How to Make a 475 Election: A Comprehensive Guide

The Internal Revenue Code Section 475(f) election, commonly known as the mark-to-market election, offers significant tax advantages to eligible taxpayers engaged in securities trading. By making this election, traders can potentially convert capital losses into ordinary losses, thereby maximizing their tax deductions and minimizing their tax liability. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the 475 election, including its eligibility requirements, the election process, and the tax implications of making the election.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to make the 475 election, taxpayers must meet the following criteria:

  • Trader Status: The taxpayer must be considered a trader, as opposed to an investor or dealer. Traders are individuals who engage in frequent buying and selling of securities for their own account, with the primary goal of profiting from short-term price fluctuations.

  • Substantial Trading Activity: The taxpayer must engage in substantial trading activity. This is typically measured by the number of trades, the holding period of the securities, and the percentage of income derived from trading activities.

  • Intent to Profit: The taxpayer must have the intent to profit from trading activities. This is demonstrated by the taxpayer’s trading strategy, research efforts, and overall approach to securities trading.

Election Process

The 475 election is made by attaching a statement to the taxpayer’s income tax return or to a request for an extension of time to file the return. The statement must include the following information:

  • Election Statement: A clear statement that the taxpayer is making an election under Section 475(f).

  • Taxpayer Information: The taxpayer’s name, address, and Social Security number.

  • Trading Account Information: A description of the trading account(s) for which the election is being made, including the account numbers and the name of the brokerage firm(s).

  • Signature: The taxpayer’s signature and the date the election is made.

Tax Implications

Making the 475 election has significant tax implications. The primary benefit is the conversion of capital losses into ordinary losses. This is particularly advantageous because ordinary losses can be used to offset all types of income, including wages, salaries, and business income. In contrast, capital losses are subject to a $3,000 annual limitation.

Additionally, the 475 election allows traders to recognize gains and losses on their trading positions as of the last business day of the tax year. This can result in the acceleration of gains or losses that would otherwise be realized in future years.


Before making the 475 election, taxpayers should carefully consider the following factors:

  • Tax Bracket: The taxpayer’s tax bracket can impact the value of the election. The conversion of capital losses into ordinary losses may be less beneficial for taxpayers in lower tax brackets.

  • Trading Strategy: The taxpayer’s trading strategy should be aligned with the requirements of the 475 election. Traders who hold positions for extended periods or who primarily seek long-term capital gains may not benefit from the election.

  • Tax Planning: The 475 election can have complex tax implications. Taxpayers should consult with a qualified tax professional to assess the potential impact of the election on their overall tax situation.

The 475 election can be a valuable tax planning tool for eligible traders. By converting capital losses into ordinary losses and accelerating the recognition of gains and losses, traders can potentially reduce their tax liability and improve their overall financial position. However, it is crucial to carefully consider the eligibility requirements, tax implications, and potential drawbacks of the election before making a decision.

How to Complete IRS Form 4797 for Section 475(f) Mark-to-Market (MTM) Traders


Can you make a late 475 election?

a late § 475(f)(1) election is denied. Section 475(f)(1) provides that a taxpayer engaged in a trade or business as a trader in securities may elect to apply the mark-to-market method of accounting to securities held in connection with such trade or business.

How do you elect MTM?

To make the mark-to-market election, traders are required to file Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method). IRS Publication 550 describes the procedures in making this election with the IRS.

What is Section 475 of the trader tax status?

Section 475 is mark-to-market (MTM) accounting with ordinary gain or loss treatment. Without it, securities traders use the realization (cash) method with capital gains and loss treatment, including wash sale loss adjustments and the annual $3,000 capital loss limitation. We call it tax-loss insurance.

How do you elect trader status?

Achieving trader tax status is something you cannot elect when you file your taxes. Instead, you have to notify the IRS ahead of time by making a mark to market selection.

Who should make a SEC 475 election?

A working knowledge of what constitutes a trader, dealer, and investor for tax purposes, as well as the delineation between securities and commodities, serves as a basis for identifying those taxpayers who are appropriate candidates to make a Sec. 475 election. Securities traders should always consider making a Sec. 475 (f) election.

What is a 475 election?

The election applies to the following trade or business: Trader in Securities as a sole proprietor (for securities and not Section 1256 contracts).” Attach the 475 election statement to your 2020 tax return or extension. ( See Tips For Traders: Preparing 2020 Tax Returns, Extensions, and 475 Elections .)

When should a new taxpayer make a section 475(F) election?

New taxpayers must make the election no later than two months and 15 days after the start of their year (i.e., March 15, 2022, for new taxpayers that started on January 1, 2022). The determination of whether to make a Section 475 (f) election became more complicated after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “TCJA”).

How do I file a 2024 section 475 election?

Existing taxpayer individuals who qualify for TTS and want Section 475 must file a 2024 Section 475 election statement with their 2023 tax return or extension by April 15, 2024. The second step of a 2024 Section 475 election is to file a 2024 Form 3115 with the 2024 tax return in 2025.

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