Forex tax how to qualify for section 1256?


Forex Tax: How to Qualify for Section 1256

Forex trading is a highly popular investment activity that involves buying and selling currencies from around the world. As with any investment, taxes must be paid on the profits earned from Forex trading. However, the tax rules for Forex trading can be complex and confusing, especially for new traders. In this article, we will discuss Forex tax and how to qualify for Section 1256.

Forex Tax Basics

Forex trading is treated differently under the tax code compared to other forms of investment, such as stocks or futures. The primary difference is that Forex trading is considered a contract for differences (CFD) and is taxed as ordinary income. This means that the profits earned from Forex trading are subject to the same tax rates as earned income, ranging from 10% to 37% depending on the trader’s income level.


Another important aspect of Forex tax is that traders are required to report their profits and losses on their tax return. Profit and loss calculations should be based on the realized gains and losses, not on the open position value. This means that traders should only report the profit or loss when they close a position, not when the position is open.

Qualifying for Section 1256

Section 1256 of the tax code provides special tax treatment for certain types of investments, including Forex trading. If you qualify for Section 1256, you can benefit from lower tax rates and more favorable tax treatment for losses.

To qualify for Section 1256, you must trade in regulated futures contracts or non-equity options, including Forex contracts. There are several requirements that must be met to qualify for Section 1256 treatment:

1. Trading must be done on a regulated exchange: Forex trading must be conducted on a registered exchange, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), or the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

2. Contracts must be standardized: The contracts traded must be standardized in terms of size, expiration date, and settlement. This means that traders must trade the standard-sized contracts offered by the exchange, not customized contracts.

3. Mark-to-market accounting: Traders must use mark-to-market accounting to calculate their profits and losses. This means that traders must calculate their profits and losses at the end of each trading day based on the current market value of their positions.

4. 60/40 tax treatment: Traders can benefit from 60/40 tax treatment under Section 1256. This means that 60% of the profits are taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate, and 40% are taxed at the ordinary income tax rate. This can result in significant tax savings for traders.


Forex tax can be complex and confusing, but it is essential for traders to understand the tax rules and regulations to avoid penalties and fines. Qualifying for Section 1256 can provide significant tax benefits for Forex traders, but it requires meeting specific requirements, such as trading on a regulated exchange and using mark-to-market accounting. By understanding the tax rules and regulations, Forex traders can minimize their tax liability and maximize their profits.