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If you trade in options -- securities that offer the ability to buy or sell a stock at a particular price -- you may be surprised when it comes to tax season. Purchases and sales of options are not reported on your 1099 forms along with your other investment income. This does not mean, however, that you do not have to report income earned through such trades on your annual tax return.
If you write puts or calls, the premium you receive from the option buyer is only reportable once the option is exercised, is closed or expires. If the option is executed, the premium is added to the cost of buying or selling the stock and factored in to any resulting gain or loss. If the option is closed or expires, the premium is recognized as your short-term gain at that time, regardless of how long the option was open.
If you allow an option to expire, the value of the premium you paid to acquire the option is now lost. You can report this loss on Schedule D of your 1040 form and use it to offset your gains for the year. If you execute an option, the value of the premium is added to the cost basis of the purchased stock. This lowers the amount of capital gain you receive when you sell the option in the future. You do not have to report the purchase or exercise of an option -- all tax obligations are attached to the gain at the time of sale.