Self-Employment Tax for Future Traders?

Discussion in 'Taxes and Accounting' started by Felix, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Felix


    Hi all,

    that's my first posting on this board. I'm currently living in Europe, but may be immigrating to the U.S. in a couple of months.

    I'm daytrading futures with my private money, such as ES and NQ minis. As a U.S. resident, my income would be subject to U.S. tax laws. I've already learnt about the difference between investors and traders for tax purposes and various accounting methods.

    What I'm unsure about is the self-employment tax that may be collected by IRS. If someone is classified as a trader, his income from trading will be business income. IRS publication 533 states that traders in securities ("buying and selling securities for your own account") are not subject to SE tax. On the other hand, dealers in options and commodities ("section 1256 contracts") are subject to SE tax.

    In my understanding, "dealers" are persons trading other people's money, those running a brokerage business, or those who own seats at a commodity exchange. "Trader" is the private guy who is managing his own funds from home.

    Is there any difference in tax treatment between (a) private stock/security traders and (b) private futures/commodity traders, in particular with regard to SE taxes?

    Thanks for clarifications.:)
  2. It has always been my interpretation that a personal traders income was exempt from SE Tax. You are still trading your own funds and not any client funds. Trading client funds would change your designation to "dealer".

    Don't be confused by the title of the IRS publications.

    You are exempt as I understand.

    Best of luck to all