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Robinhood has plenty of docs explaining the tax concepts with trading, and this is not particularly mysterious. But what I am wondering is what sort of documents to expect them to provide come tax time, and how that might vary by your behavior in the market.

Consider this totally improbable scenario-

Suppose you have $1000 to invest in some crypto. Suppose you watch one that has a reasonably consistent rise and fall pattern. Suppose every day you sold more or less at a high, and gained an average of 5% per day. Then you buy $1000 worth again at midnight and do the whole thing over again next day.

So your history would look something like this:

  • -$1000 initial investment
  • +$1050 sale
  • -$1000 today investment
  • +$1050 sale
  • -$1000 today investment
  • +$1050 sale

Assuming you dumped that surplus $50 back into your actual bank account each day, in theory you would end up owing whatever the tax rate is for the $150 in gains that is currently in the bank. Now, imagine this behavior every day for the whole year.

What I want to know is how do I know that I am going to have the cost/gains report in a comprehensible source? Even if I have to compile it myself, I am yet uncertain if robinhood will provide some kind of document that allows me to separate and calculate this myself. I am pretty sure the pattern above would result in a 1099 saying they paid me $3150 and obviously I would be digging my own grave if I proceeded to pay taxes on that figure without factoring what I paid into it.

So, is it up to me to keep careful records of how much I put in, and how that money was realized (gain/loss) or will there be something at least a little closer to a "how much you put in" and "how much you put out" ...

  • in: $3000
  • out: $3150
  • gain/loss: +$150

This situation is fictional, of course. So we don't need to discuss the probability of the situation, only the outcome. If I expect to buy and sell crypto daily, how meticulous do I have to be with my own book keeping? Or does anyone know what you get from Robinhood, and whether or not the documents they give you are straight forward enough for the standard human to read?

Thanks

2
  • I recently learned about the Wash Sale Rule. Its not an answer to your question, but from the phrasing, its something you may want to make sure you understand. From what I understand, failing to understand it can lead to painful consequences, such as having a tax bill orders of magnitude greater than the gains from the security being traded. – Cort Ammon May 5 at 18:46
  • the wash sale rule only disallows arbitrary loss harvesting. There is no application in this situation when there are only gains. Also, it wouldn't result a great deal more tax when taking some losses. If you're trading the same security and you can't deduct temporary losses, those losses are still factored in to your cost basis in the next trade. You don't just lose them. investopedia.com/terms/w/washsalerule.asp – hedgedandlevered May 5 at 22:48
15

Robinhood (like other brokers in the US) will produce a Consolidated Form 1099 for your use in filing taxes. They will show all the individual trades (that have tax implications), as well as provide a summary grouped by term (short/long/undetermined) and Form 8949 type (basis reported to the IRS, basis not reported to the IRS, etc). The consolidated 1099 will also show any applicable interest/dividends (so it will have sections for 1099-DIV, 1099-B, and 1099-INT). Here's a sample summary section:

Sample of 1099-B Summary Section

Mind their note about referring to the actual 1099-B (full detail of trades that have tax implications) and Proceeds not reported to the IRS pages to make sure everything is ship-shape.

There's tax software that will ingest these forms for you, but if not using one that does you can input the summary level information at the level of detail they group to in the sample above, so one entry for all your crypto short-term gain/loss with basis reported to the IRS, one for long-term with basis reported to the IRS, etc. If you traded on multiple brokers I would enter the summarized information from each separately, but not sure offhand if that is a requirement.

If you trade with multiple brokers the forms they provide might not accurately reflect wash-sales since they have no knowledge of what happens in your other accounts, so you'll have to make sure that gets handled properly.

Robinhood also provides monthly statements that will show all trades, so there's no need to manually track your trades for tax purposes but some prefer to for other reasons.

1
  • Great! That's basically the info I was looking for. – Kai Qing May 5 at 5:06

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