What is Expiry Date? Definition of Expiry Date, Expiry ...

ATO Australian tax treatment for options trades 🇦🇺

I am posting this as I hope it will help other Australian options traders trading in US options with their tax treatment for ATO (Australian Tax Office) purposes. The ATO provides very little guidance on tax treatment for options trading and I had to do a lot of digging to get to this point. I welcome any feedback on this post.

The Deloitte Report from 2011

My initial research led me to this comprehensive Deloitte report from 2011 which is hosted on the ASX website. I've been through this document about 20 times and although it's a great report to understand how different scenarios apply, it's still really hard to find out what's changed since 2011.
I am mainly relating myself to the scenario of being an individual and non-sole trader (no business set up) for my trading. I think this will apply to many others here too. According to that document, there isn't much guidance on what happens when you're an options premium seller and close positions before they expire.
Note that the ATO sometimes uses the term "ETO" (Exchange Traded Option) to discuss what we're talking about here with options trading.
Also note: The ATO discusses the separate Capital Gains Tax ("CGT") events that occur in each scenario in some of their documents. A CGT event will then determine what tax treatment gets applied if you don't know much about capital gains in Australia.

ATO Request for Advice

Since the Deloitte report didn't answer my questions, I eventually ended up contacting the ATO with a request for advice and tried to explain my scenario: I'm an Australian resident for tax purposes, I'm trading with tastyworks in $USD, I'm primarily a premium seller and I don't have it set up with any business/company/trust etc. In effect, I have a rough idea that I'm looking at capital gains tax but I wanted to fully understand how it worked.
Initially the ATO respondent didn't understand what I was talking about when I said that I was selling a position first and buying it to close. According to the laws, there is no example of this given anywhere because it is always assumed in ATO examples that you buy a position and sell it. Why? I have no idea.
I sent a follow up request with even more detail to the ATO. I think (hope) they understood what I meant now after explaining what an options premium seller is!

Currency Gains/Losses

First, I have to consider translating my $USD to Australian dollars. How do we treat that?
FX Translation
If the premium from selling the options contract is received in $USD, do I convert it to $AUD on that day it is received?
ATO response:
Subsection 960-50(6), Item 5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) states the amount should be translated at the time of the transaction or event for the purposes of the Capital Gains Tax provisions. For the purpose of granting an option to an entity, the time of the event is when you grant the option (subsection 104-20(2) ITAA 1997).
This is a very detailed response which even refers to the level of which section in the law it is coming from. I now know that I need to translate my trades from $USD to $AUD according to the RBA's translation rates for every single trade.
But what about gains or losses on translation?
There is one major rule that overrides FX gains and losses after digging deeper. The ATO has a "$250k balance election". This will probably apply to a lot of people trading in balances below $250k a lot of the FX rules don't apply. It states:
However, the $250,000 balance election broadly enables you to disregard certain foreign currency gains and losses on certain foreign currency denominated bank accounts and credit card accounts (called qualifying forex accounts) with balances below a specified limit.
Therefore, I'm all good disregarding FX gains and losses! I just need to ensure I translate my trades on the day they occurred. It's a bit of extra admin to do unfortunately, but it is what it is.

Credit Trades

This is the scenario where we SELL a position first, collect premium, and close the position by making an opposite BUY order. Selling a naked PUT, for example.
What happens when you open the position? ATO Response:
The option is grantedCGT event D2 happens when a taxpayer grants an option. The time of the event is when the option is granted. The capital gain or loss arising is the difference between the capital proceeds and the expenditure incurred to grant the option.
This seems straight forward. We collect premium and record a capital gain.
What happens when you close the position? ATO Response:
Closing out an optionThe establishment of an ETO contract is referred to as opening a position (ASX Explanatory Booklet 'Understanding Options Trading'). A person who writes (sells) a call or put option may close out their position by taking (buying) an identical call or put option in the same series. This is referred to as the close-out of an option or the closing-out of an opening position.
CGT event C2 happens when a taxpayer's ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends. Paragraph 104-25(1)(a) of the ITAA 1997 provides that ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends by cancellation, surrender, or release or similar means.
CGT event C2 therefore happens to a taxpayer when their position under an ETO is closed out where the close-out results in the cancellation, release or discharge of the ETO.
Under subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997 you make a capital gain from CGT event C2 if the capital proceeds from the ending are more than the assets cost base. You make a capital loss if those capital proceeds are less than the assets reduced cost base.
Both CGT events (being D2 upon granting the option and C2 upon adopting the close out position) must be accounted for if applicable to a situation.
My take on this is that the BUY position that cancels out your SELL position will most often simply realise a capital loss (the entire portion of your BUY position). In effect, it 'cancels out' your original premium sold, but it's not recorded that way, it's recorded as two separate CGT events - your capital gain from CGT event D2 (SELL position), then, your capital loss from CGT event C2 (BUY position) is also recorded. In effect, they net each other out, but you don't record them as a 'netted out' number - you record them separately.
From what I understand, if you were trading as a sole tradecompany then you would record them as a netted out capital gain or loss, because the trades would be classified as trading stock but not in our case here as an individual person trading options. The example I've written below should hopefully make that clearer.
EXAMPLE:
Trade on 1 July 2020: Open position
Trade on 15 July 2020: Close position
We can see from this simple example that even though you made a gain on those trades, you still have to record the transactions separately, as first a gain, then as a loss. Note that it is not just a matter of netting off the value of the net profit collected and converting the profit to $AUD because the exchange rate will be different on the date of the opening trade and on the date of the closing trade we have to record them separately.

What if you don't close the position and the options are exercised? ATO Response:
The option is granted and then the option is exercisedUnder subsection 104-40(5) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) the capital gain or loss from the CGT event D2 is disregarded if the option is exercised. Subsection 134-1(1), item 1, of the ITAA 1997 refers to the consequences for the grantor of the exercise of the option.
Where the option binds the grantor to dispose of a CGT asset section 116-65 of the ITAA 1997 applies to the transaction.
Subsection 116-65(2) of the ITAA 1997 provides that the capital proceeds from the grant or disposal of the shares (CGT asset) include any payment received for granting the option. The disposal of the shares is a CGT event A1 which occurs under subsection 104-10(3) of the ITAA 1997 when the contract for disposal is entered into.
You would still make a capital gain at the happening of the CGT event D2 in the year the event occurs (the time the option is granted). That capital gain is disregarded when the option is exercised. Where the option is exercised in the subsequent tax year, the CGT event D2 gain is disregarded at that point. An amendment may be necessary to remove the gain previously included in taxable income for the year in which the CGT event D2 occurred.
This scenario is pretty unlikely - for me personally I never hold positions to expiration, but it is nice to know what happens with the tax treatment if it ultimately does come to that.

Debit Trades

What about the scenario when you want to BUY some options first, then SELL that position and close it later? Buying a CALL, for example. This case is what the ATO originally thought my request was about before I clarified with them. They stated:
When you buy an ETO, you acquire an asset (the ETO) for the amount paid for it (that is, the premium) plus any additional costs such as brokerage fees and the Australian Clearing House (ACH) fee. These costs together form the cost base of the ETO (section 109-5 of the ITAA 1997). On the close out of the position, you make a capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the cost base of the ETO and the amount received on its expiry or termination (subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997). The capital gain or loss is calculated on each parcel of options.
So it seems it is far easier to record debit trades for tax purposes. It is easier for the tax office to see that you open a position by buying it, and close it by selling it. And in that case you net off the total after selling it. This is very similar to a trading shares and the CGT treatment is in effect very similar (the main difference is that it is not coming under CGT event A1 because there is no asset to dispose of, like in a shares or property trade).

Other ATO Info (FYI)

The ATO also referred me to the following documents. They relate to some 'decisions' that they made from super funds but the same principles apply to individuals they said.
The ATO’s Interpretative Decision in relation to the tax treatment of premiums payable and receivable for exchange traded options can be found on the links below. Please note that the interpretative decisions below are in relation to self-managed superannuation funds but the same principles would apply in your situation [as an individual taxpayer, not as a super fund].
Premiums Receivable: ATO ID 2009/110

Some tips

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Gold and Silver rocket ride - 110k in 1 month

Gold and Silver rocket ride - 110k in 1 month
IMPORTANT: OVER 75% OF PEOPLE LOSE MONEY WITH CFD TRADING. IF YOU'RE A NOOB, DON'T EVEN THINK OF OPENING A CFD ACCOUNT. TRY MAKING CONSISTENT MONEY SWING TRADING ASX STONKS FIRST. THEN KEEP DOING THAT UNTIL YOU GET BORED AND WANT TO LOSE BIG MONEY VERY QUICKLY. ONLY THEN YOU MAY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO TRADE WITH LEVERAGE.
You most likely don't have my discipline and pain tolerance. Or my feel for risk/reward math. On top of this you need markets to play nice and a bit of luck.
I'm no wiz, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. I smell a good setup and prepare accordingly.
Hope you all nail your big opportunity when it shows up. If not, that's okay too. You'll keep getting chances. Be patient. Focus on small wins. Plus there's far more important things in life than being loaded.
------
How I lost 5k trading CFDs then turned it around
Back in April, I was playing with CFDs and nearly blew up my account. Started with $5k and dropped to almost zero because trading forex with leverage is a very stupid game. This is why IG gives you a demo account. But instead of using the demo account to learn how not to fuck up massively, I was using it to place giant YOLO shorts on US markets.
By being a bit less retarded on the forex trades I clawed back some losses then topped up the account with another $2.5k before starting to open small positions in gold. From 3 to 10 contracts depending on how confident I felt. Then smelling a massive opportunity, I ramped up the leverage by going with much larger positions.
Day 5
https://preview.redd.it/oqd955abwak51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=84aa309284c22117630899e39b8b1bfb89c670f3
Entering the silver trade
It was only after making decent profits in gold that I dared venture into silver. I wanted to enter silver around $18 but missed the boat after waiting too long for a dip. $20 was still great. Tons of upside left.
Silver is one nasty motherfucker to trade. It's a much smaller market than gold so the swings can be wild. Silver will play along nicely then suddenly fuck you really hard. If you use too much leverage you're basically waiting for your account to blow up. Stop losses will save you, but they can also kill your best trades. I didn't bother with stops for most of the ride because I'm an ASX_bets retard but also because I had ultra high conviction in the $25-27 price target.
Started with 25 contracts. I very nearly missed out on this mini pump. Some might call it luck.
Day 18
https://preview.redd.it/de8jozlexak51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=79d174c67a86754c7d9fd78aa594f88282c08834
Adding to my silver positions
Increased my position size once I had a profit buffer to protect against sharp drops. It's WAY easier to blow up a CFD account than it appears. When trades are going well you feel like you can keep adding leverage and make millions. But even small swings will kill you if your positions are too big. Discipline is key.
Buying 50 contracts in silver is not the same as 50 contracts in gold because silver moves are 2-4 times bigger. When gold moves 100 points, expect a 200-400 points move in silver. Having an equal mix of gold an silver contracts helped lower the overall volatility of my account.
Anything over 10 contracts in silver is big. You can lose hundreds within minutes. Buy 50 contracts, the price drops $1 and you're $5000 in the hole. I knew when to push and when to hold back. This was EXTREMELY important. I did not get greedy. I was happy to let price moves do most of the lifting.
Started the day with 3k profits. Went to bed that night with big beautiful bhags. 17k
https://preview.redd.it/qcbeoxvnxak51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=4228593b9d86cc5f0460f44af06c7292ea644625
Day 19
Woke up the next morning with even bigger bhags. 30k
https://preview.redd.it/9b439y5qxak51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=19e3ad27d7237bc88fdeb329ebcd113e11349554
Day 24
More pump. I added 50 silver contracts that day after a decent drop. Profits now up to around 41k.
Held through the big swings...
Like a proper bitch, Silver dropped another 5% soon after I added those 50 contracts and my 41k profit became 20k very suddenly. But no stop loss and I held firmly. What's a 21k drop when you've been down 35k on BBOZ before. Metals bounced back hard later that evening. Still not selling. High conviction made all the difference here.
Five days later and I was up to 50k profit.
At that point, I felt safe enough to add another 50 contracts.
https://preview.redd.it/j2at0n95zck51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=4a0ea2fabe6a245807fb9ee8a8d0bc4ce854ba3a
And it paid off BIG
Both gold and silver keep pumping. Profit now 86k.
Day 28
https://preview.redd.it/f3pz0an8zck51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=0ca765b6cad423786dee33a1366c70d324e39b8d
Why sell now?
Not selling yet. GV's silver target was $25-27 so I was confident holding through some wild swings.
GV = Gold Ventures https://twitter.com/thelastdegree
A turbo chad from Belgium who made a massive fortune trading options during 2008-2011 when silver went from $9 to $50 before crashing hard. GV is a certified wizard when it comes to timing the gold and silver cycles. Started with his wife's 32k savings and is now worth 18 million EUR or USD, I'm not sure and who cares. GV is pretty low key but commands plenty of respect from other metal traders on Twitter.
Meanwhile GV was on holiday but still shitting money.
https://preview.redd.it/ixsxwjx30dk51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=9fd5741634a7a5b0f913f5ea12edf05722f9fddf
GV also has a junior miner portfolio worth several millions. I believe it's true. I went deep into his Twitter history. He was buying heavily into the March crash and some of his picks like AbraPlata have since made 10x. Junior miners are like call options on metal prices with no expiry date but you still need to pick winners and enteexit at the right time.
Magical Six Figure Milestone
Not long after... BOOM! Hit 100k in profit.
When starting, I knew there was potentially 40k-50k to be made from this setup even without playing it perfectly. I would have been okay with 20k.
Day 32
https://preview.redd.it/oy8sqsgz1dk51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=a8c628670578b81d72b9a41bd9d2307a27a2fbf7
Start taking profits
Silver was still going strong but I felt it was time to de-risk.
So I started taking profits on both gold and silver around that time.
https://preview.redd.it/gvdqs67a2dk51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=64a77d3ccca86fe6e29eb43e0c2eaf096f68867c
Okay I'm out
The way silver kept pumping, I knew a big correction was imminent. By 12pm I was completely out with over 110k profit. Home and dry.
I went on with my daily work routine, a bit more relaxed and not checking charts every 5 minutes.
And then metals dumped hard.
There was money to be made on the short side but there was also a strong possibility of shorts being squeezed. So I didn't bother.
https://preview.redd.it/opoio79i2dk51.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=80187384d37e03eec8d01814248bbe4c5a48cc4f
After the dump, I had no appetite to get back in with big positions. In hindsight I could have made tons more if I held to $29 but the ride from $24 to $29 is far more risky than $20 to $26. I'm quite okay with my 40x performance. Plus I needed to reset mentally after this rocket ride. More often than not, the best thing to do after a huge trading win is to take a break. Wisdom gained from the BBOZ days :)
Withdrew my initial capital and 90% of the profits from IG. Left around 6k on the account to keep playing.
https://preview.redd.it/1djdhz1m2dk51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c028a06d4e0cf73bfb80f8ac48dd18e333b791d4
Feels good to have extra funds to invest with but I also need to set some aside for the monster tax bill next year. You're welcome Australia, and all the JobSeekeJobKeeper leeches.
Hey everyone, check out my insane stats!
That 85% win rate though...
  • IG MARKETS - TRADE ANALYTICS - 29 JUNE TO 29 JULY
https://preview.redd.it/slkmhrlq2dk51.png?width=1272&format=png&auto=webp&s=b15b261144d3cd55c1d28530a80efd30c49f3125
Less impressive when zooming out to include the forex train wreck in April and my more recent metal trades.
  • IG MARKETS - TRADE ANALYTICS - 1 JANUARY TO 17 AUGUST
https://preview.redd.it/jam28zau2dk51.png?width=1272&format=png&auto=webp&s=99fd332c319984f1de28d1ec7e6a58df2754946d
-----
Credits to:
https://twitter.com/thelastdegree - already covered above
https://twitter.com/DaveHcontrarian - called the metals and S&P500 bull runs
https://twitter.com/AdamMancini4 - simple yet powerful charts
https://twitter.com/badcharts1 - advanced silver charts
https://twitter.com/graddhybpc - advanced gold and silver charts
https://twitter.com/Northst18363337 - another master of charts
https://twitter.com/bhagdip143 - ultimate master of monster position and making bhags
BTW fuck Facebook groups, you'll hardly learn anything there. Full of losers. Twitter is where the elite traders and big dick fund managers bounce ideas. A solid Twitter list is worth thousands if not millions in the right hands.
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