How to File Robinhood 1099 Taxes

Whether you invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options or cryptocurrency, Robinhood is an excellent platform to invest in your future while on a budget. No matter if you are a day trader or long term investor filing your Robinhood 1099 taxes is simple but only with the proper guidance.

The biggest benefit of using Robinhood is it makes the dream of creating investment income possible for anyone. Since you can buy small portions of stocks, cryptocurrency and many other securities with no brokerage fees, it attracts many first time investors. However, you must be careful, there are many mistakes that beginners make when filing their 1099 returns. This article will give you the tax advice to file your Robinhood 1099 forms and pay as little as possible using 1099 tax deductions while satisfying the IRS.

Will I Owe Taxes on My Investments?

There is a common misconception when it comes to investing. Some beginners think you only get taxed for when you withdraw the money from your Robinhood account to your bank. This is a terrible mistake that can come back to bite you.

Every time you sell a stock, ETF, or cryptocurrency, you will incur what the IRS considers a taxable event. Whenever you make a stock sale, you might owe taxes on that transaction. Even if you reinvested your profit by buying more stocks, you will still owe taxes on that. The same goes for any reinvested stock dividend income. To figure out an estimated amount of what you will owe the IRS, use a 1099 tax rate calculator.

How Much Do I Have to Pay in Taxes?

When you sell an asset, you either make what the IRS calls a capital gain or a capital loss. A gain is when you make a profit from a specific trade, and a loss is when you sell an asset for less than the market value you bought it. As stated earlier when you make a sale, that triggers a taxable event so you have to report all sales to the IRS on a form 1099. If you incurred a loss, then you can write that off as a tax deduction to lower your tax bill. We will go over how to do that later in the article.

Long Term vs Short Term Capital Gains

The amount of taxes you have to pay for a transaction depends on your federal tax bracket, how much total income you make in a year, and the time you kept the investment.

There are two classifications of capital gains tax:

  1. Short term - An asset that is owned for less than 1 year. The exact percentage you pay is the same as your income tax bracket.
  2. Long term gain - Assets that are held for a year or longer with no trades. It can be 0%, 15% or 20% depending on your tax bracket.

If you are a day trader or frequent seller, then you may be panicking right now. Your earnings and losses can quickly become scrambled.  Luckily, you don’t have to keep track of these transactions yourself when using Robinhood. They do all the heavy lifting for you by sending you a summary of your transactions in a consolidated 1099 tax form.

Robinhood 1099 Forms

As a Robinhood trader, you might have to file several 1099 forms yourself depending on your account activity. Do not assume that they will withhold your taxes for you because they won’t. However, to make things simpler for you, they summarize all your tax info into what’s called a consolidated 1099. This form will have summaries of all your required 1099 forms.  It is your responsibility to take the information and submit each necessary 1099 when you file your annual return.

Which 1099 Will I Have to File?

These are the popular Robinhood 1099 forms:

  • Form 1099-B Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions - Any trades you made in your account will show up here. This includes trading stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies.
  • 1099-DIV Dividends - A report of the dividend income you made for last year.
  • 1099-INT Interest - If you made any interest on the annual percentage yield (APY) from a Robinhood savings account.
  • 1099-NEC Nonemployee Compensation - This is where the free stocks from their referral program will show up. The 1099-NEC form is replacing the Form 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income from previous tax years.

Depending on when and what trades you made, your form can show up from slightly different companies. Your consolidated 1099 form will come up in the mail from “Robinhood Securities”, “Robinhood Crypto” or “Apex Clearing”. If you don’t want to wait for the letter to come, then you have the option of downloading it from their website or the Robinhood app.

Robinhood advises taxpayers to wait until at least February 18th to download your 1099 from them. They want you to wait because sometimes they need to correct their forms. If you file your return with the non-corrected information, then you will have to amend your tax return. Always use the most up to date form that they give you if you notice two 1099 forms from the same tax season.

What If I Don’t Receive a 1099?

In some cases you may not receive a consolidated 1099 from Robinhood. This does not mean you don’t owe taxes though.

Robinhood does not have to send you a 1099:

  • If you didn’t make more than $10 in dividends
  • When you win less than $600 in free referral stocks
  • If you didn’t sell any investments for the year

To be clear, if you didn’t sell any assets and those investments didn’t make any dividends, then you won’t have to report them to the IRS. If you made less than $10 in dividends or less than $600 in free stocks, you will still have to report this income to the IRS, but you won’t get a 1099 from Robinhood.

When Do I File My Taxes?

Most small time investors are allowed to file their taxes annually on April 15th. But if you sell a high ticket asset or are making a profit from day trading, you might have to file your taxes quarterly. As a general rule, if you are expected to owe over $1,000 then you have to file your taxes four times a year instead of once.

Figuring out exactly what you are expected to owe in quarterly taxes can feel like a nightmare. The simplest way is to use a quarterly estimated tax calculator.

The estimated quarterly tax due dates are:

  • April 15th
  • June 15th
  • September 15th
  • January 15th

Never assume that you don’t have to make estimated quarterly tax payments. If you miss an estimated quarterly tax payment, you are subject to fees and penalties.

Deduct Losses to Lower Your Tax Payment

If you sold an investment for less than the value you bought it, you can write it off as a tax deduction on your annual return to offset any capital gains you may owe the IRS. Also, when you buy a stock and the company goes bankrupt, you can report the total price of the stock as a loss.

Capital losses can lower not only your capital gains tax bill but also your normal income tax bill. Many people think if they don’t make any money, they shouldn’t report it on their taxes. But when you do that, you are missing an opportunity to lower your tax bill. If you made no capital gains, you are still allowed to deduct up to $3,000 worth per year, to lower your tax payment for even your ordinary income.

Automate Your Expense Tracking

Doing your Robinhood 1099 taxes as a self employed day trader or investor does not have to be scary. Use the tips from this article to identify which 1099 forms you will need, when to file them and how to lower your tax bill. If you are self employed you need a way to track your business expenses. Use the Keeper Tax automated expense tracking tax software to make your life simpler.

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Christian Davis

Christian Davis

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Christian is a copywriter from Portland, Oregon that specializes in financial writing. He published books, and loves to help independent contractors save money on their taxes.

Automatic tax savings for 1099 contractors.

Keeper Tax automatically finds tax deductions among your purchases. On average, people discover write-offs worth $1,249 in 90 seconds.

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Note: at Keeper Tax, we're on a mission to help freelancers overcome the complexity of their taxes. That sometimes leads us to generalize tax advice. Please reach out via email if you have questions.