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Publication 550

Income and 


(Including Capital
Gains and Losses)

Future Developments(p1)

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 550, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to


Mutual fund distributions.(p2)
Publication 564, Mutual Fund Distributions, has been incorporated into this publication.
New penalties for certain abusive tax shelters.(p2)
Underpayments of tax due to an undisclosed foreign financial asset are now subject to a 40% penalty. Underpayments due to a transaction lacking economic substance are now subject to a 20% penalty but may be subject to a 40% penalty in some cases. See Accuracy-related penalties in chapter 2.
Nontaxable trades of life insurance contracts.(p2)
You will no longer be taxed for certain trades involving life insurance contracts. See Insurance Policies and Annuities under Nontaxable Trades in chapter 4.
1256 contracts.(p2)
A section 1256 contract no longer includes certain swaps. See Exceptions under Section 1256 Contract in chapter 4 for more information.
Changes in penalty for failure to disclose a reportable transaction.(p2)
Penalties for failure to disclose a reportable transaction on a tax return changed in 2010. See Penalty for failure to disclose a reportable transaction in chapter 2.
U.S. property acquired from a foreign person.(p2)
If you acquire a U.S. real property interest from a foreign person or firm, you may have to withhold income tax on the amount you pay for the property (including cash, the fair market value of other property, and any assumed liability). Domestic or foreign corporations, partnerships, trusts, and estates may also have to withhold on certain distributions and other transactions involving U.S. real property interests. If you fail to withhold, you may be held liable for the tax, penalties that apply, and interest. For more information, see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.
Foreign source income.(p2)
If you are a U.S. citizen with investment income from sources outside the United States (foreign income), you must report that income on your tax return unless it is exempt by U.S. law. This is true whether you reside inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form 1099 from the foreign payer.
Employee stock options.(p2)
If you received an option to buy or sell stock or other property as payment for your services, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for the special tax rules that apply.
Sale of DC Zone assets.(p2)
Investments in District of Columbia Enterprise Zone (DC Zone) assets acquired after 1997 and before 2012 and held more than 5 years will qualify for a special tax benefit. If you sell or trade a DC Zone asset at a gain, you may be able to exclude the qualified capital gain from your gross income. This exclusion applies to an interest in, or property of, certain businesses operating in the District of Columbia. For more information about the exclusion, see the Schedule D (Form 1040) instructions. For more information about DC Zone assets, see section 1400B of the Internal Revenue Code.
Photographs of missing children.(p2)
The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


This publication provides information on the tax treatment of investment income and expenses. It includes information on the tax treatment of investment income and expenses for individual shareholders of mutual funds or other regulated investment companies, such as money market funds. It explains what investment income is taxable and what investment expenses are deductible. It explains when and how to show these items on your tax return. It also explains how to determine and report gains and losses on the disposition of investment property and provides information on property trades and tax shelters.
The glossary at the end of this publication defines many of the terms used.

Investment income.(p2)

This generally includes interest, dividends, capital gains, and other types of distributions including mutual fund distributions.

Investment expenses.(p2)

These include interest paid or incurred to acquire investment property and expenses to manage or collect income from investment property.

Qualified retirement plans and IRAs.(p2)

The rules in this publication do not apply to mutual fund shares held in individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), section 401(k) plans, and other qualified retirement plans. The value of the mutual fund shares and earnings allocated to you are included in your retirement plan assets and stay tax free generally until the plan distributes them to you. The tax rules that apply to retirement plan distributions are explained in the following publications.



Comments and suggestions.(p2)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Individual and Specialty Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. You can also send us comments from Select "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications" under "Information about."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.(p2)
If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. Deaf or hard of hearing or speech-impaired individuals with TDD/TTY equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.