January 27, 2021
US: Updated 2020 Section 1256 qualified board or exchange list
This Tax Alert updates previously issued lists of Internal Revenue Code1 Section 1256 qualified boards or exchanges.
Generally, a taxpayer must mark to market transactions qualifying as Section 1256 contracts at the end of each tax year as if such transactions were sold for fair market value.2 Subject to certain exceptions, any gain or loss on a Section 1256 contract is treated as 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss, regardless of how long the taxpayer actually held the contract.3
Section 1256 contracts include (among other things) regulated futures contracts and non-equity options.4 A regulated futures contract is a contract that is (i) marked to market on a daily basis to determine the amount that the taxpayer must deposit to its margin account to cover losses, or the amount that it may withdraw from such account as a result of favorable price changes during the day, and (ii) traded on or subject to the rules of a qualified board or exchange.5 A non-equity option is an option (other than an “equity” option) that is traded on or subject to the rules of a qualified board or exchange.6 A “qualified board or exchange” means (i) a national securities exchange, (ii) a domestic board of trade, or (iii) any other exchange, board of trade, or other market that the Secretary determines has rules adequate to carry out the purposes of Section 1256.
Qualified board or exchange
Section 1256(g)(7) defines a qualified board or exchange (QBE) as (1) a national securities exchange that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), (2) a domestic board of trade designated as a contract market by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or (3) any other market that the Secretary determines has rules adequate to carry out the purposes of the section. Below is a list of exchanges and boards that qualify as QBEs under Section 1256(g)(7).
A “national securities exchange” is a securities exchange that has registered with the SEC under Section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Below are the securities exchanges registered with the SEC under Section 6(a) of the Exchange Act as national securities exchanges:
Certain exchanges are also registered with the SEC through a notice filing under Section 6(g) of the Exchange Act for the purpose of trading security futures. These exchanges also qualify as qualified boards or exchanges for purposes of Section 1256:
The domestic boards of trade designated as contract markets by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are as follows:
Under Section 1256(g)(7)(C), Treasury has also determined that the following exchanges have rules adequate to carry out the purposes of Section 1256:
This list is subject to change on an ongoing basis as new qualified boards or exchanges are approved or removed. This list does not immediately reflect changes in the status of such qualified boards or exchanges. Please contact the individuals listed below before adopting a position with respect to whether Section 1256 applies to a particular contract on a particular qualified board or exchange.
1. All “Section” references are to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and the regulations promulgated thereunder.
2. Section 1256(a)(1).
3. Section 1256(a)(1), (3).
5. Section 1256(g)(1).
6. Section 1256(g)(3).
For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:
Ernst & Young LLP (United States), International Tax and Transaction Services – Capital Markets