How is Forex Taxed?

How is Forex Taxed?

Profits made out of forex trading are subject to capital gain tax. The capital gain here refers to the positive difference between a foreign currency’s selling and buying price. As for the rate of tax, it depends from country to country. 

Any trader planning to trade must know that the profits from forex trading are taxable. Some countries have tax regulations favorable to the trader, while some may have opposing laws. For example, in the United States of America, forex traders can pay taxes under either of the two sections, 988 or 1256. The tax rate between both these sections can range from 15% to 37%. They have different advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

Do You have to Pay Tax on Currency Trading?

Yes, traders are obligated to pay tax on profits made from currency trading. Such profits are considered capital gains and are subject to capital gain tax. Every country has different tax rates and regulations regarding the taxation of such income.

If traders make a profit from forex or currency trading, they sell the currency at a price higher than the purchase price; such gains are taxable. Such taxes are not levied on trades where traders do not make any profit or incur losses. Many countries have different rates and rules regarding the taxation of forex trading profits. The trader must be well aware of such regulations in the country where he is paying the tax.

For example, there are countries where capital gains are taxed the same as personal income tax, like Russia. 

How Do Day Traders Avoid Taxes?

The primary aim of a day trader is to make a profit out of the price movements of different securities in a trading market. These profits, if there are any, are taxable. It is impossible to avoid such taxes completely, especially if a day trader is in the higher tax bracket. However, there are certain ways, like deductions from trading expenses, harvesting the tax loss, and mark-to-market accounting. 

Not everybody can be considered a day trader unless they pass the standards set by the IRS. If so, they can avoid higher tax payments by following certain strategies. Like, traders can show business expense deductions to lighten the burden of higher tax payments. They deduct the expenses like office expenses, software expenses, interest payments on loans, or accounting costs from the income and reduce the taxable income, hence the tax. 

Another technique used by day traders to avoid higher taxes is a wash sale. It includes selling a security at a loss that will eventually adjust their gross income from being in the higher tax bracket. This technique temporarily impacts traders’ income as securities are repurchased later on at a profit. However, the IRS has certain rules regarding the wash sale that are worth knowing before using the technique. 

Which Method is Best for Forex Trading?

No particular forex trading method can be termed the best strategy. There are a few methods that have proved to have provided better results. However, it does not mean that one strategy that worked for one trader would be equally profitable for others. The wise way to find the best forex trading method for yourself is to look for the best trading methods available, understand how they work, and choose the one that aligns with your trading plans and goals.

Some traders are willing to take higher risks for higher profits, while others are satisfied with mediocre gains and do not wish to take higher risks. You can pick a few forex trading strategies or methods according to your trading personality and goals. Some of the most popular forex trading strategies are — Scalping, Movement or Swing Trading, Day Trading, Trend Trading, and Position Trading. 

All the above forex trading methods differ in their benefits and drawbacks. After selecting the one that suits your trading goals and personality, traders must first try them by making small trades. This will help them understand the working of that particular method and know if it will work for them or not. After getting satisfactory results, traders can periodically increase the trade, but not in one go. 

Is Forex Trading Tax-Free in the USA?

No, forex trading is taxable in the USA if a trader is in a profitable position. Every forex trader aims to grow their forex account by making as much as successful trades. As the result of successful trade, the profits are considered capital gains and are taxable. 

There are two sections introduced by the IRS under which a forex trader can be taxed. These are — section 1256 and section 988. Section 1256 is the most common taxation method used and involves the 60/40 capital gain tax. According to this section, 15% tax is charged on 60% of the capital gain, and the remaining 40% is charged according to income tax, which, according to the individual’s tax bracket, can be as high as 37%.

The section 988 tax treatment is generally filed by the traders whose trades did not succeed and resulted in losses. This section allows traders to decrease their taxable income by adjusting such losses. 

How Much Tax Do Traders Pay?

The taxes that a trader pays depend upon their type of trading; long-term trading or short-term trading. Taxes chargeable on short-term trading is comparatively more than that charged on long-term trading or investment.

While long-term trading refers to securities held for more than a year, also known as investment, short-term trading refers to securities held for less than one year. Tax treatment in both cases is different. The effective tax rate for short-term trading can range from 10% to 37%, while it can be 0%, 15%, or 20% for long-term investment.

If an individual investor earns a capital gain of up to $41,675 on their long-term investment, they are exempt from paying taxes. For capital gains ranging from $41,676 to $459,750, the tax rate is 15%, and it is 20% for gains above $459,750.

For short-term capital gains, the minimum tax rate to be paid is 10% on gains up to $10,276. It can go as high as 37% for capital gains above $539,900. These are the tax treatments on the income of individuals. It varies according to the tax filing status, like married filing jointly or separately, or head of household filing for tax. 




Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on:

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