In observance of Independence Day, the securities exchanges are closed on Friday, July 3, 2020.

FAQs

Our dedicated customer service teams are working very hard to serve you as efficiently as possible. As always, you can reach us by phone or online chat, but to help direct you to the information you need more quickly, here are answers to your most commonly asked questions.

Tax Season

  When will my tax documents be available?
Form Used to Report Scheduled Mail Date
1099-R/1099-Q Distributions from qualified retirement plans and educational saving accounts January 31, 2020
Consolidated 1099 A consolidated tax document containing forms 1099-B, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT and 1099 MISC February 18, 2020
1042-S Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to withholding March 16, 2020
2439 Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-term capital gains March 31, 2020
5498-ESA Contributions to qualified educational saving accounts April 30, 2020
5498 Contributions to qualified retirement plans June 1, 2020
  Where can I find my tax documents online?

You can locate your tax documents by logging into your account and going to “Accounts > E-documents > Tax Documents” page. Mobile App does not support tax documents download or review at this moment.

  Why am I not receiving a Consolidated 1099?

You may not receive a 1099 Consolidated due to the following reasons:

  • Accounts with no realized gain/loss in year 2019 (01/01/2019-12/31/2019).
  • Accumulated dividend in year 2019 is less than $10.
  • Your account type is international account.
  How come some of my positions do not have cost basis reported on the 1099?

Cost basis maybe reported as N/A for one of the following reasons:

MLP, ETN, some ETFs will receive Schedule K1 from the company itself, not from Apex
Stocks purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2011, mutual fund, ETF purchased before Jan. 1, 2012 are noncovered securities, these will not have cost basis. Client need to report on their own.
Positions transferred to us without any cost basis information

  Can I import my Consolidated 1099 form into Turbo tax? How to import it?

All customers with reportable information will be able to import their Consolidated 1099 information directly into TurboTax.
How to import my Consolidated 1099 data into Turbo tax?

Please click on the following link: Import your 1099 to TurboTax

Note: For customers that utilize TurboTax, please note that the application contains data import limitations.

If there are more than 500 1099-B transactions per return, then please utilize the desktop software version which can accommodate up to 2,200 1099-B transactions per return.

If the total number of transactions exceeds these limits, they will not be able to use TurboTax’s import function and may have to utilize other means to file their return.

  What is wash sale (W/S) allowance?

The Wash-Sale rule was created by the IRS to disallow the loss deduction from the sale of securities if repurchased by a seller or spouse within the Wash-Sale period.
The Wash-Sale period is defined as 30 days before and 30 days after the sale date, totaling 61 days (including the sale date).
If the account purchased identical security within this period, the loss amount will be added to the newly purchased lot.

Wash sale applies to stocks (long/short), options
DRIP will trigger wash sale
Day trade will trigger wash sale
A wash sale occurs when you sell or trade stock or securities at a loss and within 30 days before or after the sale you:
Buy substantially identical stock or securities;
Acquire substantially identical stock or securities in a fully taxable trade;
Acquire a contract or option to buy substantially identical stock or securities; or
Acquire substantially identical stock for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA.
If you would like additional information about wash sales please see IRS Publication 550.

Account Related

  What type of account can I open with Firstrade?

Firstrade offers a variety of online trading accounts to meet your investment needs:

Investment Accounts Retirement Accounts
Individual IRA (Traditional & Roth)
Joint (WROS & Tenants in Common) Rollover IRA
Custodian - for a Minor SEP IRA
Education Savings (Coverdell ESA) SIMPLE IRA
Investment Club Profit Sharing Plan
Corporate & LLC Money Purchase Plan
Partnership & LLP
Sole Proprietorship
Trust, Estate, Conservatorship
  Does Firstrade offer any account protection?

Firstrade Securities Inc. is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC provides up to $500,000 of coverage, with a limit of $250,000 for cash balances. In addition, our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, has purchased an additional insurance policy through a group of London Underwriters (with Lloyd's of London Syndicates as the Lead Underwriter) to supplement SIPC protection. This additional insurance policy is limited to a combined return to any customer from a Trustee, SIPC and London Underwriters of $37.5 million, including cash of up to $900,000. These protections do not protect against a decline or loss in market value of the securities in your online trading account. For additional information please click here.

  How much money do I need to open an account with Firstrade?

Unlike other online brokers, there is no minimum amount required to open a Firstrade online trading account. We do require that there are cleared funds in your account prior to placing your first order.

  How long does it take to set up an account for ACH transfers after I send in the ACH Electronic Funds Transfer Form? How long does it take for ACH deposit to become available for trading?

It can take up to five (5) business days for the ACH banking profile to be established, but this is a one-time only process. Keep in mind that for the initial ACH deposit, fund clearance time is 4 business days (not including the date of deposit); for any subsequent deposits, the amount that is within the existing account equity will become available for trading promptly after posting; the additional amount will become available for trading after 4 business days. Please note that ACH transfers go to and come from our clearing firm, Apex Clearing. Apex Clearing is the name you'll see on your bank statement after a transfer.

Trading Stocks

  What types of securities can I purchase through Firstrade?

You can purchase stocks, options, bonds, and mutual funds via Firstrade. We currently handle securities listed on the U.S. Markets/U.S. Exchanges.

  Can I trade OTC-listed penny stocks at Firstrade? If yes, any trading restrictions?

Firstrade offers limited trading services in OTC-listed penny stocks. Typically, these penny stocks must have liquid trading volume and must be DTC eligible, to be available for trading via Firstrade platforms. For purchases, the stock price also must be greater than $0.10. Other trading restrictions include limit-orders only, and no extended hours trading.

  Can I trade foreign-issued securities at Firstrade?

Foreign issued securities (also known as F stocks: ABCDF) typically is denoted by a five-letter ticker symbol ending in “F,” and listed on the OTC market. This type of securities at this time cannot be traded across Firstrade trading platforms; if you already held the position, you may contact customer service to liquidate with a $75 pass-through trade clearance fee.

  Why wasn't my limit order executed when it traded at my limit?

In most cases this is a function of the bid and ask. The bid is the highest price a market maker (who is buying your stock) is prepared to pay at a particular time for security; the ask is the lowest price acceptable to the market maker (who is selling you the stock) of the same security. The difference between the bid and ask is called the spread which is the market makers profit. While you may see your stock trade at your limit price, it may be at the ask if you are trying to sell or at the bid if you are trying to buy, therefore your order may not be executed. Even if the stock is trading within the spread, you are not guaranteed an execution.

  What happens if I sell a position with fractional shares?

Fractional share cannot be acquired or liquidated from the market. When liquidating an entire equity position, any remaining fractional share positions will be automatically sold at the same price as the full share order on the business day after the execution.

  What is Wash Trading?

Wash trading is a process whereby a trader buys and sells a security for the express purpose of feeding misleading information to the market. In some situations, wash trades are executed by a trader and a broker who are colluding with each other, and other times wash trades are executed by investors acting as both the buyer and the seller of the security. Wash trading is illegal under U.S. law, and the IRS bars taxpayers from deducting losses that result from wash trades from their taxable income.

  Why didn't I receive dividends paid out by a stock I own?

If the stock was purchased on or after the ex-dividend date (the first day the stock trades without the dividend), then you will not be entitled to receive this dividend payment.

  What is the Securities Lending Income Program?

Clearing firms commonly lend stocks to other financial institutions, through the securities lending market, as a means to facilitate short selling, meet collateral requirements, and other settlement purposes. The Securities Lending Income Program provides you with the opportunity to earn extra income on fully paid stocks that you hold which are completely paid for and are not being used as collateral for other purpose. This program allows you to lend certain fully paid stocks to Firstrade’s clearing firm, Apex Clearing. In return, you will earn daily interest based on an annualized rate with interest paid out to you on a monthly basis.

Trading Options

  What are the Minimum Account Requirements to place option trades?

While Firstrade does not require a minimum balance to open an account or invest in equity securities, we do require minimum equity in order to place certain option orders. The following table lists the option strategy and the minimum equity required to place option orders:

Option Strategy Minimum Equity Required
Covered Calls No Minimum
Cash-Secured Equity Puts No Minimum
Buying Puts & Calls No Minimum
Spreads, Straddles, Butterfly, & Condor $10,000 + Margin Required
Uncovered Puts $25,000 + Margin Required
  Can I trade same-day-expiring options?

Firstrade allow opening position(s) in same-day-expiring options up to 2PM EST., 2 Hours before market close. Un-executed opening-position same-day-expiring options orders will be automatically cancelled at 3PM EST., 1 Hour before market close.

Trading Fixed Income

  What is a bond?

A bond is a debt obligation issued by a government (federal, state, or municipal), corporation, or other entity. Most bonds offer regular, scheduled income with relatively low risk, making bond investing attractive to retirees and others living off their investments.

  What does it mean if a bond is "callable"?

A "call" feature protects the issuer from changes in the prevailing interest rate, allowing the bond to be called back and retired prior to the originally announced maturity date. For example, a bond gives a 7 percent coupon for 5 years, but becomes callable after 2 years. If there's a drop in the market interest rate to 4 percent after 2 years, the issuer might want to call back the bond, and re-issue new bonds at 4 percent.

  What does "Net Yield Basis" stand for?

"Net Yield Basis" indicates that the commission is already factored into the purchase price. Simply use the Bond Calculator or click to "preview" an order.

IRAs

  Can I roll over a previous employer's retirement plan such as 401(k) to Firstrade?

Here are the steps to rollover a 401K:

Step 1: Open a similar account type if you don't have the IRA account with us yet:

  • For a pre-tax plan, please open a Traditional or Rollover IRA account
  • For an after-tax plan, please open a Roth IRA account

Step 2: Contact your plan provider and fill out their distribution form or initiate the process online. You may then request the transfer of your current retirement account funds using the following methods:

By Check/Direct Rollover:
Request to have a check issued and made payable to "Firstrade Securities, Inc., FBO [YOUR NAME], [YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER]"

Mailing address:
Firstrade Securities Inc.
30-50 Whitestone Expressway,Suite A301
Flushing, NY 11354

By Wire / Direct Rollover:

  1. Request to have the funds wired into your Firstrade account
  2. Complete the IRA deposit slip/Adjustment form and upload it online (login to your account, go to: Service > Form Center > Upload Document) or email a copy to service@firstrade.com

By Indirect Rollover:

  1. Request that the plan provider send you a check made payable to you.
  2. After the check is cleared in your bank account, you can fund your IRA account with your personal check. Have a check made out to "Firstrade Securities, Inc” and add Your NAME, [YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER] on the memo line. Mail the check to the Firstrade along with the 401K administrator letter/plan statement.

    Mailing address:
    Firstrade Securities Inc.
    30-50 Whitestone Expressway, Suite A301
    Flushing, NY 11354

    *Please note that the check amount should match the distribution amount from the plan administrator letter. Depending on your previous employer-sponsored retirement plan’s administrator, your funds can take anywhere from 5 to 20 business days to be deposited into your Firstrade IRA account.
  Can I convert my Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA? Are there any penalties?

You can easily convert a Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA without any penalties. However, deferred taxes on the Traditional IRA must be paid upon conversion.

  Can I withdraw from my IRA?

Before the age of 59 1/2, withdrawals from your IRA account would incur a 10% penalty on top of any taxes owed. However, there are several exceptions to be able to withdraw from an IRA without penalty:

  • The IRA owner's disability according to IRS Code Section 72(m)(7) and IRS Publication 590.

  • The death of the IRA owner.

  • As a series of substantially equal periodic payments, made at least annually, to a Traditional IRA owner (inapplicable to Roth IRAs).

  • Payment of non-reimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7 1/2% of adjusted gross income (AGI).

  • Payment of medical insurance premiums after the IRA owner has received unemployment compensation for more than 12 weeks.

  • Payment of a first-time home purchase (lifetime limit of $10,000).

  • Payment of qualified higher education expenses for the IRA owner and/or eligible family members.

  • Paying back taxes from an Internal Revenue Service levy placed against the IRA.

  I am 70 years old and still working, am I required to start withdrawing from my IRA?

The new law requires IRA owners to start taking distributions from their account by age 72. Failure to withdraw the required amount will result in a penalty of up to 50% of the required withdrawal. One solution is to convert the Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA (after paying taxes on income), which is not subject to mandatory withdrawals.

International Accounts

  Does Firstrade accept applications from international residents?

Yes, Firstrade handles international accounts. However, we are unable to open accounts of certain countries due to geographic location and/or risk profile.

  What types of documents do you require to open an account?
  • Brokerage Account Application

  • W-8BEN

  • Valid Passport photocopy

  • Proof of foreign residency (if the mailing address differs from the permanent address).
    Click here to open an account online.

  I am a U.S. Citizen living abroad permanently. What type of account should I open?

Firstrade does not accept new applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents living abroad.

  Can I set up ACH electronic transfers with my local bank in my country?

In most cases, we will not be able to set up an ACH profile for bank accounts outside of the United States. This is because we require a 9-digit ABA number to set up the profile. If your bank utilizes a SWIFT code, please initiate a wire transfer request instead. If you have an US bank account, you are able to set up an ACH profile.


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