Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What are the benefits of spread betting?

Spread betting is a popular form of leveraged trading that allows traders to speculate on financial market movements. Like CFD trading, spread betting is an online form of trading and can be accessed via a trading platform. In this article, we will cover the advantages of spread betting, some of which are unique when placing spread bets. However, don't forget to read about the risks of spread betting before placing a trade for an overview of this product.

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Spread betting tax

Spread betting’s unique benefit is that it is exempt from both capital gains tax and stamp duty*. When compared to conventional share trading and CFD trading, spread betting is the only product to offer tax-free trading in the UK and Ireland.

However, tax is not the only advantage spread betting has to offer, so read on to find out more.

Advantages of spread betting

  • Speculate on falling markets. When you spread bet, you don't physically buy the instrument on which you are taking a position. You instead speculate on whether you expect prices to rise or fall. This means that if you think the price of a particular instrument is going to fall, you can go short (sell) the product and if you think prices are going to rise, you go long (buy).
  • No stamp duty. Unlike traditional share trading, you don't have to pay stamp duty when you spread bet because you are not buying the underlying product. Instead, you take a position based on whether you expect the price of that product to rise or fall.
  • Profits are tax free*. Spread betting profits are exempt from capital gains tax (CGT) in the UK. However, tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and tax laws are subject to change.
  • Trade using margin. Spread betting is traded on margin (or leverage). Margin trading allows you to do more with your capital – you can open more or bigger positions than you would be able to if you had to fund the full value of the position. For example, if the margin rate for a product is 5%, and you wanted to place a bet worth £200, you would only use £10 from your available account balance to open your position. Remember, however, that spread betting using margin can increase your losses as well as profits as they are relative to the full value of the position.
  • Risk management. We offer a number of risk management tools, including stop-loss orders. A stop-loss order may help you manage your exposure by setting a price level beyond which you are not prepared to risk any more of your capital on a position. When used effectively, a stop-loss order should automatically close your position if the price of the relevant instrument moves against you and reaches the price level where you wish to exit that position. It's important to remember that regular and trailing stop-losses may not protect you from market gapping or slippage. For 100% certainty that your stop-loss will be executed at the exact price you want, you can use guaranteed stop-loss orders, for a small premium charge. Other risk-management features include trailing stop-loss orders and take-profit market orders​​.
  • Access to thousands of global instruments. Spread betting can be a cost-efficient way to speculate on new markets. We offer prices on thousands of shares, plus currencies, indices, commodities and treasuries from across the globe. View our full range of spread betting markets.
  • Commission-free trading. Spread betting is exempt from many of the costs that you face when you trade shares with a stock broker. For example, there is no commission, stamp duty or capital gains tax to pay. As a company, we are remunerated through the spread we offer on each product. Learn more about spread betting spreads.
  • 24-hour trading. You can spread bet on a huge number of forex pairs 24 hours a day, from Sunday evening through to Friday night. We also offer many indices, commodities and treasuries which are almost tradable around the clock, bar a short break. For example, the UK 100 is available to trade between 1am on Mondays and 9pm on Fridays, apart from two breaks between 9.15pm and 9.30pm, and 10pm to 11pm.
  • Trade anywhere. You can access our desktop application, online platform and mobile application to spread bet on the go. With cross-device functionality, you can open a trade on your desktop, and close the trade hours later on your mobile device. Our apps also feature fully interactive charts, with over 40 technical indicators. See all features of our mobile trading app.
  • Unique markets. We offer over 10,000 financial instruments that can be accessed with a spread betting account, includng forex, shares, ETFs, commodities, treasuries and indices. We do also have some unique markets offerings such as commodity indices that provide efficient and cost-effective exposure to several markets within an asset class.

See our spread betting guides to discover more about what spread betting is and how it works. Open a spread betting account now.


How can I hedge with spread betting?

When you hold a short to mid-term investment, spread betting can be used as a tool to help offset any losses from poorly performing assets in your investment portfolio. Long-term investors tend to avoid hedging as part of their strategy, as long-term investors are less concerned by short-term fluctuations. To get started, try out a demo account to practise your hedging strategies.

What markets can I access with a spread betting account?

You can access thousands of markets with a spread betting account on our Next Generation platform. With us you can trade on forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities, shares and treasuries. See our range of markets with competitive spread and margin rates, plus market opening hours. 

Is spread betting taxable in the UK?

If you’re a resident in the UK or Ireland, profits from spread betting are free from capital gains tax (CGT). However, tax treatment depends on personal circumstances and tax laws, which are subject to change, so please check your eligibility. New to spread betting? Watch our intro video

How can I start spread betting?

To get started, open a demo account to access our trading platform. Once your account is open, and you have accessed the platform, you can choose to trade from thousands of instruments, ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ with order tickets, and implement risk-management conditions. For a more detailed analysis, see our guide on how to get started spread betting.

*Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances. Tax law can change or may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.

Disclaimer: CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.