Promoters are betting this product will take off once the market has greater surety about its tax status, writes Samantha Keen. Spread betting could take off in Australia if the Australian Taxation Office ever makes a ruling that investment winnings on such products come from gambling and are therefore tax-free. The problem is that the market has been waiting for a ruling from the ATO since September , and there is no sign of one yet.
The ATO says it cannot give any indication of when it may release a ruling on the tax position of winnings from spread betting. According to an ATO media spokesperson: "We are still considering our position and as soon as that is finalised we will issue a ruling. Spread betting allows speculators to trade on the likely movement of shares or an index over a set period. The promoters have been telling the ATO this form of trading is the same as gambling, and therefore wins are not taxable, and the costs and losses are not deductible.
In the UK, where spread betting originated, it is regarded as gambling and has been for about 40 years. Spread betting was launched in Australia about four years ago by financial trading house IG Markets, the Australian arm of IG Group, at the same time as it launched contracts for difference CFDs in the domestic market.
But in Australia, financial spread betting is a more controversial derivatives product than in the UK, because of the uncertainty about its tax status. There are a number of groups ready to launch spread betting in Australia, should the ATO come out in favour of tax-free winnings for the product. IG Markets managing director Matthew Wilson says the market for spread betting will increase as soon as any ruling is made, whether or not it is in favour of tax-free winnings.
Wilson says IG Markets's spread-betting clientele already comprises about one-quarter the size of its total CFD consumer base, despite the tax uncertainty. However, Wilson says that the market for spread betting in Australia is likely to take off if the ATO ruled that winnings on the product are not subject to capital gains tax.
He says that existing clients have submitted tax returns that include their winnings on spread betting. The ATO has awarded one IG client the winnings from spread bets as tax-free, while another was refused tax-free status on the grounds it was investing as a business. It is not carried out on a commercial exchange.
There has previously been controversy surrounding the legality of the product. IG Markets's parent, IG Index, challenged the legality question by suing the NSW government for defamation about comments that related to its spread-betting advertisements. IG successfully argued that as the company had obtained a financial services licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, spread betting was legal.
As such it could not be declared illegal under NSW gaming legislation on the grounds that IG didn't hold a gaming licence, as a spokesman for the then state gaming minister Richard Face had claimed in CFDs are not considered to be a betting transaction as they are more of a straight derivatives transaction with tax owed on profits, and losses counting as tax deductions.
Instead, the trader is betting on where they think the price of a particular market will move to. The trader is given an option to place a bet size per point the market moves. For example, if a spread better believes the currency pair GBP. USD would rise they would enter a buy or long position.
The trader would lose 10 GBP for every point the market moved in the opposite direction of their trade. When trading with CFDs, the trader is trading a contract based on the price of the underlying market. Instead of a trader buying physical assets from their broker such as currency or company shares , or betting on the market, they can simply enter a contract with their broker instead. The contract is to exchange the difference in the value of an asset from the price of the contract when it is first opened, to the price when the contract is closed.
The value of a contract differs depending on the market you are trading. This is because when trading currencies one CFD is equivalent to , units of currency. Both spread betting and CFD trading allow traders to speculate on the price direction of a particular market using leverage , thereby enabling traders to open positions with only a small deposit of the full trade size.
Of course, the same also applies to losses. Traders risk losing their deposit faster when using leverage — so use it cautiously! While there are many similarities there are also some core differences between spread betting and CFD trading as the spread betting vs CFD trading table below shows:.
Tax law may differ in jurisdictions outside of the UK. The spread betting vs CFD table covered in the last section shows the main similarities and differences between the two trading vehicles. However, there are two big differences between spread betting and CFDs that traders need to be aware of.
For UK residents, spread betting is free from stamp duty and capital gains tax. For CFD trading no stamp duty is payable but you do have to pay capital gains tax. While some traders may be enticed by the lower levels of tax associated with spread betting there are some disadvantages when compared with CFD trading.
Spread bettors cannot offset any losses for tax purposes. CFD traders have the ability to offset any losses against future profits. This is a general example and does not take individual circumstances into account. You should consult a professional accountant regarding your tax situation. Most spread betting providers have their own unique trading platforms whereas there are many more CFD brokers who use the world's most popular trading platform, MetaTrader. Simply click on the banner below:.
When choosing between CFD or spread betting there are many things to take into consideration. While the tax situation may be the most obvious difference to choose between, there are other considerations that could have a bigger impact on your overall profitability. For example, spread betting and CFD trading allows for trading on the same markets, including Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities and Cryptocurrencies.
This enables traders to receive institutional-grade spreads and lower spreads mean lower costs, which could result in higher profits. As spread betting involves betting on the view of prices either going up or down, it cannot offer the ability to trade with banks or hedge funds and receive institutional-grade spreads. As CFDs involve trading the underlying market price via contracts, traders can access the ability to trade directly with banks and hedge funds to receive lower spreads and lightning fast execution.
For example, with the Admiral Markets Zero. To open an account, visit Account Types. This means you can gain access to the latest real-time market data, access the latest trading insights from expert traders and try out CFD trading for yourself in a completely risk-free environment!
Admiral Markets is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8, financial instruments via the world's most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today! This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or recommendation for any transactions in financial instruments. Charts for financial instruments in this article are for illustrative purposes.
Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.
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You should upgrade or use an alternative browser. Thread starter RichKid Start date Oct 10, Jump to new. Joined Jun 18, Posts 3, Reactions 3. Does anyone know much about financial spread betting? You more or less bet on the direction of a share price or index. IG determines the spread. IG has many markets and method built around it. The main advantage is supposed to be that you don't pay tax but that is controversial.
I asked for a PDS but they didn't send me one. IG and the taxpayer involved plan to appeal it and litigate the matter if required but I have not found any cases. Apparently the NSW gambling industry is not too happy about it as it would mean more competition. Factors that may be taken into account in deciding if a taxpayer is carrying on a business include whether the gambling is conducted in a systematic, organised and businesslike way, the volume and size of the gambling, whether the gambling is related to, or part of, other activities of a businesslike character,whether the form of gambling is likely to reward skill or judgment or depend largely on chance and whether the taxpayer is gambling principally for profit or for pleasure.
We are aware that the ATO has issued a private ruling under which it has ruled, in respect of the individual seeking the ruling, that the winnings were assessable as income and as a capital gain on the basis, amongst other things, that entering into a spread bet is so likely to reward skill and judgement and so commercial in nature that winnings will be assessable income, even if it is accepted that the bet is gambling, is not made in the course of carrying on a business and is an isolated transaction.
The individual who has received the ruling has informed us that they will be objecting against the ruling, and that if they do not receive a satisfactory response, they in conjunction with us will pursue the matter as a test case through the court system, to establish a judicial ruling on whether winnings are assessable income and losses are allowable deductions. The above is a summary only and should not be relied upon as being applicable to your own circumstances. If you require further information, you may wish to consult the ATO.
Consult your tax adviser We strongly recommend that you consult your own tax adviser before deciding to open an account and enter into any Spread Betting transactions. I'm really attracted to the idea of not paying tax! The info above is only how I see it, as I normally just stick to simple transactions I may have got something wrong so let me know. Post reply.
Nobody likes paying for them, but they are a necessary evil. You need to stay aware of any developments or changes that could impact your obligations. You never know, it could save you some serious cash. The end of the tax year is fast approaching. All of a sudden you have hundreds of trades that the tax man wants to see individual accounts of.
That amount of paperwork is a serious headache. You can transfer all the required data from your online broker, into your day trader tax preparation software. If you want to be ready for the end of tax year, then get your hands on some day trader tax software, such as Turbotax. Day trading and paying taxes, you cannot have one without the other.
Taxes in trading remain a complex minefield. Unfortunately, they are not avoidable and the consequences of failing to meet your tax responsibilities can be severe. Utilising software and seeking professional advice can all help you towards becoming a tax efficient day trader. Bonus Offer. Low Deposit.
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Note: For trading of international shares the 0. A: Capital Gains Tax does not apply in Ireland either so gains from spread betting in Eire are also tax-free. My understanding is that under current legislation places like Wales and Australia are also free of capital gains tax. A: The reason is to raise money for the government and no you can't claim it back! Spread betting gains are also not subject to Capital Gains Tax.
Note that aside from Ireland and the UK, Switzerland and Greece also charge stamp on equity transactions. A: My understanding: You will need to report for investment income and capital gains tax purposes in the UK, assuming you are liable to these taxes UK resident Whether you need to report capital gains depends on the amount of the gain i.
You can claim a deduction against UK tax for US withholding tax and the commissions paid. You are theoretically liable for any currency gains. The HRMC website has booklets covering most of this. You will need to keep records to help complete your UK tax return. Unfortunately, the tax summary you get from the US broker will be of no use given they start and end their tax years differently to the UK.
You will be asked to complete a W8 IRS form by your broker not difficult so they have evidence you are not a US resident. Spread betting removes all this hassle no reporting, currency moves, etc. However, it is not suited to allow investors. A: It might be best if you consulted a specialised accounting firm on these matters First, be warned that making a living from spread betting like any gambling for that matter is a high risk venture and you might want to consider having a back-up plan to fall back on.
I would strongly urge anyone against using his life savings to spread bet with. In fact it might be wise to setup a betting bank for the spread betting to avoid mixing living costs and requirements from gambling results as no matter how successful you might turn out to be - it will still be a roller-coaster as far as profits and losses go.
No, you wouldn't as personal gambling profits are outside the taxation system. However, having said this you might want to consider setting up in some sort of self-employed capacity to produce some stability in earnings in which case you would register. Would I need to fill in a self-assessment form each year even if it is free from any taxation? Hand it in to the job centre when you register as unemployed. Or a new employer if you went part-time. If you have no job and you aren't registered as self-employed then you would not be paying national insurance but you shouild still pay at least a little amount each financial year to mantain your full pension entitlement.
Also, if I choose to be self-employed as well as doing spread betting would I need to declare my winnings with HMRC i. You might want to keep reasonable records of self-employed income and your spread betting activities statements, bank transfers to and from your spread betting company A: I don't believe there should be any liability National Insurance.
A: I am based in the UK and have asked the same question of my accountant. My current situation is such that I do some part-time work through my own consultancy ltd company which pays income tax. Her answer was along the lines that as long as I was registered with the I. I have trawled the governments website for info and test cases but they are very vague and couldn't give me a straight answer when I rang them myself.
So it appears that if your only source of income is from spread betting then it may be classified as normal income and therefore becomes taxable. The revenue already have a tax status for full timers referring them as 'professional gamblers'. The case was proven a long-time ago with someone who made his income off the horses.
I've not heard of any spread-betters being taken up like this, but the principle is the same. This means that spreadbetting is only tax free if it is not your main source of income; for example if you also have a day job. Thus to be on the safe side and avoid tax on spread betting you might want to get another side job , say hours a week preferably on weekends, when the market is closed - then you could always say that's your primary income. However, I would say that if the revenue starts going after people who make money spread betting then it would get reported widely and the end result would be to kill the industry with new account opening plummeting and no taxes would be raised from it anymore.
And Gordon knows he makes more money taxing the spread bet losses A: A tax charge is incurred only if a person is providing you with an advisory service - in your case I would understand that there is a verbal understanding between friends and an informal agreement that you will participate in any ensuing trading profits - as your friend would be placing the spread bets under his own representation and also on your own behalf any transfers to your bank account would be a receipt from spread betting and therefore would not be taxable.
Derivative rules stipulate that any spread betting profits made under the name of a company are taxed as income so corporation tax would then be payable. In these circumstances losses would also, however, be deductible against other income and could be carried forward against other income. A: Clubs are certainly able to spread bet with out paying CGT.
Without going too far into the intricacies of Stamp Duty and how it is calculated, this liability can be instantly removed from the equation when dealing with spread betting. In order to realise a profit on a share transaction, you generally have to resell your shares, and this speculation with the intention to resell tends to be the core reason for most share purchases.
This is where the most considerable tax burden comes into play — at the point of disposal. Capital Gains Tax is paid by UK individuals on any gains made on the disposal of capital. Effectively, CGT performs the same function as income tax on capital profits, and is charged at different rates depending on your level of capital and income. Not only is CGT expensive, but it is also highly complicated, and can be a significant administrative burden for traders, not to mention its financial impact.
In spread betting, no assets are changing hands. No transaction is taking place. No assets are being sold. The exception to the rule is where spread betting forms the core of your day to day income, at which point you will be liable to income tax on your earnings as with any other trade, business or job. However, as a starting point this can save a substantial proportion of your profits from the hands of the taxman, leaving more cash in your pocket at the end of the day.
The significant savings afforded by the more preferable taxation of spread betting gains are one of the major pull factors for traders, and particularly when combined with the leverage effect of spread betting, can have a dramatic impact on the profitability of your trading activities. Question: Is financial spread betting really tax free? Answer: Financial spread trading is only available in the UK and Ireland, in other countries you would need to use other trading instruments such as futures or shares and these products are subject to tax.
Also, as spread betting falls under the gambling regime, the taxman collects more tax from your provider.