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I am an F-1 student in the US and I've been running a high frequency trading bot on GDAX. Coinbase notified me that they've filed a 1099-K form to the IRS on my behalf which contains astronomical numbers, apparently everything I've sold back to them, but does not contain the things I've bought from them (to my understanding these are just my "proceeds" with this jargon). After checking the description of 1099-K, I need to note that I'm not running a business and never claimed to do so in any document.

I don't know if it matters, but after adding up my "costs" I see that I'm at a loss (costs>proceeds) partly due to programming mistakes and partly due to non-realized gains that are still crypto-currencies, which may yield long-term returns in the 2018 tax season. Anyway, I'm at loss right now in terms of USD.

I've been trying to fill my tax return using a service called Sprintax, regarding which my institution sent me numerous e-mails saying I'm compelled me to use this and nothing else to file my return. This software does not have a 1099-K upload. I've checked SE and reddit about this 1099-K form, and see in numerous threads especially regarding Coinbase that people (I believe these people are assumed to be residents of tax purposes) need to file a 8949 and Form 1040 Schedule D if they received a 1099-K. There is no way to upload a 8949 and 1040 Schedule D in Sprintax as well. I've asked Sprintax about these forms in their chat, thinking this is beyond what my school paid for and I need to pay additional for these, Sprintax replied they do not support any of these forms in any sense; it's not an issue with the payment.

So here are the questions:

  1. Which forms need a nonresident alien international scholar fill once they receive a 1099-K? I don't know if I'm searching using the right keyword, but even IRS does not have any specific information regarding my condition, and I started thinking whether I have to do it or not given that this Sprintax service does not support any of these forms.
  2. If I actually need to fill out a 8949 or 1040 Schedule D, how do I fill them out? The 1040 Schedule D looks as if it's a summary which is doable, but form 8949 is asking for transactions and properties, where nobody has defined these descriptions for cryptocurrencies. Like in Box 1a, do I define these as "Bitcoin", "Ether" and so on? And I have thousands of pages of transactions generated by the bot, do I need to fill out each of them as the dates are being asked for?
  3. Given that I need to fill out some forms, how do I combine them with the Sprintax generated forms?
  • any updates on the tax return you guys filed last year? I am stuck with the exact same situation – Finn Yip Apr 3 at 1:52
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I am in the exact same boat as you are! An F-1 student high-frequency trading on GDAX.

I found this page on irs.gov website that describes how to report capital gains for international students with F visa status. According to it you should report capital gains/losses on page 4 (Schedule NEC) of form 1040NR, not on a schedule D or a 8949. I used bitcoin.tax to calculate and export my capital gains/losses to a csv file, which is about 120 pages when printed. I will attach those to 1040NR page 4, line 16.

  • Thanks for further clarification @webfarer , I eventually ended up going to a local account & tax office, which prepared it for a price much better than I expected. I have to warn you though, they gave me all 3, the Schedule NEC and also the 1040 Schedule D and the 8949. bitcoin.tax did not give me anything saying my volume is too large. – nonKreon Apr 5 '18 at 17:45

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