income from any earlier disposition or other termination of a position held as part of the same conversion transaction.

Applicable rate.   If the term of the conversion transaction is indefinite, the applicable rate is the federal short-term rate in effect under section 6621(b) of the Internal Revenue Code during the period of the conversion transaction, compounded daily.

  In all other cases, the applicable rate is the “applicable federal rate” determined as if the conversion transaction were a debt instrument and compounded semi-annually.

  The rates discussed above are published by the IRS in the Internal Revenue Bulletin. Or, you can contact the IRS to get these rates. See chapter 5, How To Get Tax Help , for information on contacting the IRS.

Net investment.   To determine your net investment in a conversion transaction, include the fair market value of any position at the time it becomes part of the transaction. This means your net investment generally will be the total amount you invested, less any amount you received for entering into the position (for example, a premium you received for writing a call).

Position with built-in loss.   A special rule applies when a position with a built-in loss becomes part of a conversion transaction. A built-in loss is any loss you would have realized if you had disposed of or otherwise terminated the position at its fair market value at the time it became part of the conversion transaction.

  When applying the conversion transaction rules to a position with a built-in loss, use the position's fair market value at the time it became part of the transaction. But, when you dispose of or otherwise terminate the position in a transaction in which you recognize gain or loss, you must recognize the built-in loss. The conversion transaction rules do not affect whether the built-in loss is treated as an ordinary or capital loss.

Netting rule for certain conversion transactions.   Before determining the amount of gain treated as ordinary income, you can net certain gains and losses from positions of the same conversion transaction. To do this, you have to dispose of all the positions within a 14-day period that is within a single tax year. You cannot net the built-in loss against the gain.

  
You can net gains and losses only if you identify the conversion transaction as an identified netting transaction on your books and records. Each position of the conversion transaction must be identified before the end of the day on which the position becomes part of the conversion transaction. For conversion transactions entered into before February 20, 1996, this requirement is met if the identification was made by that date.

Options dealers and commodities traders.   These rules do not apply to options dealers and commodities traders.

How to report.   Use Form 6781 to report conversion transactions. See the instructions for lines 11 and 13 of Form 6781.

Commodity Futures

A commodity futures contract is a standardized, exchange-traded contract for the sale or purchase of a fixed amount of a commodity at a future date for a fixed price.

If the contract is a regulated futures contract, the rules described earlier under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market apply to it.

The termination of a commodity futures contract generally results in capital gain or loss unless the contract is a hedging transaction.

Hedging transaction.    A futures contract that is a hedging transaction generally produces ordinary gain or loss. A futures contract is a hedging transaction if you enter into the contract in the ordinary course of your business primarily to manage the risk of interest rate or price changes or currency fluctuations on borrowings, ordinary property, or ordinary obligations. (Generally, ordinary property or obligations are those that cannot produce capital gain or loss under any circumstances.) For example, the offset or exercise of a futures contract that protects against price changes in your business inventory results in an ordinary gain or loss.

  For more information about hedging transactions, see Regulations section 1.1221-2. Also, see Hedging Transactions under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market, earlier.

If you have multiple transactions in the commodity futures market during the year, the burden of proof is on you to show which transactions are hedging transactions. Clearly identify any hedging transactions on your books and records before the end of the day you entered into the transaction. It may be helpful to have separate brokerage accounts for your hedging and nonhedging transactions. For specific requirements concerning identification of hedging transactions and the underlying item, items, or aggregate risk being hedged, see Regulations section 1.1221-2(f).

Gains From Certain Constructive Ownership Transactions

If you have a gain from a constructive ownership transaction entered into after July 11, 1999, involving a financial asset (discussed later) and the gain normally would be treated as long-term capital gain, all or part of the gain may be treated instead as ordinary income. In addition, if any gain is treated as ordinary income, your tax is increased by an interest charge.

Constructive ownership transactions.   The following are constructive ownership transactions.
  • A notional principal contract in which you have the right to receive all or substantially all of the investment yield on a financial asset and you are obligated to reimburse all or substantially all of any decline in value of the financial asset.

  • A forward or futures contract to acquire a financial asset.

  • The holding of a call option and writing of a put option on a financial asset at substantially the same strike price and maturity date.

  This provision does not apply if all the positions are marked to market. Marked-to-market rules for section 1256 contracts are discussed in detail under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier.

Financial asset.   A financial asset, for this purpose, is any equity interest in a pass-through entity. Pass-through entities include partnerships, S corporations, trusts, regulated investment companies, and real estate investment trusts.

Amount of ordinary income.   Long-term capital gain is treated as ordinary income to the extent it is more than the net underlying long-term capital gain. The net underlying long-term capital gain is the net capital gain you would have realized if you acquired the asset for its fair market value on the date the constructive ownership transaction was opened and sold the asset for its fair market value on the date the transaction was closed. If you do not establish the amount of net underlying long-term capital gain by clear and convincing evidence, it is treated as zero.

More information.   For more information about constructive ownership transactions, see section 1260 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Losses on Section 1244 (Small Business) Stock

Subject to the limitations discussed under Ordinary loss limit , later, you can deduct as an ordinary loss, rather than as a capital loss, a loss on the sale, trade, or worthlessness of section 1244 stock. Report the loss on Form 4797, line 10. Any loss in excess of the amounts described in Ordinary loss limit , later, should be reported on Form 8949.

Any gain on section 1244 stock is a capital gain if the stock is a capital asset in your hands. Do not offset gains against losses that are within the ordinary loss limit, explained later in this discussion, even if the transactions are in stock of the same company. Report the gain on Form 8949.

If you must figure a net operating loss, any ordinary loss from the sale of section 1244 stock is a business loss.

Ordinary loss limit.   The amount you can deduct as an ordinary loss is limited to $50,000 each year. On a joint return the limit is $100,000, even if only one spouse has this type of loss. If your loss is $110,000 and your spouse has no loss, you can deduct $100,000 as an ordinary loss on a joint return. The remaining $10,000 is a capital loss.

Section 1244 (small business) stock.   This is stock issued for money or property (other than stock and securities) in a domestic small business corporation. During its 5 most recent tax years before the loss, this corporation must have derived more than 50% of its gross receipts from other than royalties, rents, dividends, interest, annuities, and gains from sales and trades of stocks or securities. If the corporation was in existence for at least 1 year, but less than 5 years, the 50% test applies to the tax years ending before the loss. If the corporation was in existence less than 1 year, the 50% test applies to the entire period the corporation was in existence before the day of the loss. However, if the corporation's deductions (other than the net operating loss and dividends received deductions) were more than its gross income during this period, this 50% test does not apply.

  The corporation must have been largely an operating company for ordinary loss treatment to apply.

  If the stock was issued before July 19, 1984, the stock must be common stock. If issued after July 18, 1984, the stock may be either common or preferred. For more information about the requirements of a small business corporation or the qualifications of section 1244 stock, see section 1244 of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations.

The stock must be issued to the person taking the loss.   You must be the original owner of the stock to be allowed ordinary loss treatment. To claim a deductible loss on stock issued to your partnership, you must have been a partner when the stock was issued and have remained so until the time of the loss. You add your distributive share of the partnership loss to any individual section 1244 stock loss you may have before applying the ordinary loss limit.

Stock distributed by partnership.   If your partnership distributes the stock to you, you cannot treat any later loss on that stock as an ordinary loss.

Stock sold through underwriter.   Stock sold through an underwriter is not section 1244 stock unless the underwriter only acted as a selling agent for the corporation.

Stock dividends and reorganizations.   Stock you receive as a stock dividend qualifies as section 1244 stock if:
  • You receive it from a small business corporation in which you own stock, and

  • The stock you own meets the requirements when the stock dividend is distributed.

  If you trade your section 1244 stock for new stock in the same corporation in a reorganization that qualifies as a recapitalization or that is only a change in identity, form, or place of organization, the new stock is section 1244 stock if the stock you trade meets the requirements when the trade occurs.

  If you hold section 1244 stock and other stock in the same corporation, not all of the stock you receive as a stock dividend or in a reorganization will qualify as section 1244 stock. Only that part based on the section 1244 stock you hold will qualify.

Example.

Your basis for 100 shares of X common stock is $1,000. These shares qualify as section 1244 stock. If, as a nontaxable stock dividend, you receive 50 more shares of common stock, the basis of which is determined from the 100 shares you own, the 50 shares are also section 1244 stock.

If you also own stock in the corporation that is not section 1244 stock when you receive the stock dividend, you must divide the shares you receive as a dividend between the section 1244 stock and the other stock. Only the shares from the former can be section 1244 stock.

Contributed property.   To determine ordinary loss on section 1244 stock you receive in a trade for property, you have to reduce the basis of the stock if:
  • The adjusted basis (for figuring loss) of the property, immediately before the trade, was more than its fair market value, and

  • The basis of the stock is determined by the basis of the property.

Reduce the basis of the stock by the difference between the adjusted basis of the property and its fair market value at the time of the trade. You reduce the basis only to figure the ordinary loss. Do not reduce the basis of the stock for any other purpose.

Example.

You transfer property with an adjusted basis of $1,000 and a fair market value of $250 to a corporation for its section 1244 stock. The basis of your stock is $1,000, but to figure the ordinary loss under these rules, the basis of your stock is $250 ($1,000 minus $750). If you later sell the section 1244 stock for $200, your $800 loss is an ordinary loss of $50 and a capital loss of $750.

Contributions to capital.   If the basis of your section 1244 stock has increased, through contributions to capital or otherwise, you must treat this increase as applying to stock that is not section 1244 stock when you figure an ordinary loss on its sale.

Example.

You buy 100 shares of section 1244 stock for $10,000. You are the original owner. You later make a $2,000 contribution to capital that increases the total basis of the 100 shares to $12,000. You then sell the 100 shares for $9,000 and have a loss of $3,000. You can deduct only $2,500 ($3,000 × $10,000/$12,000) as an ordinary loss under these rules. The remaining $500 is a capital loss.

Recordkeeping. You must keep records sufficient to show your stock qualifies as section 1244 stock. Your records must also distinguish your section 1244 stock from any other stock you own in the corporation.

Losses on Small Business Investment Company Stock

A small business investment company (SBIC) is one that is licensed and operated under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958.

If you are an investor in SBIC stock, you can deduct as an ordinary loss, rather than a capital loss, a loss from the sale, trade, or worthlessness of that stock. A gain from the sale or trade of that stock is a capital gain. Do not offset your gains and losses, even if they are on stock of the same company.

How to report.   You report this type of ordinary loss on Form 4797, Part II, line 10. In addition to the information required by the form, you must include the name and address of the company that issued the stock. If applicable, also include the reason the stock is worthless and the approximate date it became worthless. Report a capital gain from the sale of SBIC stock on Form 8949.

Short sale.   If you close a short sale of SBIC stock with other SBIC stock you bought only for that purpose, any loss you have on the sale is a capital loss. See Short Sales , later in this chapter, for more information.

Holding Period

If you sold or traded investment property, you must determine your holding period for the property. Your holding period determines whether any capital gain or loss was a short-term or a long-term capital gain or loss.

Long-term or short-term.   If you hold investment property more than 1 year, any capital gain or loss is a long-term capital gain or loss. If you hold the property 1 year or less, any capital gain or loss is a short-term capital gain or loss.

  To determine how long you held the investment property, begin counting on the date after the day you acquired the property. The day you disposed of the property is part of your holding period.

Example.

If you bought investment property on February 6, 2012, and sold it on February 6, 2013, your holding period is not more than 1 year and you have a short-term capital gain or loss. If you sold it on February 7, 2013, your holding period is more than 1 year and you have a long-term capital gain or loss.

Securities traded on an established market.   For securities traded on an established securities market, your holding period begins the day after the trade date you bought the securities, and ends on the trade date you sold them.

  
Do not confuse the trade date with the settlement date, which is the date by which the stock must be delivered and payment must be made.

Example.

You are a cash method, calendar year taxpayer. You sold stock at a gain on December 30, 2013. According to the rules of the stock exchange, the sale was closed by delivery of the stock and payment of the sale price in January 2014. You received payment of the sale price on that same day. Report your gain on your 2013 return, even though you received the payment in 2014. The gain is long term or short term depending on whether you held the stock more than 1 year. Your holding period ended on December 30. If you had sold the stock at a loss, you would also report it on your 2013 return.

U.S. Treasury notes and bonds.   The holding period of U.S. Treasury notes and bonds sold at auction on the basis of yield starts the day after the Secretary of the Treasury, through news releases, gives notification of acceptance to successful bidders. The holding period of U.S. Treasury notes and bonds sold through an offering on a subscription basis at a specified yield starts the day after the subscription is submitted.

Automatic investment service.    In determining your holding period for shares bought by the bank or other agent, full shares are considered bought first and any fractional shares are considered bought last. Your holding period starts on the day after the bank's purchase date. If a share was bought over more than one purchase date, your holding period for that share is a split holding period. A part of the share is considered to have been bought on each date that stock was bought by the bank with the proceeds of available funds.

Nontaxable trades.   If you acquire investment property in a trade for other investment property and your basis for the new property is determined, in whole or in part, by your basis in the old property, your holding period for the new property begins on the day following the date you acquired the old property.

Property received as a gift.   If you receive a gift of property and your basis is determined by the donor's adjusted basis, your holding period is considered to have started on the same day the donor's holding period started.

  If your basis is determined by the fair market value of the property, your holding period starts on the day after the date of the gift.

Inherited property.   If you inherited property from someone who died before or after 2010, or from someone who died in 2010 and the executor of the decedent's estate did not elect to file Form 8939, your capital gain or loss on any later disposition of that property is treated as long-term gain or loss, regardless of how long you held the property. If you acquired the property from someone who died in 2010 and the executor made the election to file Form 8939, see Publication 4895 to determine your holding period.

Real property bought.   To figure how long you have held real property bought under an unconditional contract, begin counting on the day after you received title to it or on the day after you took possession of it and assumed the burdens and privileges of ownership, whichever happened first. However, taking delivery or possession of real property under an option agreement is not enough to start the holding period. The holding period cannot start until there is an actual contract of sale. The holding period of the seller cannot end before that time.

Real property repossessed.   If you sell real property but keep a security interest in it, and then later repossess the property under the terms of the sales contract, your holding period for a later sale includes the period you held the property before the original sale and the period after the repossession. Your holding period does not include the time between the original sale and the repossession. That is, it does not include the period during which the first buyer held the property.

Stock dividends.   The holding period for stock you received as a taxable stock dividend begins on the date of distribution.

  The holding period for new stock you received as a nontaxable stock dividend begins on the same day as the holding period of the old stock. This rule also applies to stock acquired in a spin-off, which is a distribution of stock or securities in a controlled corporation.

Nontaxable stock rights.   Your holding period for nontaxable stock rights includes the holding period of the underlying stock. The holding period for stock acquired through the exercise of stock rights begins on the date the right was exercised.

Section 1256 contracts.   Gains or losses on section 1256 contracts open at the end of the year, or terminated during the year, are treated as 60% long term and 40% short term, regardless of how long the contracts were held. See Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier.

Option exercised.   Your holding period for property you acquire when you exercise an option begins the day after you exercise the option.

Wash sales.   Your holding period for substantially identical stock or securities you acquire in a wash sale includes the period you held the old stock or securities.

Qualified small business stock.   Your holding period for stock you acquired in a tax-free rollover of gain from a sale of qualified small business stock, described later under Gains on Qualified Small Business Stock , includes the period you held the old stock.

Commodity futures.   Futures transactions in any commodity subject to the rules of a board of trade or commodity exchange are long term if the contract was held for more than 6 months.

  Your holding period for a commodity received in satisfaction of a commodity futures contract, other than a regulated futures contract subject to Internal Revenue Code section 1256, includes your holding period for the futures contract if you held the contract as a capital asset.

Securities futures contract.   Your holding period for a security received in satisfaction of a securities futures contract, other than one that is a section 1256 contract, includes your holding period for the futures contract if you held the contract as a capital asset.

  Your holding period for a security received in satisfaction of a securities futures contract to sell, other than one that is a section 1256 contract, is determined by the rules that apply to short sales, discussed later under Short Sales .

Loss on mutual fund or REIT stock held 6 months or less.   If you hold stock in a mutual fund (or other regulated investment company) or real estate investment trust (REIT) for 6 months or less and then sell it at a loss (other than under a periodic liquidation plan), special rules may apply.

Capital gain distributions received.   The loss (after reduction for any exempt-interest dividends you received, as explained later) is treated as a long-term capital loss up to the total of any capital gain distributions you received and your share of any undistributed capital gains. Any remaining loss is short-term capital loss.

Reinvested distributions.   If your dividends and capital gain distributions are reinvested in new shares, the holding period of each new share begins the day after that share was purchased. Therefore, if you sell both the new shares and the original shares, you might have both short-term and long-term gains and losses.

Example.

On April 3, 2013, you bought a mutual fund share for $20. On June 19, 2013, the mutual fund paid a capital gain distribution of $2 a share, which is taxed as a long-term capital gain. On July 17, 2013, you sold the share for $17.50. If it were not for the capital gain distribution, your loss would be a short-term loss of $2.50 ($20 − $17.50). However, the part of the loss that is not more than the capital gain distribution ($2) must be reported as a long-term capital loss. The remaining $0.50 of the loss can be reported as a short-term capital loss.

Exempt-interest dividends on mutual fund stock.   If you received exempt-interest dividends on the stock, at least part of your loss is disallowed. You can deduct only the amount of loss that is more than the exempt-interest dividends. Report the loss as a short-term capital loss. On Form 8949, Part I, line 1, column (d), increase the sales price by the amount of exempt-interest dividends, but do not increase it to more than the cost or other basis shown in column (e).

  
For more information on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040), see the Instructions for Form 8949 and the Instructions for Schedule D (Form 1040).

Example.

On January 9, 2013, you bought a mutual fund share for $40. On February 6, 2013, the mutual fund paid a $5 dividend from tax-exempt interest, which is not taxable to you. On February 13, 2013, you sold the share for $34. If it were not for the tax-exempt dividend, your loss would be $6 ($40 − $34). However, you must increase the sales price from $34 to $39 (to account for the $5 portion of the loss that is not deductible). You can deduct only $1 as a short-term capital loss.

Loss on stock that paid qualified dividends.   Any loss on the sale or trade of stock must be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent you received, from that stock, qualified dividends (defined in chapter 1) that are extraordinary dividends. This is true regardless of how long you actually held the stock. Generally, an extraordinary dividend is a dividend that equals or exceeds 10% (5% in the case of preferred stock) of your adjusted basis in the stock.

Nonbusiness Bad Debts

If someone owes you money that you cannot collect, you have a bad debt. You may be able to deduct the amount owed to you when you figure your tax for the year the debt becomes worthless.

There are two kinds of bad debts—business and nonbusiness. A business bad debt, generally, is one that comes from operating your trade or business and is deductible as a business loss. All other bad debts are nonbusiness bad debts and are deductible as short-term capital losses.

Example.

An architect made personal loans to several friends who were not clients. She could not collect on some of these loans. They are deductible only as nonbusiness bad debts because the architect was not in the business of lending money and the loans do not have any relationship to her business.

Business bad debts.   For information on business bad debts of an employee, see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. For information on other business bad debts, see chapter 10 of Publication 535.

Deductible nonbusiness bad debts.   To be deductible, nonbusiness bad debts must be totally worthless. You cannot deduct a partly worthless nonbusiness debt.

Genuine debt required.   A debt must be genuine for you to deduct a loss. A debt is genuine if it arises from a debtor-creditor relationship based on a valid and enforceable obligation to repay a fixed or determinable sum of money.

Loan or gift.   For a bad debt, you must show there was an intention at the time of the transaction to make a loan and not a gift. If you lend money to a relative or friend with the understanding that it may not be repaid, it is considered a gift and not a loan. You cannot take a bad debt deduction for a gift. There cannot be a bad debt unless there is a true creditor-debtor relationship between you and the person or organization that owes you the money.

  When minor children borrow from their parents to pay for their basic needs, there is no genuine debt. A bad debt cannot be deducted for such a loan.

Basis in bad debt required.   To deduct a bad debt, you must have a basis in it—that is, you must have already included the amount in your income or loaned out your cash. For example, you cannot claim a bad debt deduction for court-ordered child support not paid to you by your former spouse. If you are a cash method taxpayer (most individuals are), you generally cannot take a bad debt deduction for unpaid salaries, wages, rents, fees, interest, dividends, and similar items.

When deductible.   You can take a bad debt deduction only in the year the debt becomes worthless. You do not have to wait until a debt is due to determine whether it is worthless. A debt becomes worthless when there is no longer any chance that the amount owed will be paid.

  It is not necessary to go to court if you can show that a judgment from the court would be uncollectible. You must only show that you have taken reasonable steps to collect the debt. Bankruptcy of your debtor is generally good evidence of the worthlessness of at least a part of an unsecured and unpreferred debt.

  If your bad debt is the loss of a deposit in a financial institution, see Deposit in Insolvent or Bankrupt Financial Institution , earlier.

Filing a claim for refund.   If you do not deduct a bad debt on your original return for the year it becomes worthless, you can file a claim for a credit or refund due to the bad debt. To do this, use Form 1040X to amend your return for the year the debt became worthless. You must file it within 7 years from the date your original return for that year had to be filed, or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. (Claims not due to bad debts or worthless securities generally must be filed within 3 years from the date a return is filed, or 2 years from the date the tax is paid, whichever is later.) For more information about filing a claim, see Publication 556.

Loan guarantees.   If you guarantee a debt that becomes worthless, you cannot take a bad debt deduction for your payments on the debt unless you can show either that your reason for making the guarantee was to protect your investment or that you entered the guarantee transaction with a profit motive. If you make the guarantee as a favor to friends and do not receive any consideration in return, your payments are considered a gift and you cannot take a deduction.

Example 1.

Henry Lloyd, an officer and principal shareholder of the Spruce Corporation, guaranteed payment of a bank loan the corporation received. The corporation defaulted on the loan and Henry made full payment. Because he guaranteed the loan to protect his investment in the corporation, Henry can take a nonbusiness bad debt deduction.

Example 2.

Milt and John are co-workers. Milt, as a favor to John, guarantees a note at their local credit union. John does not pay the note and declares bankruptcy. Milt pays off the note. However, since he did not enter into the guarantee agreement to protect an investment or to make a profit, Milt cannot take a bad debt deduction.

Deductible in year paid.   Unless you have rights against the borrower, discussed next, a payment you make on a loan you guaranteed is deductible in the year you make the payment.

Rights against the borrower.   When you make payment on a loan you guaranteed, you may have the right to take the place of the lender (the right of subrogation). The debt is then owed to you. If you have this right or some other right to demand payment from the borrower, you cannot take a bad debt deduction until these rights become totally worthless.

Debts owed by political parties.   You cannot take a nonbusiness bad debt deduction for any worthless debt owed to you by:
  • A political party;

  • A national, state, or local committee of a political party; or

  • A committee, association, or organization that either accepts contributions or spends money to influence elections.

Mechanics' and suppliers' liens.   Workers and material suppliers may file liens against property because of debts owed by a builder or contractor. If you pay off the lien to avoid foreclosure and loss of your property, you are entitled to repayment from the builder or contractor. If the debt is uncollectible, you can take a bad debt deduction.

Insolvency of contractor.   You can take a bad debt deduction for the amount you deposit with a contractor if the contractor becomes insolvent and you are unable to recover your deposit. If the deposit is for work unrelated to your trade or business, it is a nonbusiness bad debt deduction.

Secondary liability on home mortgage.   If the buyer of your home assumes your mortgage, you may remain secondarily liable for repayment of the mortgage loan. If the buyer defaults on the loan and the house is then sold for less than the amount outstanding on the mortgage, you may have to make up the difference. You can take a bad debt deduction for the amount you pay to satisfy the mortgage, if you cannot collect it from the buyer.

Worthless securities.   If you own securities that become totally worthless, you can take a deduction for a loss, but not for a bad debt. See Worthless Securities under What Is a Sale or Trade, earlier in this chapter.

Recovery of a bad debt.   If you deducted a bad debt and in a later tax year you recover (collect) all or part of it, you may have to include the amount you recover in your gross income. However, you can exclude from gross income the amount recovered up to the amount of the deduction that did not reduce your tax in the year deducted. See Recoveries in Publication 525.

How to report bad debts.   Deduct nonbusiness bad debts as short-term capital losses on Form 8949.

  On Form 8949, Part I, line 1, enter the name of the debtor and “bad debt statement attached” in column (a). Enter your basis in the bad debt in column (e) and enter zero in column (d). Use a separate line for each bad debt.

  
Make sure you report your bad debt(s) (and any other short-term transactions for which you did not receive a Form 1099-B or substitute statement) on Form 8949 with box C checked.

  For each bad debt, attach a statement to your return that contains:
  • A description of the debt, including the amount, and the date it became due;

  • The name of the debtor, and any business or family relationship between you and the debtor;

  • The efforts you made to collect the debt; and

  • Why you decided the debt was worthless. For example, you could show that the borrower has declared bankruptcy, or that legal action to collect would probably not result in payment of any part of the debt.

Short Sales

A short sale occurs when you agree to sell property you do not own (or own but do not wish to sell). You make this type of sale in two steps.

  • You sell short. You borrow property and deliver it to a buyer.

  • You close the sale. At a later date, you either buy substantially identical property and deliver it to the lender or make delivery out of property you held at the time of the sale. Delivery of property borrowed from another lender does not satisfy this requirement.

 
You do not realize gain or loss until delivery of property to close the short sale. You will have a capital gain or loss if the property used to close the short sale is a capital asset.

The Instructions for Form 1099-B discuss when you should receive a Form 1099-B for short sales. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 1099-B.

Reporting a short sale.   Report any short sale on Form 8949 in the year it closes. If a short sale closed in 2013 but you did not get a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) for it because you entered into it before 2011, report it on a Form 8949 in Part I or Part II (whichever applies). In column (a), enter (for example) “100 sh. XYZ Co. — 2010 short sale closed.” Fill in the other columns according to their instructions. Report the short sale the same way if you received a 2013 Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) that does not show proceeds (sales price).

Exception if property becomes worthless.   A different rule applies if the property sold short becomes substantially worthless. In that case, you must recognize gain as if the short sale were closed when the property became substantially worthless.

Exception for constructive sales.   Entering into a short sale may cause you to be treated as having made a constructive sale of property. In that case, you will have to recognize gain on the date of the constructive sale. For details, see Constructive Sales of Appreciated Financial Positions, earlier.

Example.

On May 7, 2013, you bought 100 shares of Baker Corporation stock for $1,000. On September 10, 2013, you sold short 100 shares of similar Baker stock for $1,600. You made no other transactions involving Baker stock for the rest of 2013 and the first 30 days of 2014. Your short sale is treated as a constructive sale of an appreciated financial position because a sale of your Baker stock on the date of the short sale would have resulted in a gain. You recognize a $600 short-term capital gain from the constructive sale and your new holding period in the Baker stock begins on September 10.

Short-Term or Long-Term Capital Gain or Loss

As a general rule, you determine whether you have short-term or long-term capital gain or loss on a short sale by the amount of time you actually hold the property eventually delivered to the lender to close the short sale.

Example.

Even though you do not own any stock of Ace Corporation, you contract to sell 100 shares of it, which you borrow from your broker. After 13 months, when the price of the stock has risen, you buy 100 shares of Ace Corporation stock and immediately deliver them to your broker to close out the short sale. Your loss is a short-term capital loss because your holding period for the delivered property is less than 1 day.

Special rules.   Special rules may apply to gains and losses from short sales of stocks, securities, and commodity and securities futures (other than certain straddles) if you held or acquired property substantially identical to property that sold short. But if the amount of property you sold short is more than the amount of that substantially identical property, the special rules do not apply to the gain or loss on the excess.

Gains and holding period.   If you held the substantially identical property for 1 year or less on the date of the short sale, or if you acquired the substantially identical property after the short sale and by the date of closing the short sale, then:

Rule 1. Your gain, if any, when you close the short sale is a short-term capital gain, and

Rule 2. The holding period of the substantially identical property begins on the date of the closing of the short sale or on the date of the sale of this property, whichever comes first.

Losses.   If, on the date of the short sale, you held substantially identical property for more than 1 year, any loss you realize on the short sale is a long-term capital loss, even if you held the property used to close the sale for 1 year or less. Certain losses on short sales of stock or securities are also subject to wash sale treatment. For information, see Wash Sales , later.

Mixed straddles.   Under certain elections, you can avoid the treatment of loss from a short sale as long term under the special rule. These elections are for positions that are part of a mixed straddle. See Other elections under Mixed Straddle Elections, later, for more information about these elections.

Reporting Substitute Payments

If any broker transferred your securities for use in a short sale or similar transaction and received certain substitute dividend payments on your behalf while the short sale was open, that broker must give you a Form 1099-MISC or a similar statement reporting the amount of these payments. Form 1099-MISC must be used for those substitute payments totaling $10 or more that are known on the payment's record date to be in lieu of an exempt-interest dividend, a capital gain dividend, a return of capital distribution, or a dividend subject to a foreign tax credit, or that are in lieu of tax-exempt interest. Do not treat these substitute payments as dividends or interest. Instead, report the substitute payments shown on Form 1099-MISC as “Other income” on line 21 of Form 1040.

Substitute payment.   A substitute payment means a payment in lieu of:
  • Tax-exempt interest (including OID) accrued while the short sale was open, and

  • A dividend, if the ex-dividend date is after the transfer of stock for use in a short sale and before the closing of the short sale.

Payments in lieu of dividends.   If you borrow stock to make a short sale, you may have to remit to the lender payments in lieu of the dividends distributed while you maintain your short position. You can deduct these payments only if you hold the short sale open at least 46 days (more than 1 year in the case of an extraordinary dividend as defined later) and you itemize your deductions.

  You deduct these payments as investment interest on Schedule A (Form 1040). See Interest Expenses in chapter 3 for more information.

  If you close the short sale by the 45th day after the date of the short sale (1 year or less in the case of an extraordinary dividend), you cannot deduct the payment in lieu of the dividend you make to the lender. Instead, you must increase the basis of the stock used to close the short sale by that amount.

  To determine how long a short sale is kept open, do not include any period during which you hold, have an option to buy, or are under a contractual obligation to buy substantially identical stock or securities.

  If your payment is made for a liquidating distribution or nontaxable stock distribution, or if you buy more shares equal to a stock distribution issued on the borrowed stock during your short position, you have a capital expense. You must add the payment to the cost of the stock sold short.

Exception.   If you close the short sale within 45 days, the deduction for amounts you pay in lieu of dividends will be disallowed only to the extent the payments are more than the amount you receive as ordinary income from the lender of the stock for the use of collateral with the short sale. This exception does not apply to payments in place of extraordinary dividends.

Extraordinary dividends.   If the amount of any dividend you receive on a share of preferred stock equals or exceeds 5% (10% in the case of other stock) of the amount realized on the short sale, the dividend you receive is an extraordinary dividend.

Wash Sales

You cannot deduct losses from sales or trades of stock or securities in a wash sale unless the loss was incurred in the ordinary course of your business as a dealer in stock or securities.

A wash sale occurs when you sell or trade stock or securities at a loss and within 30 days before or after the sale you:

  1. Buy substantially identical stock or securities,

  2. Acquire substantially identical stock or securities in a fully taxable trade,

  3. Acquire a contract or option to buy substantially identical stock or securities, or

  4. Acquire substantially identical stock for your individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA.

 
If you sell stock and your spouse or a corporation you control buys substantially identical stock, you also have a wash sale.

If your loss was disallowed because of the wash sale rules, add the disallowed loss to the cost of the new stock or securities (except in (4) above). The result is your basis in the new stock or securities. This adjustment postpones the loss deduction until the disposition of the new stock or securities. Your holding period for the new stock or securities includes the holding period of the stock or securities sold.

Example 1.

You buy 100 shares of X stock for $1,000. You sell these shares for $750 and within 30 days from the sale you buy 100 shares of the same stock for $800. Because you bought substantially identical stock, you cannot deduct your loss of $250 on the sale. However, you add the disallowed loss of $250 to the cost of the new stock, $800, to obtain your basis in the new stock, which is $1,050.

Example 2.

You are an employee of a corporation with an incentive pay plan. Under this plan, you are given 10 shares of the corporation's stock as a bonus award. You include the fair market value of the stock in your gross income as additional pay. You later sell these shares at a loss. If you receive another bonus award of substantially identical stock within 30 days of the sale, you cannot deduct your loss on the sale.

Options and futures contracts.   The wash sale rules apply to losses from sales or trades of contracts and options to acquire or sell stock or securities. They do not apply to losses from sales or trades of commodity futures contracts and foreign currencies. See Coordination of Loss Deferral Rules and Wash Sale Rules under Straddles, later, for information about the tax treatment of losses on the disposition of positions in a straddle.

Securities futures contract to sell.   Losses from the sale, exchange, or termination of a securities futures contract to sell generally are treated in the same manner as losses from the closing of a short sale, discussed later in this section under Short sales.

Warrants.   The wash sale rules apply if you sell common stock at a loss and, at the same time, buy warrants for common stock of the same corporation. But if you sell warrants at a loss and, at the same time, buy common stock in the same corporation, the wash sale rules apply only if the warrants and stock are considered substantially identical, as discussed next.

Substantially identical.   In determining whether stock or securities are substantially identical, you must consider all the facts and circumstances in your particular case. Ordinarily, stocks or securities of one corporation are not considered substantially identical to stocks or securities of another corporation. However, they may be substantially identical in some cases. For example, in a reorganization, the stocks and securities of the predecessor and successor corporations may be substantially identical.

  Similarly, bonds or preferred stock of a corporation are not ordinarily considered substantially identical to the common stock of the same corporation. However, where the bonds or preferred stock are convertible into common stock of the same corporation, the relative values, price changes, and other circumstances may make these bonds or preferred stock and the common stock substantially identical. For example, preferred stock is substantially identical to the common stock if the preferred stock:
  • Is convertible into common stock,

  • Has the same voting rights as the common stock,

  • Is subject to the same dividend restrictions,

  • Trades at prices that do not vary significantly from the conversion ratio, and

  • Is unrestricted as to convertibility.

More or less stock bought than sold.   If the number of shares of substantially identical stock or securities you buy within 30 days before or after the sale is either more or less than the number of shares you sold, you must determine the particular shares to which the wash sale rules apply. You do this by matching the shares bought with an equal number of the shares sold. Match the shares bought in the same order that you bought them, beginning with the first shares bought. The shares or securities so matched are subject to the wash sale rules.

Example 1.

You bought 100 shares of M stock on September 26, 2012, for $5,000. On December 19, 2012, you bought 50 shares of substantially identical stock for $2,750. On December 27, 2012, you bought 25 shares of substantially identical stock for $1,125. On January 9, 2013, you sold for $4,000 the 100 shares you bought in September. You have a $1,000 loss on the sale. However, because you bought 75 shares of substantially identical stock within 30 days before the sale, you cannot deduct the loss ($750) on 75 shares. You can deduct the loss ($250) on the other 25 shares. The basis of the 50 shares bought on December 19, 2012, is increased by two-thirds (50 ÷ 75) of the $750 disallowed loss. The new basis of those shares is $3,250 ($2,750 + $500). The basis of the 25 shares bought on December 27, 2012, is increased by the rest of the loss to $1,375 ($1,125 + $250).

Example 2.

You bought 100 shares of M stock on September 26, 2012. On February 6, 2013, you sold those shares at a $1,000 loss. On each of the 4 days from February 11, 2013, to February 14, 2013, you bought 50 shares of substantially identical stock. You cannot deduct your $1,000 loss. You must add half the disallowed loss ($500) to the basis of the 50 shares bought on February 11. Add the other half ($500) to the basis of the shares bought on February 12.

Loss and gain on same day.   Loss from a wash sale of one block of stock or securities cannot be used to reduce any gains on identical blocks sold the same day.

Example.

During 2007, you bought 100 shares of X stock on each of three occasions. You paid $158 a share for the first block of 100 shares, $100 a share for the second block, and $95 a share for the third block. On December 27, 2012, you sold 300 shares of X stock for $125 a share. On January 9, 2013, you bought 250 shares of identical X stock. You cannot deduct the loss of $33 a share on the first block because within 30 days after the date of sale you bought 250 identical shares of X stock. In addition, you cannot reduce the gain realized on the sale of the second and third blocks of stock by this loss.

Dealers.   The wash sale rules do not apply to a dealer in stock or securities if the loss is from a transaction made in the ordinary course of business.

Short sales.   The wash sale rules apply to a loss realized on a short sale if you sell, or enter into another short sale of, substantially identical stock or securities within a period beginning 30 days before the date the short sale is complete and ending 30 days after that date.

  For purposes of the wash sale rules, a short sale is considered complete on the date the short sale is entered into, if:
  • On that date, you own stock or securities identical to those sold short (or by that date you enter into a contract or option to acquire that stock or those securities), and

  • You later deliver the stock or securities to close the short sale.

  Otherwise, a short sale is not considered complete until the property is delivered to close the sale.

  This treatment also applies to losses from the sale, exchange, or termination of a securities futures contract to sell.

Example.

On June 4, you buy 100 shares of stock for $1,000. You sell short 100 shares of the stock for $750 on October 15. On October 16, you buy 100 shares of the same stock for $750. You close the short sale on November 19 by delivering the shares bought on June 4. You cannot deduct the $250 loss ($1,000 − $750) because the date of entering into the short sale (October 15) is considered the date the sale is complete for wash sale purposes and you bought substantially identical stock within 30 days from that date.

Residual interests in a REMIC.   The wash sale rules generally will apply to the sale of your residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC) if, during the period beginning 6 months before the sale of the interest and ending 6 months after that sale, you acquire any residual interest in any REMIC or any interest in a taxable mortgage pool that is comparable to a residual interest. REMICs are discussed in chapter 1.

Nondeductible wash sale loss.   If you received a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement), box 5 of that form will show any nondeductible wash sale loss if:
  • The stock or securities sold were covered securities, and

  • The substantially identical stock or securities you bought had the same CUSIP numbers as the stock or securities you sold and were bought in the same account as the stock or securities you sold.

  However, you cannot deduct a loss from a wash sale even if it is not reported on Form 1099-B (or substitute statement).

How to report.   Report a wash sale transaction in Part I or Part II of Form 8949 with the appropriate box checked. Complete all columns. Enter “W” in column (f). Enter as a positive number in column (g) the amount of the loss not allowed. See the Instructions for Form 8949.

Securities Futures Contracts

A securities futures contract is a contract of sale for future delivery of a single security or of a narrow-based security index.

Gain or loss from the contract generally will be treated in a manner similar to gain or loss from transactions in the underlying security. This means gain or loss from the sale, exchange, or termination of the contract will generally have the same character as gain or loss from transactions in the property to which the contract relates. Any capital gain or loss on a sale, exchange, or termination of a contract to sell property will be considered short term, regardless of how long you hold the contract. These contracts are not section 1256 contracts (unless they are dealer securities futures contracts).

Options

Options are generally subject to the rules described in this section. If the option is part of a straddle, the loss deferral rules covered later under Straddles may also apply. For special rules that apply to nonequity options and dealer equity options, see Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier.

Gain or loss from the sale or trade of an option to buy or sell property that is a capital asset in your hands, or would be if you acquired it, is capital gain or loss. If the property is not or would not be a capital asset, the gain or loss is ordinary gain or loss.

Example 1.

You purchased an option to buy 100 shares of XYZ Company stock. The stock increases in value, and you sell the option for more than you paid for it. Your gain is capital gain because the stock underlying the option would have been a capital asset in your hands.

Example 2.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except the stock decreases in value and you sell the option for less than you paid for it. Your loss is a capital loss.

Option not exercised.   If you have a loss because you did not exercise an option to buy or sell, you are considered to have sold or traded the option on the date it expired.

Writer of option.   If you write (grant) an option, how you report your gain or loss depends on whether it was exercised.

  If you are not in the business of writing options and an option you write on stocks, securities, commodities, or commodity futures is not exercised (or repurchased), the amount you receive is a short-term capital gain.

If an option requiring you to buy or sell property is exercised, see Writers of puts and calls , later.

Section 1256 contract options.   Gain or loss is recognized on the exercise of an option on a section 1256 contract. Section 1256 contracts are defined under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier.

Cash settlement option.   A cash settlement option is treated as an option to buy or sell property. A cash settlement option is any option that on exercise is settled in, or could be settled in, cash or property other than the underlying property.

How to report.   Report on Form 8949 gain or loss from the closing or expiration of an option that is not a section 1256 contract but is a capital asset in your hands. If an option you purchased expired, enter the expiration date in column (c) and enter “Expired” in column (d). If an option that was granted (written) expired, enter the expiration date in column (b) and enter “Expired” in column (e). Fill in the other columns as appropriate.

  If a call option you sold was exercised and the option premium you received was not reflected in the sales price shown on the Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) you received, enter the premium as a positive number in column (g) of Form 8949 and enter “E” in column (f).

Puts and Calls

Puts and calls are options on securities and are covered by the rules just discussed for options. The following are specific applications of these rules to holders and writers of options that are bought, sold, or “closed out” in transactions on a national securities exchange, such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange. (But see Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier, for special rules that may apply to nonequity options and dealer equity options.) These rules are also presented in Table 4-3.

Puts and calls are issued by writers (grantors) to holders for cash premiums. They are ended by exercise, closing transaction, or lapse.

A “put option” is the right to sell to the writer, at any time before a specified future date, a stated number of shares at a specified price. Conversely, a “call option” is the right to buy from the writer of the option, at any time before a specified future date, a stated number of shares of stock at a specified price.

Holders of puts and calls.   If you buy a put or a call, you may not deduct its cost. It is a capital expenditure.

  If you sell the put or the call before you exercise it, the difference between its cost and the amount you receive for it is either a long-term or short-term capital gain or loss, depending on how long you held it.

  If the option expires, its cost is either a long-term or short-term capital loss, depending on your holding period, which ends on the expiration date.

  If you exercise a call, add its cost to the basis of the stock you bought. If you exercise a put, reduce your amount realized on the sale of the underlying stock by the cost of the put when figuring your gain or loss. Any gain or loss on the sale of the underlying stock is long term or short term depending on your holding period for the underlying stock.

Put option as short sale.   Buying a put option is generally treated as a short sale, and the exercise, sale, or expiration of the put is a closing of the short sale. See Short Sales , earlier. If you have held the underlying stock for 1 year or less at the time you buy the put, any gain on the exercise, sale, or expiration of the put is a short-term capital gain. The same is true if you buy the underlying stock after you buy the put but before its exercise, sale, or expiration. Your holding period for the underlying stock begins on the earliest of:
  • The date you dispose of the stock,

  • The date you exercise the put,

  • The date you sell the put, or

  • The date the put expires.

Writers of puts and calls.   If you write (grant) a put or a call, do not include the amount you receive for writing it in your income at the time of receipt. Carry it in a deferred account until:
  • Your obligation expires;

  • You buy, in the case of a put, or sell, in the case of a call, the underlying stock when the option is exercised; or

  • You engage in a closing transaction.

  If your obligation expires, the amount you received for writing the call or put is short-term capital gain.

  If a put you write is exercised and you buy the underlying stock, decrease your basis in the stock by the amount you received for the put. Your holding period for the stock begins on the date you buy it, not on the date you wrote the put.

  If a call you write is exercised and you sell the underlying stock, increase your amount realized on the sale of the stock by the amount you received for the call when figuring your gain or loss. The gain or loss is long term or short term depending on your holding period of the stock.

  If you enter into a closing transaction by paying an amount equal to the value of the put or call at the time of the payment, the difference between the amount you pay and the amount you receive for the put or call is a short-term capital gain or loss.

Examples of non-dealer transactions.   
  1. Expiration. Ten JJJ call options were issued on April 9, 2013, for $4,000. These equity options expired in December 2013, without being exercised. If you were a holder (buyer) of the options, you would recognize a short-term capital loss of $4,000. If you were a writer of the options, you would recognize a short-term capital gain of $4,000.

  2. Closing transaction. The facts are the same as in (1), except that on May 8, 2013, the options were sold for $6,000. If you were the holder of the options who sold them, you would recognize a short-term capital gain of $2,000. If you were the writer of the options and you bought them back, you would recognize a short-term capital loss of $2,000.

  3. Exercise. The facts are the same as in (1), except that the options were exercised on May 22, 2013. The buyer adds the cost of the options to the basis of the stock bought through the exercise of the options. The writer adds the amount received from writing the options to the amount realized from selling the stock to figure gain or loss. The gain or loss is short term or long term depending upon the holding period of the stock.

  4. Section 1256 contracts. The facts are the same as in (1), except the options were nonequity options, subject to the rules for section 1256 contracts. If you were a buyer of the options, you would recognize a short-term capital loss of $1,600, and a long-term capital loss of $2,400. If you were a writer of the options, you would recognize a short-term capital gain of $1,600, and a long-term capital gain of $2,400. See Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier, for more information.

Table 4-3. Puts and Calls

Puts
When a put: If you are the holder: If you are the writer:
Is exercised Reduce your amount realized from sale of the underlying stock by the cost of the put. Reduce your basis in the stock you buy by the amount you received for the put.
Expires Report the cost of the put as a capital loss on the date it expires.* Report the amount you received for the put as a short-term capital gain.
Is sold by the holder Report the difference between the cost of the put and the amount you receive for it as a capital gain or loss.* This does not affect you. (But if you buy back the put, report the difference between the amount you pay and the amount you received for the put as a short-term capital gain or loss.)
Calls
When a call: If you are the holder: If you are the writer:
Is exercised Add the cost of the call to your basis in the stock purchased. Increase your amount realized on sale of the stock by the amount you received for the call.
Expires Report the cost of the call as a capital loss on the date it expires.* Report the amount you received for the call as a short-term capital gain.
Is sold by the holder Report the difference between the cost of the call and the amount you receive for it as a capital gain or loss.* This does not affect you. (But if you buy back the call, report the difference between the amount you pay and the amount you received for the call as a short-term capital gain or loss.)
*See Holders of puts and calls and Writers of puts and calls in the accompanying text to find whether your gain or loss is short term or long term.

Straddles

This section discusses the loss deferral rules that apply to the sale or other disposition of positions in a straddle. These rules do not apply to the straddles described under Exceptions , later.

A straddle is any set of offsetting positions on personal property. For example, a straddle may consist of a purchased option to buy and a purchased option to sell on the same number of shares of the security, with the same exercise price and period.

Personal property.   This is any actively traded property. It includes stock options and contracts to buy stock but generally does not include stock.

Straddle rules for stock.   Although stock is generally excluded from the definition of personal property when applying the straddle rules, it is included in the following two situations.
  1. The stock is of a type which is actively traded, and at least one of the offsetting positions is a position on that stock or substantially similar or related property.

  2. The stock is in a corporation formed or availed of to take positions in personal property that offset positions taken by any shareholder.

Note.

For positions established before October 22, 2004, condition (1) earlier does not apply. Instead, personal property includes stock if condition (2) above applies or the stock was part of a straddle in which at least one of the offsetting positions was:

  • An option to buy or sell the stock or substantially identical stock or securities,

  • A securities futures contract on the stock or substantially identical stock or securities, or

  • A position on substantially similar or related property (other than stock).

Position.   A position is an interest in personal property. A position can be a forward or futures contract or an option.

  An interest in a loan denominated in a foreign currency is treated as a position in that currency. For the straddle rules, foreign currency for which there is an active interbank market is considered to be actively-traded personal property. See also Foreign currency contract under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market, earlier.

Offsetting position.   This is a position that substantially reduces any risk of loss you may have from holding another position. However, if a position is part of a straddle that is not an identified straddle (described later), do not treat it as offsetting to a position that is part of an identified straddle.

Presumed offsetting positions.   Two or more positions will be presumed to be offsetting if:
  • The positions are established in the same personal property (or in a contract for this property), and the value of one or more positions varies inversely with the value of one or more of the other positions;

  • The positions are in the same personal property, even if this property is in a substantially changed form, and the positions' values vary inversely as described in the first condition;

  • The positions are in debt instruments with a similar maturity, and the positions' values vary inversely as described in the first condition;

  • The positions are sold or marketed as offsetting positions, whether or not the positions are called a straddle, spread, butterfly, or any similar name; or

  • The aggregate margin requirement for the positions is lower than the sum of the margin requirements for each position if held separately.

Related persons.   To determine if two or more positions are offsetting, you will be treated as holding any position your spouse holds during the same period. If you take into account part or all of the gain or loss for a position held by a flowthrough entity, such as a partnership or trust, you are also considered to hold that position.

Loss Deferral Rules

Generally, you can deduct a loss on the disposition of one or more positions only to the extent the loss is more than any unrecognized gain you have on offsetting positions. Unused losses are treated as sustained in the next tax year.

Unrecognized gain.   This is:
  • The amount of gain you would have had on an open position if you had sold it on the last business day of the tax year at its fair market value, and

  • The amount of gain realized on a position if, as of the end of the tax year, gain has been realized but not recognized.

Example.

On July 9, 2013, you entered into a straddle. On December 10, 2013, you closed one position of the straddle at a loss of $15,000. On December 31, 2013, the end of your tax year, you have an unrecognized gain of $12,750 in the offsetting open position. On your 2013 return, your deductible loss on the position you closed is limited to $2,250 ($15,000 − $12,750). You must carry forward the unused loss of $12,750.

Note.

If you physically settle a position established after October 21, 2004, that is part of a straddle by delivering property to which the position relates (and you would realize a loss on that position if you terminated it), you are treated as having terminated the position for its fair market value immediately before the settlement and as having sold the property used to physically settle the position at its fair market value.

Exceptions.   The loss deferral rules do not apply to:
  1. Positions established after October 21, 2004, comprising an identified straddle,

  2. Certain straddles consisting of qualified covered call options and the stock to be purchased under the options,

  3. Hedging transactions , described earlier under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market, and

  4. Straddles consisting entirely of section 1256 contracts, as described earlier under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market (but see Identified straddle , later).

Note.

For positions established before October 22, 2004, the loss deferral rules also do not apply to a straddle that is an identified straddle at the end of the tax year.

Identified straddle.   Any straddle (other than a straddle described in (2) or (3) above) is an identified straddle if all the following conditions exist.
  • You clearly identified the straddle on your records before the close of the day on which you acquired it.

  • For straddles acquired after December 29, 2007, you identified the positions in the straddle that are offsetting with respect to one another (for example, position A offsets position D, and position B offsets position C).

  • The straddle is not part of a larger straddle.

  If there is a loss from any position in an identified straddle, you must increase the basis of each of the positions that offset the loss position in the identified straddle. The increase is the loss multiplied by the following fraction:
  Unrecognized gain (if any) on the offsetting position  
  The total unrecognized gain on all positions that offset the loss position in the identified straddle  

  For this purpose, your unrecognized gain is the excess of the fair market value of the position that is part of an identified straddle at the time you incur a loss on another position in the identified straddle, over the fair market value of that position when you identified it as a position in the straddle.

  If the application of the above rule does not result in the increase in basis of any offsetting position in the identified straddle, you must increase the basis of each of the offsetting positions in the straddle in a manner that:
  • Is reasonable,

  • Is consistently applied by you,

  • Is consistent with the purposes of the identified straddle rules, and

  • Results in a total increase in the basis of those offsetting positions equal to the loss.

  If you adopt an allocation method under this rule, you must describe that method in your books and records.

  The identified straddle rules also apply to positions that are or have been a liability or obligation to you (for example, a debt obligation you issued, a written option, or a notional principal contract you entered into).

  Neither you nor anyone else can take into account any loss on a position that is part of an identified straddle to the extent the loss increases the basis of any positions that offset the loss position in the identified straddle.

Note.

For positions established before October 22, 2004, identified straddles have to meet two additional conditions.

  1. All the original positions that you identify were acquired on the same day.

  2. All the positions included in item (1) were disposed of on the same day during the tax year, or none of the positions were disposed of by the end of the tax year.

Also, the losses from positions are deferred until you dispose of all the positions in the straddle. The rule discussed above for increasing the basis of each of the positions does not apply.

Qualified covered call options and optioned stock.   A straddle is not subject to the loss deferral rules for straddles if both of the following are true.
  • All the offsetting positions consist of one or more qualified covered call options and the stock to be purchased from you under the options.

  • The straddle is not part of a larger straddle.

 
But see Special year-end rule , later, for an exception.

  A qualified covered call option is any option you grant to purchase stock you hold (or stock you acquire in connection with granting the option), but only if all the following are true.
  • The option is traded on a national securities exchange or other market approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.

  • The option is granted more than 30 days before its expiration date.

    For covered call options entered into after July 28, 2002, the option is granted not more than 12 months before its expiration date or satisfies term limitation and qualified benchmark requirements published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

  • The option is not a deep-in-the-money option.

  • You are not an options dealer who granted the option in connection with your activity of dealing in options.

  • Gain or loss on the option is capital gain or loss.

   A deep-in-the-money option is an option with a strike price lower than the lowest qualified benchmark (LQB). The strike price is the price at which the option is to be exercised. Strike prices are listed in the financial section of many newspapers. The LQB is the highest available strike price that is less than the applicable stock price. However, the LQB for an option with a term of more than 90 days and a strike price of more than $50 is the second highest available strike price that is less than the applicable stock price.

  The availability of strike prices for equity options with flexible terms does not affect the determination of the LQB for an option that is not an equity option with flexible terms.

  The applicable stock price for any stock for which an option has been granted is:
  1. The closing price of the stock on the most recent day on which that stock was traded before the date on which the option was granted; or

  2. The opening price of the stock on the day on which the option was granted, but only if that price is greater than 110% of the price determined in (1).

  If the applicable stock price is $25 or less, the LQB will be treated as not less than 85% of the applicable stock price. If the applicable stock price is $150 or less, the LQB will be treated as not less than an amount that is $10 below the applicable stock price.

Example.

On May 15, 2013, you held XYZ stock and you wrote an XYZ/September call option with a strike price of $120. The closing price of one share of XYZ stock on May 14, 2013, was $130.25. The strike prices of all XYZ/September call options offered on May 15, 2013, were as follows: $110, $115, $120, $125, $130, and $135. Because the option has a term of more than 90 days, the LQB is $125, the second highest strike price that is less than $130.25, the applicable stock price. The call option is a deep-in-the-money option because its strike price is lower than the LQB. As a result, the option is not a qualified covered call option, and the loss deferral rules apply if you closed out the option or the stock at a loss during the year.

Capital loss on qualified covered call options.   If you hold stock and you write a qualified covered call option on that stock with a strike price less than the applicable stock price, treat any loss from the option as long-term capital loss if, at the time the loss was realized, gain on the sale or exchange of the stock would be treated as long-term capital gain. The holding period of the stock does not include any period during which you are the writer of the option.

Special year-end rule.   The loss deferral rules for straddles apply if all the following are true.
  • The qualified covered call options are closed, or the stock is disposed of at a loss during any tax year.

  • Gain on disposition of the stock or gain on the options is includible in gross income in a later tax year.

  • The stock or options were held less than 30 days after the closing of the options or the disposition of the stock.

How To Report Gains and Losses (Form 6781)

As a general rule, report each position (whether or not it is part of a straddle) on which you have unrecognized gain at the end of the tax year and the amount of this unrecognized gain in Part III of Form 6781. Use Part II of Form 6781 to figure your gains and losses on straddles. See the Form 6781 instructions for how to report these gains and losses.

Coordination of Loss Deferral Rules and Wash Sale Rules

Rules similar to the wash sale rules apply to any disposition of a position or positions of a straddle. First apply Rule 1, explained next, then apply Rule 2. However, Rule 1 applies only if stocks or securities make up a position that is part of the straddle. If a position in the straddle does not include stock or securities, use Rule 2.

Rule 1.   You cannot deduct a loss on the disposition of shares of stock or securities that make up the positions of a straddle if, within a period beginning 30 days before the date of that disposition and ending 30 days after that date, you acquired substantially identical stock or securities. Instead, the loss will be carried over to the following tax year, subject to any further application of Rule 1 in that year. This rule will also apply if you entered into a contract or option to acquire the stock or securities within the time period described above. See Loss carryover , later, for more information about how to treat the loss in the following tax year.

Dealers.   If you are a dealer in stock or securities, this loss treatment will not apply to any losses you sustained in the ordinary course of your business.

Example.

You are not a dealer in stock or securities. On December 3, 2013, you bought stock in XX Corporation (XX stock) and an offsetting put option. On December 10, 2013, there was $20 of unrealized gain in the put option and you sold the XX stock at a $20 loss. By December 17, 2013, the value of the put option had declined, eliminating all unrealized gain in the position. On December 17, you bought a second XX stock position that is substantially identical to the XX stock you sold on December 10. At the end of the year, there is no unrecognized gain in the put option or in the XX stock. Under these circumstances, the $20 loss will be disallowed for 2013 under Rule 1 because, within a period beginning 30 days before December 10, and ending 30 days after that date, you bought stock substantially identical to the XX stock you sold.

Rule 2.   You cannot deduct a loss on the disposition of less than all the positions of a straddle (your loss position) to the extent that any unrecognized gain at the close of the tax year in one or more of the following positions is more than any loss disallowed under Rule 1.
  • Successor positions.

  • Offsetting positions to the loss position.

  • Offsetting positions to any successor position.

Successor position.   A successor position is a position that is or was at any time offsetting to a second position, if both the following conditions are met.
  • The second position was offsetting to the loss position that was sold.

  • The successor position is entered into during a period beginning 30 days before, and ending 30 days after, the sale of the loss position.

Example 1.

On November 5, 2013, you entered into offsetting long and short positions in non-section 1256 contracts. On November 13, 2013, you disposed of the long position at a $10 loss. On November 19, 2013, you entered into a new long position (successor position) that is offsetting to the retained short position, but not substantially identical to the long position disposed of on November 13. You held both positions through year end, at which time there was $10 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position and no unrecognized gain in the offsetting short position. Under these circumstances, the entire $10 loss will be disallowed for 2013 because there is $10 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position.

Example 2.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that at year end you have $4 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position and $6 of unrecognized gain in the offsetting short position. Under these circumstances, the entire $10 loss will be disallowed for 2013 because there is a total of $10 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position and offsetting short position.

Example 3.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that at year end you have $8 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position and $8 of unrecognized loss in the offsetting short position. Under these circumstances, $8 of the total $10 realized loss will be disallowed for 2013 because there is $8 of unrecognized gain in the successor long position.

Loss carryover.   If you have a disallowed loss that resulted from applying Rule 1 and Rule 2, you must carry it over to the next tax year and apply Rule 1 and Rule 2 to that carryover loss. For example, a loss disallowed in 2012 under Rule 1 will not be allowed in 2013, unless the substantially identical stock or securities (which caused the loss to be disallowed in 2012) were disposed of during 2013. In addition, the carryover loss will not be allowed in 2013 if Rule 1 or Rule 2 disallows it.

Example.

The facts are the same as in the example under Rule 1. On December 27, 2014, you sell the second XX stock at a $20 loss and there is $40 of unrecognized gain in the put option. Under these circumstances, you cannot deduct in 2014 either the $20 loss disallowed in 2013 or the $20 loss you incurred for the December 27, 2014, sale of XX stock. Rule 1 does not apply because the substantially identical XX stock was sold during the year and no substantially identical stock or securities were bought within the 61-day period. However, Rule 2 does apply because there is $40 of unrecognized gain in the put option, an offsetting position to the loss positions.

Capital loss carryover.   If the sale of a loss position would have resulted in a capital loss, you treat the carryover loss as a capital loss on the date it is allowed, even if you would treat the gain or loss on any successor positions as ordinary income or loss. Likewise, if the sale of a loss position (in the case of section 1256 contracts) would have resulted in a 60% long-term capital loss and a 40% short-term capital loss, you treat the carryover loss under the 60/40 rule, even if you would treat any gain or loss on any successor positions as 100% long-term or short-term capital gain or loss.

Exceptions.   The rules for coordinating straddle losses and wash sales do not apply to the following loss situations.
  • Loss on the sale of one or more positions in a hedging transaction. ( Hedging transactions are described under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market, earlier.)

  • Loss on the sale of a loss position in a mixed straddle account. (See Mixed straddle account (Election C) , later.)

  • Loss on the sale of a position that is part of a straddle consisting only of section 1256 contracts.

Holding Period and Loss Treatment Rules

The holding period of a position in a straddle generally begins no earlier than the date on which the straddle ends (the date you no longer hold an offsetting position). This rule does not apply to any position you held more than 1 year before you established the straddle. But see Exceptions , later.

Example.

On March 7, 2012, you acquired gold. On January 9, 2013, you entered into an offsetting short gold forward contract (nonregulated futures contract). On April 2, 2013, you disposed of the short gold forward contract at no gain or loss. On April 9, 2013, you sold the gold at a gain. Because the gold had been held for 1 year or less before the offsetting short position was entered into, the holding period for the gold begins on April 2, 2013, the date the straddle ended. Gain recognized on the sale of the gold will be treated as short-term capital gain.

Loss treatment.   Treat the loss on the sale of one or more positions (the loss position) of a straddle as a long-term capital loss if both the following are true.
  • You held (directly or indirectly) one or more offsetting positions to the loss position on the date you entered into the loss position.

  • You would have treated all gain or loss on one or more of the straddle positions as long-term capital gain or loss if you had sold these positions on the day you entered into the loss position.

Mixed straddles.   Special rules apply to a loss position that is part of a mixed straddle and that is a non-section 1256 position. A mixed straddle is a straddle:
  • That is not part of a larger straddle,

  • In which all positions are held as capital assets,

  • In which at least one (but not all) of the positions is a section 1256 contract, and

  • For which the mixed straddle election (Election A, discussed later) has not been made.

 
Treat the loss as 60% long-term capital loss and 40% short-term capital loss, if all the following conditions apply.
  • Gain or loss from the sale of one or more of the straddle positions that are section 1256 contracts would be considered gain or loss from the sale or exchange of a capital asset.

  • The sale of no position in the straddle, other than a section 1256 contract, would result in a long-term capital gain or loss.

  • You have not made a straddle-by-straddle identification election (Election B) or mixed straddle account election (Election C), both discussed later.

Example.

On March 5, 2013, you entered into a long gold forward contract. On July 16, 2013, you entered into an offsetting short gold regulated futures contract. You did not make an election to offset gains and losses from positions in a mixed straddle. On August 6, 2013, you disposed of the long forward contract at a loss. Because the gold forward contract was part of a mixed straddle and the disposition of this non-section 1256 position would not result in long-term capital loss, the loss recognized on the termination of the gold forward contract will be treated as a 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital loss.

Exceptions.   The special holding period and loss treatment for straddle positions does not apply to positions that:
  • Constitute part of a hedging transaction,

  • Are included in a straddle consisting only of section 1256 contracts, or

  • Are included in a mixed straddle account (Election C), discussed later.

Mixed Straddle Elections

If you disposed of a position in a mixed straddle and make one of the elections described in the following discussions, report your gain or loss as indicated in those discussions. If you do not make any of the elections, report your gain or loss in Part II of Form 6781. If you disposed of the section 1256 component of the straddle, enter the recognized loss (line 10, column (h)) or your gain (line 12, column (f)) in Part I of Form 6781, on line 1. Do not include it on line 11 or 13 (Part II).

Mixed straddle election (Election A).   You can elect out of the marked-to-market rules, discussed under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market , earlier, for all section 1256 contracts that are part of a mixed straddle. Instead, the gain and loss rules for straddles will apply to these contracts. However, if you make this election for an option on a section 1256 contract, the gain or loss treatment discussed earlier under Options will apply, subject to the gain and loss rules for straddles.

  You can make this election if:
  • At least one (but not all) of the positions is a section 1256 contract, and

  • Each position forming part of the straddle is clearly identified as being part of that straddle on the day the first section 1256 contract forming part of the straddle is acquired.

  If you make this election, it will apply for all later years as well. It cannot be revoked without the consent of the IRS. If you made this election, check box A of Form 6781. Do not report the section 1256 component in Part I.

Other elections.   You can avoid the 60% long-term capital loss treatment required for a non-section 1256 loss position that is part of a mixed straddle, described earlier, if you choose either of the two following elections to offset gains and losses for these positions.
  • Election B. Make a separate identification of the positions of each mixed straddle for which you are electing this treatment (the straddle-by-straddle identification method).

  • Election C. Establish a mixed straddle account for a class of activities for which gains and losses will be recognized and offset on a periodic basis.

 
These two elections are alternatives to the mixed straddle election. You can choose only one of the three elections. Use Form 6781 to indicate your election choice by checking box A, B, or C, whichever applies.

Straddle-by-straddle identification election (Election B).   Under this election, you must clearly identify each position that is part of the identified mixed straddle by the earlier of:
  • The close of the day the identified mixed straddle is established, or

  • The time the position is disposed of.

 
If you dispose of a position in the mixed straddle before the end of the day on which the straddle is established, this identification must be made by the time you dispose of the position. You are presumed to have properly identified a mixed straddle if independent verification is used.

  The basic tax treatment of gain or loss under this election depends on which side of the straddle produced the total net gain or loss. If the net gain or loss from the straddle is due to the section 1256 contracts, gain or loss is treated as 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. Enter the net gain or loss in Part I of Form 6781 and identify the election by checking box B.

  If the net gain or loss is due to the non-section 1256 positions, gain or loss is short-term capital gain or loss. See the Form 6781 instructions for how to report the net gain or loss.

  For the specific application of the rules of this election, see Regulations section 1.1092(b)-3T.

Example.

On April 2, 2013, you entered into a non-section 1256 position and an offsetting section 1256 contract. You also made a valid election to treat this straddle as an identified mixed straddle. On April 9, 2013, you disposed of the non-section 1256 position at a $600 loss and the section 1256 contract at an $800 gain. Under these circumstances, the $600 loss on the non-section 1256 position will be offset against the $800 gain on the section 1256 contract. The net gain of $200 from the straddle will be treated as 60% long-term capital gain and 40% short-term capital gain because it is due to the section 1256 contract.

Mixed straddle account (Election C).   You may elect to establish one or more accounts for determining gains and losses from all positions in a mixed straddle. You must establish a separate mixed straddle account for each separate designated class of activities.

  Generally, you must determine gain or loss for each position in a mixed straddle account as of the close of each business day of the tax year. You offset the net section 1256 contracts against the net non-section 1256 positions to determine the “daily account net gain or loss.

  If the daily account amount is due to non-section 1256 positions, the amount is treated as short-term capital gain or loss. If the daily account amount is due to section 1256 contracts, the amount is treated as 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain or loss.

  On the last business day of the tax year, you determine the “annual account net gain or loss” for each account by netting the daily account amounts for that account for the tax year. The “total annual account net gain or loss” is determined by netting the annual account amounts for all mixed straddle accounts that you had established.

  The net amounts keep their long-term or short-term classification. However, no more than 50% of the total annual account net gain for the tax year can be treated as long-term capital gain. Any remaining gain is treated as short-term capital gain. Also, no more than 40% of the total annual account net loss can be treated as short-term capital loss. Any remaining loss is treated as long-term capital loss.

  The election to establish one or more mixed straddle accounts for each tax year must be made by the due date (without extensions) of your income tax return for the immediately preceding tax year. If you begin trading in a new class of activities during a tax year, you must make the election for the new class of activities by the later of either:
  • The due date of your return for the immediately preceding tax year (without extensions), or

  • 60 days after you entered into the first mixed straddle in the new class of activities.

  You make the election on Form 6781 by checking box C. Attach Form 6781 to your income tax return for the immediately preceding tax year, or file it within 60 days, if that applies. Report the annual account net gain or loss from a mixed straddle account in Part II of Form 6781. In addition, you must attach a statement to Form 6781 specifically designating the class of activities for which a mixed straddle account is established.

  For the specific application of the rules of this election, see Regulations section 1.1092(b)-4T.

Interest expense and carrying charges relating to mixed straddle account positions.   You cannot deduct interest and carrying charges that are allocable to any positions held in a mixed straddle account. Treat these charges as an adjustment to the annual account net gain or loss and allocate them proportionately between the net short-term and the net long-term capital gains or losses.

   To find the amount of interest and carrying charges that is not deductible and that must be added to the annual account net gain or loss, apply the rules described earlier to the positions held in the mixed straddle account. See Interest expense and carrying charges on straddles in chapter 3 under Nondeductible Expenses.

Sales of Stock to ESOPs or Certain Cooperatives

If you sold qualified securities held for at least 3 years to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or eligible worker-owned cooperative, you may be able to elect to postpone all or part of the gain on the sale if you bought qualified replacement property (certain securities) within the period that began 3 months before the sale and ended 12 months after the sale. If you make the election, you must recognize gain on the sale only to the extent the proceeds from the sale exceed the cost of the qualified replacement property.

You must reduce the basis of the replacement property by any postponed gain. If you dispose of any replacement property, you may have to recognize all of the postponed gain.

Generally, to qualify for the election the ESOP or cooperative must own at least 30% of the outstanding stock of the corporation that issued the qualified securities. Also, the qualified replacement property must have been issued by a domestic operating corporation.

How to make the election.   You must make the election no later than the due date (including extensions) for filing your tax return for the year in which you sold the stock. If your original return was filed on time, you may make the election on an amended return filed no later than 6 months after the due date of your return (excluding extensions). Enter “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” at the top of the amended return and file it at the same address you used for your original return.

How to report and postpone gain.   Report the sale in Part II of Form 8949 as you would if you were not making the election. Then enter “R” in column (f). Enter the amount of the postponed gain as a negative number in column (g). Put it in parentheses to show it is negative. Complete all remaining columns. If the actual postponed gain is different from the amount you report, file an amended return.

  
Report your sales of stock to ESOPs or certain cooperatives on Form 8949 with the correct box checked for these transactions. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

  Also attach the following statements.
  1. A “statement of election” that indicates you are making an election under section 1042(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and that includes the following information.

    1. A description of the securities sold, the date of the sale, the amount realized on the sale, and the adjusted basis of the securities.

    2. The name of the ESOP or cooperative to which the qualified securities were sold.

    3. For a sale that was part of a single, interrelated transaction under a prearranged agreement between taxpayers involving other sales of qualified securities, the names and identifying numbers of the other taxpayers under the agreement and the number of shares sold by the other taxpayers.

  2. A notarized “statement of purchase” describing the qualified replacement property, date of purchase, and the cost of the property and declaring the property to be qualified replacement property for the qualified stock you sold. The statement must have been notarized no later than 30 days after the purchase. If you have not yet purchased the qualified replacement property, you must attach the notarized “statement of purchase” to your income tax return for the year following the election year (or the election will not be valid).

  3. A verified written statement of the domestic corporation whose employees are covered by the ESOP acquiring the securities, or of any authorized officer of the cooperative, consenting to the taxes under sections 4978 and 4979A of the Internal Revenue Code on certain dispositions, and prohibited allocations of the stock purchased by the ESOP or cooperative.

More information.   For details, see section 1042 of the Internal Revenue Code and Regulations section 1.1042-1T.

Rollover of Gain From Publicly Traded Securities

You may qualify for a tax-free rollover of certain gains from the sale of publicly traded securities. This means that if you buy certain replacement property and make the choice described in this section, you postpone part or all of your gain.

You postpone the gain by adjusting the basis of the replacement property as described in Basis of replacement property , later. This postpones your gain until the year you dispose of the replacement property.

You qualify to make this choice if you meet all the following tests.

  • You sell publicly traded securities at a gain. Publicly traded securities are securities traded on an established securities market.

  • Your gain from the sale is a capital gain.

  • During the 60-day period beginning on the date of the sale, you buy replacement property. This replacement property must be either common stock of, or a partnership interest in a specialized small business investment company (SSBIC). This is any partnership or corporation licensed by the Small Business Administration under section 301(d) of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as in effect on May 13, 1993.

Amount of gain recognized.   If you make the choice described in this section, you must recognize gain only up to the following amount:
  • The amount realized on the sale, minus

  • The cost of any common stock or partnership interest in an SSBIC that you bought during the 60-day period beginning on the date of sale (and did not previously take into account on an earlier sale of publicly traded securities).

 
If this amount is less than the amount of your gain, you can postpone the rest of your gain, subject to the limit described next. If this amount is equal to or more than the amount of your gain, you must recognize the full amount of your gain.

Limit on gain postponed.   The amount of gain you can postpone each year is limited to the smaller of:
  • $50,000 ($25,000 if you are married and file a separate return), or

  • $500,000 ($250,000 if you are married and file a separate return), minus the amount of gain you postponed for all earlier years.

Basis of replacement property.   You must subtract the amount of postponed gain from the basis of your replacement property.

How to report and postpone gain.   Report the entire gain realized from the sale in Part I or Part II of Form 8949. To make the election to postpone gain, report the gain as you would if you were not making the election. Enter “R” in column (f). Enter the amount of the postponed gain as a negative number in column (g). Put it in parentheses to show it is negative. Complete all remaining columns.

  
Report these transactions on Form 8949 with the correct box checked. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

  Also attach a schedule showing how you figured the postponed gain, the name of the SSBIC in which you purchased common stock or a partnership interest, the date of that purchase, and your new basis in that SSBIC stock or partnership interest.

  You must make the choice to postpone gain no later than the due date (including extensions) for filing your tax return for the year in which you sold the securities. If your original return was filed on time, you may make the choice on an amended return filed no later than 6 months after the due date of your return (excluding extensions). Enter “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” at the top of the amended return and file it at the same address you used for your original return.

  Your choice is revocable with the consent of the IRS.

Gains on Qualified Small Business Stock

This section discusses two provisions of the law that may apply to gain from the sale or trade of qualified small business stock. You may qualify for a tax-free rollover of all or part of the gain. You may be able to exclude gain from your income.

Qualified small business stock.   This is stock that meets all the following tests.
  1. It must be stock in a C corporation.

  2. It must have been originally issued after August 10, 1993.

  3. The corporation must have total gross assets of $50 million or less at all times after August 9, 1993, and before it issued the stock. Its total gross assets immediately after it issued the stock must also be $50 million or less.

    When figuring the corporation's total gross assets, you must also count the assets of any predecessor of the corporation. In addition, you must treat all corporations that are members of the same parent-subsidiary controlled group as one corporation.

  4. You must have acquired the stock at its original issue, directly or through an underwriter, in exchange for money or other property (not including stock), or as pay for services provided to the corporation (other than services performed as an underwriter of the stock). In certain cases, your stock may also meet this test if you acquired it from another person who met this test, or through a conversion or trade of qualified small business stock that you held.

  5. The corporation must have met the active business test, defined next, and must have been a C corporation during substantially all the time you held the stock.

  6. Within the period beginning 2 years before and ending 2 years after the stock was issued, the corporation cannot have bought more than a de minimis amount of its stock from you or a related party.

  7. Within the period beginning 1 year before and ending 1 year after the stock was issued, the corporation cannot have bought more than a de minimis amount of its stock from anyone, unless the total value of the stock it bought is 5% or less of the total value of all its stock.

For more information about tests 6 and 7, see the regulations under section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Active business test.   A corporation meets this test for any period of time if, during that period, both the following are true.
  • It was an eligible corporation, defined below.

  • It used at least 80% (by value) of its assets in the active conduct of at least one qualified trade or business, defined below.

Exception for SSBIC.   Any specialized small business investment company (SSBIC) is treated as meeting the active business test. An SSBIC is an eligible corporation licensed to operate under section 301(d) of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 as in effect on May 13, 1993.

Eligible corporation.   This is any U.S. corporation other than:
  • A Domestic International Sales Corporation (DISC) or a former DISC,

  • A corporation that has made, or whose subsidiary has made, an election under section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code,

  • A regulated investment company,

  • A real estate investment trust (REIT),

  • A real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC),

  • Certain financial asset securitization investment trusts (FASITs), or

  • A cooperative.

Qualified trade or business.   This is any trade or business other than:
  • One involving services performed in the fields of health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, or brokerage services;

  • One whose principal asset is the reputation or skill of one or more employees;

  • Any banking, insurance, financing, leasing, investing, or similar business;

  • Any farming business (including the business of raising or harvesting trees);

  • Any business involving the production or extraction of products for which percentage depletion can be claimed; or

  • Any business of operating a hotel, motel, restaurant, or similar business.

Rollover of Gain

You may qualify for a tax-free rollover of capital gain from the sale of qualified small business stock held more than 6 months. This means that, if you buy certain replacement stock and make the choice described in this section, you postpone part or all of your gain.

You postpone the gain by adjusting the basis of the replacement stock as described in Basis of replacement stock , later. This postpones your gain until the year you dispose of the replacement stock.

You can make this choice if you meet all the following tests.

  • You buy replacement stock during the 60-day period beginning on the date of the sale.

  • The replacement stock is qualified small business stock.

  • The replacement stock continues to meet the active business requirement for small business stock for at least the first 6 months after you buy it.

Amount of gain recognized.   If you make the choice described in this section, you must recognize the capital gain only up to the following amount:
  • The amount realized on the sale, minus

  • The cost of any qualified small business stock you bought during the 60-day period beginning on the date of sale (and did not previously take into account on an earlier sale of qualified small business stock).

 
If this amount is less than the amount of your capital gain, you can postpone the rest of that gain. If this amount equals or is more than the amount of your capital gain, you must recognize the full amount of your gain.

Basis of replacement stock.   You must subtract the amount of postponed gain from the basis of your replacement stock.

Holding period of replacement stock.   Your holding period for the replacement stock includes your holding period for the stock sold, except for the purpose of applying the 6-month holding period requirement for choosing to roll over the gain on its sale.

Pass-through entity.   A pass-through entity (a partnership, S corporation, or mutual fund or other regulated investment company) also may make the choice to postpone gain. The benefit of the postponed gain applies to your share of the entity's postponed gain if you held an interest in the entity for the entire period the entity held the stock.

  If a pass-through entity sold qualified small business stock held for more than 6 months and you held an interest in the entity for the entire period the entity held the stock, you also may choose to postpone gain if you, rather than the pass-through entity, buy the replacement stock within the 60-day period.

How to report gain.   Report the entire gain realized from the sale in Part I or Part II of Form 8949. To make the election to postpone gain, report the gain as you would if you were not making the election. Enter “R” in column (f). Enter the amount of the postponed gain as a negative number in column (g). Put it in parentheses to show it is negative. Complete all remaining columns.

  
Report these transactions on Form 8949 with the correct box checked. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

  You must make the choice to postpone gain no later than the due date (including extensions) for filing your tax return for the year in which you sold the stock. If your original return was filed on time, you may make the choice on an amended return filed no later than 6 months after the due date of your return (excluding extensions). Enter “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” at the top of the amended return and file it at the same address you used for your original return.

Section 1202 Exclusion

You generally can exclude from your income up to 50% of your gain from the sale or trade of qualified small business stock held by you for more than 5 years. The exclusion can be up to 75% for stock acquired after February 17, 2009, and no later than September 27, 2010, and up to 100% for stock acquired after September 27, 2010, and before 2014. The exclusion can be up to 60% for certain empowerment zone business stock. See Empowerment zone business stock , later. The eligible gain minus your section 1202 exclusion is a 28% rate gain. See Capital Gain Tax Rates , later.

SSBIC stock.   If the stock is specialized small business investment company (SSBIC) stock you bought as replacement property for publicly traded securities you sold at a gain, you must reduce the basis of the stock by the amount of any postponed gain on that earlier sale, as explained earlier under Rollover of Gain From Publicly Traded Securities . But do not reduce your basis by that amount when figuring your section 1202 exclusion.

Limit on eligible gain.   The amount of your gain from the stock of any one issuer that is eligible for the exclusion in 2013 is limited to the greater of:
  • Ten times your basis in all qualified stock of the issuer you sold or exchanged during the year, or

  • $10 million ($5 million for married individuals filing separately) minus the amount of gain from the stock of the same issuer you used to figure your exclusion in earlier years.

How to report gain.   Report the sale or exchange in Form 8949, Part II, with the appropriate box checked, as you would if you were not taking the exclusion. Then enter “Q” in column (f) and enter the amount of the excluded gain as a negative number in column (g). Put it in parentheses to show it is negative. Complete all remaining columns. If you are completing line 18 of Schedule D (Form 1040), enter as a positive number the amount of the exclusion on line 2 of the 28% Rate Gain Worksheet in the Schedule D (Form 1040) instructions. But if you exclude 60% of the gain, enter 2/3 of the exclusion.

  
Report these transactions on Form 8949 with the correct box checked. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.

More information.   For information about additional requirements that may apply, see section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Empowerment zone business stock.   You can exclude up to 60% of your gain if you meet all the following additional requirements.
  1. You sell or trade stock in a corporation that qualifies as an empowerment zone business during substantially all of the time you held the stock, and

  2. You acquired the stock after December 21, 2000.

 
Condition (1) will still be met if the corporation ceased to qualify after the 5-year period that begins on the date you acquired the stock. However, the gain that qualifies for the 60% exclusion cannot be more than the gain you would have had if you had sold the stock on the date the corporation ceased to qualify.

Note.

If either the 75% or 100% exclusion applies, then the 60% exclusion does not apply.

Exclusion of Gain From DC Zone Assets

If you sold or exchanged a District of Columbia Enterprise Zone (DC Zone) asset that you acquired after 1997 and held for more than 5 years, you may be able to exclude capital gain that you would otherwise include in income. The exclusion applies to an interest in, or property of, certain businesses operating in the District of Columbia. See section 1400B for more details.

How to report.    Report the sale or exchange on Form 8949, Part II, as you would if you were not taking the exclusion. Enter “X” in column (f) and enter the amount of the exclusion as a negative number in column (g). Put the amount in parentheses to show it is negative. See the Instructions for Form 8949, columns (f), (g), and (h). Complete all remaining columns.

Reporting Capital Gains and Losses

Generally, report capital gains and losses on Form 8949. Complete Form 8949 before you complete line 1b, 2, 3, 8b, 9, or 10 of Schedule D (Form 1040).

Use Form 8949 to report:

  • The sale or exchange of a capital asset not reported on another form or schedule,

  • Gains from involuntary conversions (other than from casualty or theft) of capital assets not held for business or profit, and

  • Nonbusiness bad debts.

Use Schedule D (Form 1040) to report:

  • Overall gain or loss from transactions reported on Form 8949;

  • Transactions you do not have to report on Form 8949;

  • Gain from Form 2439 or 6252 or Part I of Form 4797;

  • Gain or loss from Form 4684, 6781, or 8824;

  • Gain or loss from a partnership, S corporation, estate or trust;

  • Capital gain distributions not reported directly on your Form 1040; and

  • Capital loss carryover from the previous year to the current year.

On Form 8949, enter all sales and exchanges of capital assets, including stocks, bonds, etc., and real estate (if not reported on Form 4684, 4797, 6252, 6781, 8824, or line 1a or 8a of Schedule D). Include these transactions even if you did not receive a Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions, (or substitute statement) for the transaction. Report short-term gains or losses in Part I. Report long-term gains or losses in Part II. Use as many Forms 8949 as you need.

Exceptions to filing Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040).   There are certain situations where you may not have to file Form 8949 and/or Schedule D (Form 1040).

Exception 1.   You do not have to file Form 8949 or Schedule D (Form 1040) if you have no capital losses and your only capital gains are capital gain distributions from Form(s) 1099-DIV, box 2a (or substitute statements). (If any Form(s) 1099-DIV (or substitute statements) you receive have an amount in box 2b (unrecaptured section 1250 gain), box 2c (section 1202 gain), or box 2d (collectibles (28%) gain), you do not qualify for this exception.)

  If you qualify for this exception, report your capital gain distributions directly on line 13 of Form 1040 (and check the box on line 13). Also use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet in the Form 1040 instructions to figure your tax. You can report your capital gain distributions on line 10 of Form 1040A, instead of on Form 1040, if none of the Forms 1099-DIV (or substitute statements) you received have an amount in box 2b, 2c, or 2d, and you do not have to file Form 1040.

Exception 2.   You must file Schedule D (Form 1040), but generally do not have to file Form 8949, if Exception 1 does not apply and your only capital gains and losses are:
  • Capital gain distributions;

  • A capital loss carryover;

  • A gain from Form 2439 or 6252 or Part I of Form 4797;

  • A gain or loss from Form 4684, 6781, or 8824; or

  • A gain or loss from a partnership, S corporation, estate, or trust; or

  • Gains and losses from transactions for which you received a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) that shows basis was reported to the IRS and for which you do not need to make any adjustments in column (g) of Form 8949 or enter any codes in column (f) of Form 8949.

Installment sales.   You cannot use the installment method to report a gain from the sale of stock or securities traded on an established securities market. You must report the entire gain in the year of sale (the year in which the trade date occurs).

At-risk rules.    Special at-risk rules apply to most income-producing activities. These rules limit the amount of loss you can deduct to the amount you risk losing in the activity. The at-risk rules also apply to a loss from the sale or trade of an asset used in an activity to which the at-risk rules apply. For more information, see Publication 925. Use Form 6198, At-Risk Limitations, to figure the amount of loss you can deduct.

Passive activity gains and losses.   If you have gains or losses from a passive activity, you may also have to report them on Form 8582. In some cases, the loss may be limited under the passive activity rules. Refer to Form 8582 and its instructions for more information about reporting capital gains and losses from a passive activity.

Form 1099-B transactions.   If you sold property, such as stocks, bonds, or certain commodities, through a broker, you should receive Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) from the broker. Use the Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) to complete Form 8949. If you sold a covered security in 2013, your broker should send you a Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) that shows your basis. This will help you complete Form 8949. Generally, a covered security is a security you acquired after 2010.

  Report the gross proceeds shown in box 2a of Form 1099-B as the sales price in column (d) of either Part I or Part II of Form 8949, whichever applies. However, if the broker advises you, in box 2a of Form 1099-B, that gross proceeds (sales price) less commissions and option premiums were reported to the IRS, enter that net sales price in column (d) of either Part I or Part II of Form 8949, whichever applies.

  Include in column (g) any expense of sale, such as broker's fees, commissions, state and local transfer taxes, and option premiums, unless you reported the net sales price in column (d). If you include an expense of sale in column (g), enter “E” in column (f).

Example 1.

You sold 100 shares of Fund HIJ for $2,500. You paid a $75 commission to the broker for handling the sale. Your Form 1099-B shows that the net sales proceeds, $2,425 ($2,500 − $75), were reported to the IRS. Report $2,425 in column (d) of Form 8949. Complete columns (a), (b), (c), and (e).

Example 2.

You sold 200 shares of Fund KLM for $10,000. You paid a $100 commission at the time of the sale. The broker reported the gross proceeds to the IRS on Form 1099-B, so on Form 8949, you enter “E” in column (f), $10,000 in column (d) and $100 as a negative adjustment in column (g). Complete all remaining columns.

Section 1256 contracts and straddles.   Use Form 6781 to report gains and losses from section 1256 contracts and straddles before entering these amounts on Schedule D (Form 1040). Include a copy of Form 6781 with your income tax return.

Market discount bonds.   Report the sale or trade of a market discount bond on Part I or Part II of Form 8949, whichever is appropriate. If the sale or trade results in a gain and you did not choose to include market discount in income currently, enter “O” in column (f) and in column (g) enter the amount of the accrued market discount as a negative number. Also report the amount of accrued market discount as interest income on Schedule B (Form 1040A or 1040), line 1, and identify it as “Accrued Market Discount.

Form 1099-CAP transactions.   If a corporation in which you own stock has had a change in control or a substantial change in capital structure, you should receive Form 1099-CAP, Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure, or substitute statement from the corporation. Use the Form 1099-CAP or substitute statement to fill in Form 8949. If your computations show that you would have a loss because of the change, do not enter any amounts on Form 8949 or Schedule D (Form 1040) as a result of this transaction.

  Report the aggregate amount received shown in box 2 of Form 1099-CAP as the sales price in column (d) of either Part I or Part II of Form 8949, whichever applies.

Form 1099-S transactions.   If you sold or traded reportable real estate, you generally should receive from the real estate reporting person a Form 1099-S showing the gross proceeds.

   “Reportable real estate” is defined as any present or future ownership interest in any of the following:
  • Improved or unimproved land, including air space;

  • Inherently permanent structures, including any residential, commercial, or industrial building;

  • A condominium unit and its accessory fixtures and common elements, including land; and

  • Stock in a cooperative housing corporation (as defined in section 216 of the Internal Revenue Code).

  A “real estate reporting person” could include the buyer's attorney, your attorney, the title or escrow company, a mortgage lender, your broker, the buyer's broker, or the person acquiring the biggest interest in the property.

   Your Form 1099-S will show the gross proceeds from the sale or exchange in box 2. See the Instructions for Form 8949 and the Instructions for Schedule D (Form 1040) for how to report these transactions and include them in Part I or Part II of Form 8949 as appropriate. However, report like-kind exchanges on Form 8824 instead.

It is unlawful for any real estate reporting person to separately charge you for complying with the requirement to file Form 1099-S.

Nominees.   If you receive gross proceeds as a nominee (that is, the gross proceeds are in your name but actually belong to someone else), see the Instructions for Form 8949 for how to report these amounts on Form 8949.

File Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S with the IRS.   If you received gross proceeds as a nominee in 2013, you must file a Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S for those proceeds with the IRS. Send the Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S with a Form 1096 to your Internal Revenue Service Center by February 28, 2014 (March 31, 2014, if you file Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S electronically). Give the actual owner of the proceeds Copy B of the Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S by February 18, 2014. On Form 1099-B, you should be listed as the “Payer.” The other owner should be listed as the “Recipient.” On Form 1099-S, you should be listed as the “Filer.” The other owner should be listed as the “Transferor.” You do not have to file a Form 1099-B or Form 1099-S to show proceeds for your spouse. For more information about the reporting requirements and the penalties for failure to file (or furnish) certain information returns, see the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.

Worksheet 4-1. Capital Loss Carryover Worksheet

Use this worksheet to figure your capital loss carryovers from 2013 to 2014 if Schedule D, line 21, is a loss and (a) that loss is a smaller loss than the loss on Schedule D, line 16, or (b) Form 1040, line 41, is less than zero. Otherwise, you do not have any carryovers.

1. Enter the amount from Form 1040, line 41. If a loss, enclose the amount in parentheses 1.  
2. Enter the loss from Schedule D, line 21, as a positive amount 2.  
3. Combine lines 1 and 2. If zero or less, enter -0- 3.  
4. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 3 4.  
  If line 7 of Schedule D is a loss, go to line 5; otherwise, enter -0- on line 5 and go to line 9.    
5. Enter the loss from Schedule D, line 7, as a positive amount 5.  
6. Enter any gain from Schedule D, line 15. If a loss, enter -0- 6.      
7. Add lines 4 and 6 7.  
8. Short-term capital loss carryover to 2014. Subtract line 7 from line 5. If zero or less, enter -0- 8.  
  If line 15 of Schedule D is a loss, go to line 9; otherwise, skip lines 9 through 13.    
9. Enter the loss from Schedule D, line 15, as a positive amount 9.  
10. Enter any gain from Schedule D, line 7 10.      
11. Subtract line 5 from line 4. If zero or less, enter -0- 11.      
12. Add lines 10 and 11 12.  
13. Long-term capital loss carryover to 2014. Subtract line 12 from line 9. If zero or less, enter -0- 13.  
Sale of property bought at various times.   If you sell a block of stock or other property that you bought at various times, report the short-term gain or loss from the sale on one row in Part I of Form 8949 and the long-term gain or loss on one row in Part II of Form 8949. Enter “Various” in column (b) for the “Date acquired.

Sale expenses.    On Form 8949, include in column (g) any expense of sale, such as broker's fees, commissions, state and local transfer taxes, and option premiums, unless you reported the net sales price in column (d). If you include an expense of sale in column (g), enter “E” in column (f).

Short-term gains and losses.   Capital gain or loss on the sale or trade of investment property held 1 year or less is a short-term capital gain or loss. You report it in Part I of Form 8949.

  You combine your share of short-term capital gain or loss from partnerships, S corporations, and fiduciaries, and any short-term capital loss carryover, with your other short-term capital gains and losses to figure your net short-term capital gain or loss on line 7 of Schedule D (Form 1040).

Long-term gains and losses.   A capital gain or loss on the sale or trade of investment property held more than 1 year is a long-term capital gain or loss. You report it in Part II of Form 8949.

  You also report the following in Part II of Schedule D (Form 1040):
  • Undistributed long-term capital gains from a mutual fund (or other regulated investment company) or real estate investment trust (REIT);

  • Your share of long-term capital gains or losses from partnerships, S corporations, and fiduciaries;

  • All capital gain distributions from mutual funds and REITs not reported directly on line 10 of Form 1040A or line 13 of Form 1040; and

  • Long-term capital loss carryovers.

  The result after combining these items with your other long-term capital gains and losses is your net long-term capital gain or loss (line 15 of Schedule D (Form 1040)).

Total net gain or loss.   To figure your total net gain or loss, combine your net short-term capital gain or loss (Schedule D (Form 1040), line 7) with your net long-term capital gain or loss (Schedule D (Form 1040), line 15). Enter the result on Schedule D (Form 1040), Part III, line 16. If your losses are more than your gains, see Capital Losses, next. If both lines 15 and 16 of your Schedule D (Form 1040) are gains and your taxable income on your Form 1040 is greater than zero, see Capital Gain Tax Rates , later.

Capital Losses

If your capital losses are more than your capital gains, you can claim a capital loss deduction. Report the deduction on line 13 of Form 1040, enclosed in parentheses.

Limit on deduction.   Your allowable capital loss deduction, figured on Schedule D (Form 1040), is the lesser of:
  • $3,000 ($1,500 if you are married and file a separate return), or

  • Your total net loss as shown on line 16 of Schedule D (Form 1040).

You can use your total net loss to reduce your income dollar for dollar, up to the $3,000 limit.

Capital loss carryover.   If you have a total net loss on line 16 of Schedule D (Form 1040) that is more than the yearly limit on capital loss deductions, you can carry over the unused part to the next year and treat it as if you had incurred it in that next year. If part of the loss is still unused, you can carry it over to later years until it is completely used up.

  When you figure the amount of any capital loss carryover to the next year, you must take the current year's allowable deduction into account, whether or not you claimed it and whether or not you filed a return for the current year.

  When you carry over a loss, it remains long term or short term. A long-term capital loss you carry over to the next tax year will reduce that year's long-term capital gains before it reduces that year's short-term capital gains.

Figuring your carryover.   The amount of your capital loss carryover is the amount of your total net loss that is more than the lesser of:
  1. Your allowable capital loss deduction for the year, or

  2. Your taxable income increased by your allowable capital loss deduction for the year and your deduction for personal exemptions.

  If your deductions are more than your gross income for the tax year, use your negative taxable income in computing the amount in item (2).

  Complete Worksheet 4-1 to determine the part of your capital loss that you can carry over.

Example.

Bob and Gloria sold securities in 2013. The sales resulted in a capital loss of $7,000. They had no other capital transactions. Their taxable income was $26,000. On their joint 2013 return, they can deduct $3,000. The unused part of the loss, $4,000 ($7,000 − $3,000), can be carried over to 2014.

If their capital loss had been $2,000, their capital loss deduction would have been $2,000. They would have no carryover.

Use short-term losses first.   When you figure your capital loss carryover, use your short-term capital losses first, even if you incurred them after a long-term capital loss. If you have not reached the limit on the capital loss deduction after using the short-term capital losses, use the long-term capital losses until you reach the limit.

Decedent's capital loss.   A capital loss sustained by a decedent during his or her last tax year (or carried over to that year from an earlier year) can be deducted only on the final income tax return filed for the decedent. The capital loss limits discussed earlier still apply in this situation. The decedent's estate cannot deduct any of the loss or carry it over to following years.

Joint and separate returns.   If you and your spouse once filed separate returns and are now filing a joint return, combine your separate capital loss carryovers. However, if you and your spouse once filed a joint return and are now filing separate returns, any capital loss carryover from the joint return can be deducted only on the return of the spouse who actually had the loss.

Capital Gain Tax Rates

The tax rates that apply to a net capital gain are generally lower than the tax rates that apply to other income. These lower rates are called the maximum capital gain rates.

The term “net capital gain” means the amount by which your net long-term capital gain for the year is more than your net short-term capital loss.

For 2013, the maximum capital gain rates are 0%, 15%, 20%, 25%, and 28%. See Table 4-4 for details.

If you figure your tax using the maximum capital gain rate and the regular tax computation results in a lower tax, the regular tax computation applies.

Example.

All of your net capital gain is from selling collectibles, so the capital gain rate would be 28%. If you are otherwise subject to a rate lower than 28%, the 28% rate does not apply.

Table 4-4. What Is Your Maximum Capital Gain Rate?

IF your net capital gain is from ... THEN your maximum  
capital gain rate is ...
collectibles gain 28%
eligible gain on qualified small business stock minus the section 1202 exclusion 28%
unrecaptured section 1250 gain 25%
other gain1 and the regular tax rate that would apply is 39.6% 20%
other gain1 and the regular tax rate that would apply is 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35%  
15%
other gain1 and the regular tax rate that would apply is 10% or 15%  
0%
1Other gain” means any gain that is not collectibles gain, gain on small business stock, or unrecaptured section 1250 gain.
 
Investment interest deducted.   If you claim a deduction for investment interest, you may have to reduce the amount of your net capital gain that is eligible for the capital gain tax rates. Reduce it by the amount of the net capital gain you choose to include in investment income when figuring the limit on your investment interest deduction. This is done on the Schedule D Tax Worksheet or the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet. For more information about the limit on investment interest, see Interest Expenses in chapter 3.

28% rate gain.   This gain includes gain or loss from the sale of collectibles and the eligible gain from the sale of qualified small business stock minus the section 1202 exclusion.

Collectibles gain or loss.   This is gain or loss from the sale or trade of a work of art, rug, antique, metal (such as gold, silver, and platinum bullion), gem, stamp, coin, or alcoholic beverage held more than 1 year.

  Collectibles gain includes gain from the sale of an interest in a partnership, S corporation, or trust due to unrealized appreciation of collectibles.

Gain on qualified small business stock.   If you realized a gain from qualified small business stock that you held more than 5 years, you generally can exclude some or all of your gain under section 1202. The eligible gain minus your section 1202 exclusion is a 28% rate gain. See Gains on Qualified Small Business Stock , earlier in this chapter.

Unrecaptured section 1250 gain.   Generally, this is any part of your capital gain from selling section 1250 property (real property) that is due to depreciation (but not more than your net section 1231 gain), reduced by any net loss in the 28% group. Use the Unrecaptured Section 1250 Gain Worksheet in the Schedule D (Form 1040) instructions to figure your unrecaptured section 1250 gain. For more information about section 1250 property and section 1231 gain, see chapter 3 of Publication 544.

Tax computation using maximum capital gain rates.   Use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet or the Schedule D Tax Worksheet (whichever applies) to figure your tax if you have qualified dividends or net capital gain. You have net capital gain if Schedule D (Form 1040), lines 15 and 16, are both gains.

Schedule D Tax Worksheet.   Use the Schedule D Tax Worksheet in the Schedule D (Form 1040) instructions to figure your tax if:
  • You have to file Schedule D (Form 1040); and

  • Schedule D (Form 1040), line 18 (28% rate gain) or line 19 (unrecaptured section 1250 gain), is more than zero.

Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet.   If you do not have to use the Schedule D Tax Worksheet (as explained above) and any of the following apply, use the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A (whichever you file) to figure your tax.

Alternative minimum tax.   These capital gain rates are also used in figuring alternative minimum tax.

Special Rules for Traders in Securities

Special rules apply if you are a trader in securities in the business of buying and selling securities for your own account. To be engaged in business as a trader in securities, you must meet all 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.

  • 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.

  • The amount of time you devote to the activity.

If your trading activities do not meet the above definition of a business, you are considered an investor, and not a trader. It does not matter whether you call yourself a trader or a “day trader.

Note.

You may be a trader in some securities and have other securities you hold for investment. The special rules discussed here do not apply to the securities held for investment. You must keep detailed records to distinguish the securities. The securities held for investment must be identified as such in your records on the day you got them (for example, by holding them in a separate brokerage account).

How To Report

Transactions from trading activities result in capital gains and losses and must be reported on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040), as appropriate. Losses from these transactions are subject to the limit on capital losses explained earlier in this chapter.

Mark-to-market election made.   If you made the mark-to-market election, you should report all gains and losses from trading as ordinary gains and losses in Part II of Form 4797, instead of as capital gains and losses on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040). In that case, securities held at the end of the year in your business as a trader are marked to market by treating them as if they were sold (and reacquired) for fair market value on the last business day of the year. But do not mark to market any securities you held for investment. Report sales from those securities on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040), as appropriate, not Form 4797. See the Instructions for Form 8949 and Instructions for Schedule D (Form 1040).

Expenses.   Interest expense and other investment expenses that an investor would deduct on Schedule A (Form 1040) are deducted by a trader on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business, if the expenses are from the trading business. Commissions and other costs of acquiring or disposing of securities are not deductible but must be used to figure gain or loss. The limit on investment interest expense, which applies to investors, does not apply to interest paid or incurred in a trading business.

Self-employment tax.   Gains and losses from selling securities as a trader are not subject to self-employment tax. This is true whether the election is made or not. For an exception that applies to section 1256 contracts, see Self-Employment Income , earlier under Section 1256 Contracts Marked to Market.

How To Make the Mark-to-Market Election

To make the mark-to-market election for 2014, you must file a statement with your timely filed return for 2013 or with a properly filed request for extension of time to file (Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) on or before the normal due date of the return. The statement must include the following information.

  • That you are making an election under section 475(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • The first tax year for which the election is effective.

  • The trade or business for which you are making the election.

If you are not required to file a 2013 income tax return, you make the election by placing the above statement in your books and records no later than March 15, 2014. Attach a copy of the statement to your 2014 return.

If your method of accounting for 2013 is inconsistent with the mark-to-market election, you must change your method of accounting for securities under Revenue Procedure 2011-14 (or its successor) available at www.irs.gov/irb/2011-04_IRB/ar08.html. Revenue Procedure 2011-14 requires you to file Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method. Follow its instructions. Enter “64” on line 1a of the Form 3115.

Once you make the election, it will apply to 2014 and all later tax years, unless you get permission from the IRS to revoke it. The effect of making the election is described under Mark-to-market election made , earlier.

For more information on this election, see Revenue Procedure 99-17, on page 52 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 1999-7 at 
www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb99-07.pdf.


More Online Publications