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Data Requirements

Getting Started

If you want us to prepare your trading tax return, here is where you start.  This page lists much of the information we require to prepare your tax return.  It also provides information about the required format of your trading data, scheduling and cost.  Use this as the basis for providing your tax forms and data and to email us any questions.  Download the Client Information Sheet here.

Letting us do it for you ... here's what you will need to provide:
   (This is not an exhaustive list)

​Probably the best source of required information is your prior year tax return!!

  • Copy of prior year tax return(s) - Federal and state (unless we prepared)

  • Client Information Sheet - see below

  • Taxpayer & spouse drivers licenses (copies) -OR-

    • State​

    • DL numbers

    • Issue date

    • Expiration date

  • Bank account routing & account numbers - for refund or payment of tax​

  • W-2s

  • 1099s - Interest, Dividend, Barter & Exchange, Consolidated, Retirement, Gambling, Unemployment, sale of property (1099-S), personal loans

  • SSA-1099, RRB-1099

  • Economic Impact Payments received, IRS Letter 6475

  • Medical expenses

  • Personal residence

    • Mortgage interest​

    • Property tax

    • Include the above if Itemizing, not necessary if taking Standard Deduction

  • Charitable contributions - acknowledgement from charity if donation exceeds $250 at one time; Example, if there are 10 contributions of $240 no acknowledgement is required; Simply list all contributions and amounts if none exceed $250, preferably on a spreadsheet

  • Casualty losses​ - there is a lot of information required for this deduction and it must be in a Presidentially declared disaster area

  • Sole proprietorship (Schedule C, single-member LLCs) with Form 1099-NEC

    • Accounting file - QuickBooks (only QB 2019 or prior), Quicken, Excel spreadsheet​ (Download template)

    • W-3/Form 941s - if employees exist

    • Home office detail (if a home office exists)

      • Rent or mortgage​

      • Property tax paid in the tax year

      • Insurance

      • Utilities

      • Pro-rata share of bundled internet & phone

      • Note > Consider the safe harbor of $5 per sq ft per year to save time & money

    • Vehicle use substantiation - mileage log, other

    • Depreciation schedule from prior year tax return

    • Assets placed into service in current tax year

    • PPP loan proceeds and forgiveness notification from lender

    • Any deferred social security and when paid


NOTE:  If you have multiple businesses and provide the information for each business on an Excel spreadsheet, put every business on IT'S OWN TAB of the spreadsheet​

  • Schedule K-1s - partnership, S corporation, trust​

  • Rental property - Contact me for the rental real estate template I use

    • Purchase date and price (closing statement, HUD-1)​

    • Improvements (appliances, additions, furniture and dates placed into service)

    • Rental income

    • Rental expenses

      • Mortgage interest​

      • Property tax

      • Insurance

      • Management fees

      • Repairs with receipts

      • Utilities

      • The amount of time you spent for the year on rental activities

      • A grouping election for multiple properties, if applicable

      • Other items at your discretion

  • Any 1099-SA or 1099-LTC used for medical or long-term care

    • When you provide the 1099-SA you must indicate how much was used for medical​

  • IRA, Roth IRA contributions (Form 5498 or year-end statements)

  • Child credits - children under age 17

    • Birth certificates​

    • Social security card

    • School/daycare enrollment, baptism record, medical well-child check-up

    • Multiple support agreements

    • This is a highly scrutinized area and IRS requires the CPA to verify that a child or dependent actually exists since this is a tax credit

  • The above requires the Form 8867 Verification Checklist to be completed

  • Child and dependent care credits

    • All care expenses for child(ren) under 13

    • Year-end statement with care provider's EIN

    • Name of child or dependent

    • Advanced Child Tax Credit payments; IRS Letter 6419

  • Education credits - American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning

    • Form 1098-T from education facility

    • Detail of all expenses supporting amount or in excess of amount shown on 1098-T

    • American Opportunity Credit substantiation​​​​​

  • Estimated tax payments - amounts and dates

If you are an Investor, Trader in Securities, MTM Trader

  • If MTM Trader

    • Download of RAW TRADES into Excel format (.xlsx or .csv) ... see below

    • End of year brokerage statement(s) showing open positions

    • End of prior year brokerage statement showing same and cost basis (if this is the first year we are preparing) and purchase date.  Use the Open Positions manual entry template if there are differences between the statements and actual positions;  Tax reporting is based on TRADE date not SETTLEMENT date

    • A copy of your MTM election (required)

    • Home office detail, preferably in spreadsheet format (see above)

  • If Investor or Trader in Securities

    • Form 1099-B from all brokerages (.pdf)

    • An electronic version of the 1099-B in Excel format (.csv or .xlsx)

    • Home office detail for Traders in Securities (see above)

>  For multiple brokerages and/or odd-lot trading see below

For IRS Identity Theft purposes:

  • Driver license for your state or issue date and expiration date

  • State ID

  • Date of birth (if no driver license provided)

  • You should consider enrolling with

Upload Files


All the above information should be compressed into .zip files (WinZip, Microsoft compression):

  • One .zip file for all Excel files (in the format below), or the RAW TRADES

  • One .zip file for all Dec brokerage statements and the 1099-B (See Open Positions below)

  • One .zip file for all .pdf files non-trading info as noted above, ie, W-2, 1099-INT, K-1s, etc

  • Include the Client Information Sheet (below) with the all .pdf files .zip file

  • One .pdf file for your prior year tax return

  • DO NOT SEND .jpg, .gif, .png, .tif or other picture files > Convert them to .pdf; If I have to convert them it will take time and cost you more

  • If a .pdf document is secured, attempt to remove the security; The portal is secure and it does take time for me to break the security in order to place it into the master file.

  • Label the files as follows:

    • LAST  NAME-Prior year tax  (If multiple files)

    • LAST NAME-Excel  (If multiple files)

    • LAST NAME-Broker 1099s & Dec  (If multiple files)
    • LAST NAME-Other tax - in roughly the following tax return order:
      • Client Information Sheet​
      • W-2s
      • 1099-INT/1099-DIV
      • Sch C info as Excel file (trading expenses)
      • Sch K-1s
      • Real estate activity as Excel file
      • 1099-Rs
      • SSA-1099/RRB-1099


Note:  If you are sending less than 10 items, DO NOT ZIP them.


It would also be a great help and save time if you put an item list together of what you are sending so we can review your tax items more efficiently.  The more time you spend organizing your information the less time we have to spend on it. 

We put all .pdf files or converted files into one large .pdf arranged in tax return order - the Master File.  If we used the individual files sent it is guaranteed we would miss something.

The above format will allow me to review your information more quickly - and save you money - instead of picking through 50 or so files and organizing it how we prepare the tax return(s).

Upload the above through our secure upload portal once all tax information is assembled. 


Please Note:  Keep the number of files included in the .zip files to a minimum.  I cannot look through a .zip file with hundreds of files nor do you want to pay for that.  Perhaps send your (1) prior year tax return and (2) a list of what you plan to send, in tax return order, and I will review and request more or suggest less.  Only year-end information should be included.

Home Office detail
Spreadsheet Information

When assembling a spreadsheet to present to us, remember that you know what you are trying to convey but we do not.  Keep your spreadsheets organized and logical with information about one business or one rental on one tab.  If your next door neighbor can understand what you present, perhaps we can too!

Information to Provide.jpg
Please Note!!

These data requirements will help you save money in fees by following them exactly or emailing me questions as to format, necessary information, etc, before sending your information.

When too much information is sent I feel somewhat obligated to look at all of it which will take anywhere over an hour and sometimes over two hours ... which translates into $180 to roughly $450 depending on how organized - or disorganized - your information is presented.

The time spent to organize the information provided should be considered similar to a 1-2 hour meeting to review all that you provide if face-to-face.  You will also note that at $180 per hour that can become more expense than you might want to pay.  Therefore, make sure to read and understand the data requirements section above.

I take all information provided and organize it into tax form order and combine into 1 or 2 files consisting primarily of regular tax preparation information and then trading information, for more efficient preparation.  I would like to save you money and me time.

The tax return preparation process is basically as follows:

  • Review and organize submitted information

  • Convert all trading data, if present, into a uniform format

  • Tax return preparation - Federal and state

  • Tax return check and pro-forma e-file

  • Review pursuant to IRS and AICPA guidelines

  • Prepare redacted copy for review by client and signing of Form 8879

  • Submit e-file and monitor for acceptance

All of this takes a substantial amount of time for professional tax preparers, especially since this is a very technical aspect of tax law and procedure.

Client Info Sheet
Download Client Information Sheet >

Complete the Client Information Sheet regardless of if you are a returning client

Download Form 8867 Verification Checklist >

Child Credits/HOH

Trading Data
Format of the trading data

The data must be in this format or these elements must be readily available.  Most of the expense in preparing Form 8949 is getting the data into the correct format

Data format 2.jpg

This is an example of data from TD Ameritrade

Most of the problems exist when brokers DO NOT include the closing expiration, assignment or exercise transaction, as shown above with the:


The actual option must be determined, probably by using the 'Adding Closing Transactions' template in conjunction with converting the symbol to the OSI format.

Why brokerages do not include the Symbol, which would be easy, is beyond me.  This is sample data from TD Ameritrade.

Note that the data elements for the option symbol must all be present.

Popular broker sample files >

The download from your broker should look almost exactly like these sample files;  However, some brokers change their format each year

Multiple broker sample file >

Each broker should be labeled with the last 5 digits of the account number, especially if multiple accounts at the same broker

Secure file upload >

Secure File Upload located at and by clicking the link to the right you will be taken to the Contact page to upload your files, preferably as a .zip file

Mult Broker Template
Open Positions
Open Positions

Tying out the beginning and ending opening positions is the first and most critical step in preparing a trader's tax return.

  • Inclusion of all prior year open positions - including the purchase date and cost basis

  • Processing of all the opening and closing option trades as well as all stock buys and sells

  • Tie out the ending opening positions as to number of options/shares held and their adjusted basis as a result of wash sales and/or assignment/exercise

As explained elsewhere on this website, sometimes (most of the time) brokerages use settlement date to reflect open positions.  This can be a problem when IRS requires trade date as the tax trigger.  Sometimes Form 1099-B will even reflect the sale of a security that is also shown as an open position on the year-end statement.  We take steps to correct for this inconsistency, but it takes time.  This is obviously more problematic for a Mark-to-Market trader since the open positions have tax ramifications associated with them.

By following this process we know that we have captured all the trades for the year.

I strongly urge you to use the Open Positions manual entry template in order to facilitate the reconciliation of these quantities and amounts and then compare them to your brokers open positions listed on the year-end statement, then reconcile the differences before you send any files to us.

You should reconcile the ending Open Positions BEFORE you send your trading activity.  This means the following:

Prior Year Open Positions + Current Year Activity = Current Year Open Positions

This process takes the most time and is essential to prepare an accurate trading tax return.

Multiple Brokerages

For Investors and Traders in Securities - wash sales can occur across brokerages and between related-parties, such as a spouse, parent or child and retirement accounts.  All the detail mentioned above must be provided for all brokerages where you trade the same securities.  This does not mean that if you and your adult child trade the same security as wash sale can be created.​

For MTM Traders - wash sales do not apply but you must provide the RAW TRADES for all the brokerages and they must be in the same format.  If you trade in a MTM account and also a non-MTM account, there may be wash sales in the non-MTM account.

See the template above for providing information from multiple brokerages or multiple accounts at the same brokerage.

Odd-Lot Trades

Odd-lot trading are trades where the number of shares is not divisible by 100.  It does not occur much with option traders since 1 contract - in most cases - controls 100 shares of the underlying stock.

In order to accurately determine the wash sales and losses added to basis, the shares must be the same - Buys must equal Sells.  Essentially the Greatest Common Denominator of those shares must be determined.  We have developed a technique that will match the odd-lot trades to each other but are not matched to round-lot trades but it takes time to format the data.

For Investors and Traders in Securities - wash sales can occur with odd-lot trades and in some cases the GCD is 1 which makes the preparation of trading forms much more difficult.  I recently had one project where one trade produced 114,869 lines because the trader traded in mostly round-lots, except for a few which were, for example, 1577, 61, 577 and 7 shares.

In these instances, we require an electronic version (Excel) of the 1099-B so we can verify the total gain or loss and also verify if wash sales truly apply

For MTM Traders - wash sales do not apply but various amounts of shares can be bought or sold.  We summarize those trades for Form 4797 based on the ticker symbol and verify with either a pdf version of the 1099-B or electronic 1099-B.

Fractional Share Trades

Fractional shares are trades not divisible by 1.  For instance, trading 1.7935 shares of AAPL or 0.7345 of AMZN.  Typically it occurs when an investor is trading a fixed amount of money and that determines the number of shares purchased.

Again, in order to accurately determine the wash sales and losses added to basis, the shares must be the same - Buys must equal Sells.  This can sometimes be more difficult than odd-lot trades.

In Summary ...

For Investors and Traders in Securities - Because of the above, this is virtually impossible without large computing capacity which only the back office clearinghouses possess.  We can take a look at the trades and compare to the electronic version of the 1099-B but this combination will take substantially more time and at much greater cost.

For MTM Traders - since wash sales do not apply we require the RAW TRADES from every brokerage.  The same process will apply from above but we do need to keep the buys/sells and opens/closes within brokerages so the files must be separate and we will combine them.


We can get most tax returns completed before the due date or provide the amount of payment due for an extension.  Any estimated tax payments for the subsequent year are simply the amount of estimated tax due for the current year divided by 4, and the first installment is also due the day of the extension payment.

If you are a day trader or have a significant number of trades with multiple brokerages and odd-lot trades and you are NOT one of the first tax returns received BEFORE March 15, an extension will be filed and will be based on your submitted information and only the Form 1099-B's received.

A word about Extensions ...

An extension is an extension to file but not to pay.  Any tax due for the prior year is due by January 15 of the filing year (via estimated tax payments) and the latest date to pay is April 15.  If you owe less that $1,000 there will be no estimated tax penalty.

Some do not want to file an extension thinking that an extension is a sure trigger for an audit.  That could not be more incorrect.  You are audited based on the return itself, not when you file it, unless it is years late.

Most every CPA in the country with a tax practice files an extension for their own tax return(s) every year.

If you simply do not want to file an extension, then try to get your information to your CPA or us as soon as possible.  If you are simply opposed to filing an extension under any circumstances then, unfortunately, we are not the tax preparation firm for you.


We are not the most expensive nor are we the least expensive.  However, trader taxation, especially Mark to Market trading, is a highly technical area and many CPAs will not tackle it.  In fact, we work with other CPAs to prepare the trading tax forms for their clients.  We have over 35 years of tax experience and I have traded as a Mark to Market trader inside an S Corporation for over 10 years.

We will review your information and prior year return and provide the following:

  • Estimate of time to prepare the requested forms - complete tax return or trading forms

  • If you are a new trader there are typically some snags and data requirements that are difficult to obtain and therefore we cannot estimate what the range of fees will be;  However, we can estimate the range of cost to prepare your prior year tax return

  • Retainer necessary to start, typically 50% of estimate or 3 hours, whichever is more, payable via credit card

  • Payment in full is required before tax return is provided (see Estimates); We can send you a redacted Form 1040 pages 1 and 2 for complete tax returns or a redacted Schedule D or Form 4797 page 1 for Trading-only tax returns.


Trading tax forms are priced at $180 per hour.  Broker information is not uniform so it must all be reformatted into a uniform format.  Further, we tie out the beginning stock and option open positions and the ending stock and option open positions, per brokerage, then prepare the tax forms.

Most tax returns ultimately work out to around $160 to $180 per hour per return, depending on how complete the information is that is provided.  The more we have to request additional information and the more time it takes, the more the tax return will cost.

Tax preparation for entities entails a minimum fee of $375 for the Federal portion and will be more for the initial year return and any state filing.

Please Note:  Beginning September 15 through the end of the year the billing rate increases to $240 per hour for tax return preparation.  Depending upon workload, I can tell you if completion of your tax return by the extended due date is possible and the hourly rate before we begin.


Pay Retainer by clicking above

  • Check - 50% or 3 hour retainer ($540); Clears before tax return started/provided

  • Credit card - click here;  50% or 3 hour retainer ($540); Balance due before tax return filed/provided; You will receive redacted copy plus Form 8879

  • ACH - 50% or 3 hour retainer ($540); Balance due before tax return filed/provided; You will receive redacted copy plus Form 8879

  • Venmo - to; 50% or 3 hour retainer ($540); Balance due before tax return filed/provided; You will receive redacted copy plus Form 8879

Sorry, these payment procedures must be adhered to since there are a few taxpayers who want to stiff their tax preparer as if I was the IRS or because they do not like the results or time necessary to prepare a true and accurate tax return.

This may seem somewhat risky, simply sending someone on the internet a payment of $540.  It would me too.  Feel free to email me and verify the fact that I am indeed a CPA in Texas.

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