Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Form 6781


Form 6781, also known as “Gains and Losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles,” is a tax form utilized in the United States. It’s used by traders and investors to report gains and losses from futures and options trading contracts that fall under Section 1256 of the Internal Revenue Code. This form helps determine the tax obligation for these specific types of financial transactions.


The phonetics of the keyword: Form 6781 are as follows: “eff oh are em six seven eight one”

Key Takeaways

Here are the three main takeaways about Form 6781:

  1. Definition: Form 6781 is a tax form used by traders and investors of certain financial derivatives in the United States. It’s formally known as the ‘Commodities and Futures Contracts’ form and is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  2. Purpose: The main purpose of Form 6781 is to report gains and losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles. This form helps ensure that the taxpayer pays the correct amount of tax on these types of transactions.
  3. Application: Not all financial derivatives require the use of Form 6781. It is strictly for futures contracts that receive special tax treatment, which typically includes regulated futures, foreign currency contracts, non-equity options, dealer equity options, and dealer securities futures contracts.


Form 6781, also known as the “Gains and Losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles,” is a tax document issued by the U.S Internal Revenue Service. It holds significant consideration in the field of business and finance due to its influence on reporting gains and losses from specific investment products. These products include futures contracts, foreign currency contracts, and non-equity options. The special feature of these contracts which are Section 1256 contracts is that they’re subject to mark-to-market rules. This means they are treated as both sold and re-purchased at the end of each year, making any gains or losses taxable in that year. This form also reports gains and losses for straddles, which are investment strategies that involve the purchase or sale of options. Therefore, the Form 6781 plays a critical role in organizing and officially declaring these transactions for tax purposes.


Form 6781, titled “Gains and Losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles,” is a crucial document used by traders and investors in the United States for tax calculation purposes. The primary purpose of this form is to report gains and losses from transactions associated with Section 1256 Contracts that involve regulated futures, foreign exchange contracts, non-equity options, dealer’s equity options, and dealer’s securities futures contracts. The significance of this particular form stems from the unique tax rules connected with Section 1256 contracts where 60% of the gains or losses are considered long-term, and the remaining 40% is short-term, irrespective of the actual holding period.Form 6781, hence, helps in the precise, lawful, and straightforward accounting of taxes related to these financial instruments. For traders and investors, using this form means they could potentially gain from lower overall tax rates due to the 60%/40% split, regardless of how short or long their actual ownership period was. It is, therefore, a critical tool in efficient tax reporting and planning for those dealing with specific kinds of financial contracts, providing a unique blend of the more beneficial long-term capital gains tax rate with the flexibility of short-term trading.


Form 6781, or the Gains and Losses from Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles, is a specific tax form used in the United States. Here are three hypothetical real-world examples that would necessitate the use of this form:1. Futures Trading: Let’s say John is a day trader specializing in the futures market. Throughout the year, John has made multiple transactions buying and selling futures contracts. In this case, he would have to report his gains and losses from these transactions on Form 6781.2. Hedge Funds: A hedge fund, for example, Millennium Management LLC, trades aggressively in section 1256 contracts, such as futures and foreign currency contracts. At the end of the fiscal year, they would need to provide Form 6781 when filing their tax returns to report the gains or losses of these contracts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).3. Forex Trader: Maria is a forex trader who trades in various foreign currency contracts. She made substantial profits throughout the year. To report her gains to the IRS during tax season, Maria must use Form 6781 to disclose her net gains or losses from these contracts.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Form 6781?

Form 6781, formally known as the Gains and Losses From Section 1256 Contracts and Straddles, is a tax form used by traders in the United States who have made trades in the futures market. This form is provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Who is required to fill out Form 6781?

Individuals, partners, or corporations who have gains or losses from Section 1256 contracts or straddles need to fill out Form 6781.

Why is it important to file Form 6781?

Filing Form 6781 is necessary to report your gains and losses from Section 1256 contracts or straddles. The IRS requires this filing to ensure that taxation occurs correctly, as these transactions are taxed differently than other investments.

Where can I find Form 6781?

Form 6781 can be retrieved from the IRS official website. You may also receive it from a tax professional or download it online from reputable tax software.

When is Form 6781 due?

Form 6781 is due at the same time as your tax return. The due date is usually April 15 following the year in question, or October 15 if you have filed for an extension.

How do I fill out Form 6781?

Instructions for filling out Form 6781 are provided by the IRS and can be found with the form on the IRS website. The form requires details about your gains or losses from Section 1256 contracts or straddles.

How should I report my gains and losses on Form 6781?

Gains and losses are reported directly on Form 6781. According to the IRS, 60% of a gain or loss would be considered long-term, and 40% would be considered short-term, regardless of the holding period.

Can I file Form 6781 electronically?

Yes, Form 6781 can be filed electronically along with the rest of your tax return. The IRS encourages e-filing as it is faster, safer, and typically more convenient than paper filing.

Related Finance Terms

  • Section 1256 Contracts
  • Capital Gains and Losses
  • Commodities/Futures Trading
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Tax Reporting

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More