Crypto Trading Taxes: What You Need to Know



Quick Definition

Cryptocurrency trades may be subject to capital gains taxes, depending on the situation. As cryptocurrency is a relatively new area of investing, it is advisable to speak with a qualified tax professional prior to making any decisions.

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How Do Cryptocurrency Tax Rules Affect Traders?

Cryptocurrency tax rules can be complex and confusing for many traders. The internal revenue service doesn’t consider digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple to be legal tender.

However, cryptocurrency is treated in a variety of ways for tax purposes depending on what type of transaction is being made. For example, when an individual exchanges their cryptocurrency for other property, the difference between the fair market value of the property and what was paid by the individual in crypto form is subject to taxes.

There are two sides to this debate – some believe that heavier taxation will deter individuals from investing in cryptocurrency markets, while others view it as a necessary process to ensure that all transactions are properly recorded and monitored in order to protect investors and discourage criminal activity.

Moreover, certain transactions with digital currency may be treated as property exchanges instead and attract capital gains taxes. Trading one currency for another is regarded as a taxable event but under certain conditions, it may qualify as a nontaxable transaction such as when trading crypto-to-crypto within a 60 day period.

In a 2019 report issued by the IRS, it was determined that around 0.04 percent of taxpayers reported virtual currency gains or losses on their returns which could indicate that Americans are either not aware of the regulations or failing to comply with them altogether.

Given how frequently digital currency markets change and new rules are introduced, it’s important for cryptocurrency traders to stay up-to-date on tax regulations so that they don’t potentially face any penalties from not filing correctly.

Understanding the tax treatment of digital currency investments may help traders navigate these issues and optimise the way in which crypto assets are managed for future growth.

Understanding the Tax Treatment of Digital Currency Investments

When it comes to cryptocurrency and tax, the main question to figure out is whether digital currency investments are labelled as income or capital gains.

This can have a huge effect on how much traders owe in tax each year. Income would be taxed as ordinary income based on an individual’s marginal tax rate, while capital gains are taxed differently. Thus, understanding the tax treatment of digital currency investments is key for any crypto trader.

The debate about how to classify them is ongoing and very complicated. Some argue that due to the fact that currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum can act like a commodity, they should be classified as capital gains, which usually result in lower taxes compared to income.

Others counter that if the primary purpose of acquiring the asset is to benefit from regular gains generated by its increase in value, then it should be classified as taxable income for the investor.

Furthermore, there isn’t really a clear consensus between US states regarding income vs. capital gains classification for cryptocurrencies either.

Currently, some states view cryptocurrencies as property, while others look at it more like a foreign currency or even a form of tangible personal property.

Either way, traders need to understand the different rules surrounding cryptocurrency taxation and work with professionals to make sure they are minimising their taxable liability as much as possible.

Tax laws can be tricky and confusing when it comes to cryptocurrencies because of the uncertain regulatory landscape. That said, keeping up with changes in these regulations and laws can help traders better plan their affairs and avoid getting into troublesome situations down the road.

With this in mind, it is important to continue researching what exact taxes crypto traders may need to consider when investing or trading in digital currencies before making any decisions related to their cryptocurrency portfolio.

The next step towards understanding how cryptocurrency will be taxed is understanding the differences between income and capital gains tax classification for crypto investments – signs that we need to delve deeper into this complex topic moving forward.

Income vs Capital Gains Tax Classification for Crypto Investments

It is important to understand the tax implications of how your crypto investments are classified. Cryptoassets held as a capital asset can be subject to either income or capital gains taxes depending on a variety of factors.

Generally, income taxes apply when profit or gains are derived from cryptocurrency trading activities and capital gains taxes apply when crypto investments result in a financial gain.

For traders, the most common classification for their crypto investments will be as capital assets. This means that any resulting profits or gains from selling cryptoassets would incur the capital gains tax rate.

Depending on the length of time an investor has held their crypto (short-term or long-term) and the specific type of asset, this rate could vary drastically.

For example, if someone holds a cryptoasset for at least one year, then sells it for more than they initially paid for it, then they could potentially be subject to the more favourable long-term capital gains tax rate.

However, if they were to hold their asset for less than one year before selling it, they may need to pay the higher short-term capital gains tax rate instead.

In addition to the classification of cryptoassets as either income or capital assets, there may also be potential deductions that can reduce a taxpayer’s liability.

These deductions may include brokerage fees paid when buying and selling digital currencies, investment expenses related to trading activities like internet fees or bank fees, certain business expenses made to run a virtual currency exchange business, or software costs related to trading activities like specialised charting and trading software.

It is important to note that individual tax rules and regulations vary from country to country and from region to region. Cryptocurrency investors should consult with legal advisors familiar with the local laws regarding taxation of digital assets in order to make sure all applicable taxes are being properly accounted for.

Taxpayers must ensure that records are kept and reported accurately in order to comply with local laws and regulations surrounding digital currency investing taxes. In the next section we will discuss best practices for keeping records and reporting your cryptocurrency trading activity for earnings, profits and losses.

Keeping Records and Reporting for Crypto Trading Taxes

Now that you have heard both sides of the argument for income versus capital gains tax classification for crypto investments, it is important to keep records and properly report crypto trading taxes.

With the IRS’s transitional guidance on virtual currency transactions issued in October 2019, cryptocurrency investors must keep records for every crypto transaction within a taxable account.

Those records should include but are not limited to: the date of each transaction; type and quantity of property involved in the transaction; basis and fair market value of the property in US dollars at the time of transaction (cost basis); and names and addresses from which the property was acquired and to whom it was transferred.

Tracking additions and dispositions is especially crucial when calculating cost basis – the original purchase price plus any additional costs associated with purchasing an asset.

Updating your cost basis regularly enables you to more accurately determine capital gains or losses used to calculate capital gain taxes. Since cryptocurrency values often fluctuate rapidly, failure to record gains and losses can lead to significant misreporting with hefty penalties to follow.

Though the burden of obtaining and keeping records falls upon individual taxpayers, it is ultimately beneficial when filing your crypto trading taxes come tax season. Good recordkeeping can help ensure you are reporting faithfully and may reduce your overall burden as well.

By staying diligent with tracking ownership transfers, you can manage and prepare for potential tax liabilities ahead of time as opposed to being blindsided when filing season comes around.

Nevertheless, proper documentation is key when tracking cost basis calculations for capital gains and losses purposes. In our next section, we’ll examine how recording acquisitions correctly can be critical in reducing crypto trading taxes so stay tuned.

Cost Basis Calculations and Recordation

When it comes to calculating and reporting the cost basis of crypto, traders will need to ensure their calculations are timely and accurate.

The cost basis of a crypto asset is its purchase price, plus all other costs incurred during the acquisition (such as transaction fees), and can then be used for tax purposes such as determining the gain or loss when it is sold.

It’s important to note that if one were to buy additional units of a cryptocurrency at different times and prices, then each purchase would create a new cost basis (which must be separately tracked and reported).

Using a software or service that can automatically track the cost basis of your transactions provides an effective way of simplifying this process.

Doing this will also ensure you meet the required record-keeping standards imposed by the government which must include detailed account records, summaries of each sale and purchase, wallet addresses, and so on. Nonetheless, some may prefer going with more pragmatic solutions that involve manually keeping track of everything.

No matter the avenue you decide to take, accurately calculating and recording your cost basis is essential for filing taxes associated with crypto trading in order to identify any potential gains or losses from crypto-trading activities.

As such, careful consideration needs to be paid to the method employed for costing out crypto purchases; a mistake here could end up costing you financially in taxes due. With that said, having sound documentation can go a long way towards helping you protect yourself and getting taxed correctly.

Now, that we have discussed Keeping Records and Reporting for Crypto Trading Taxes, there are still many questions left unanswered on how exactly one should go about filing crypto taxes with the IRS.

For those who want to learn more about what they need to do in terms of filing their crypto taxes, the next section will look into how crypto investors can approach this critical step in the process.

Filing Crypto Taxes with the IRS

At this point, you’ve probably made your calculations and figured out your gains or losses on each of your positions. But the job isn’t complete yet – now it’s time to file taxes with the IRS.

When it comes to filing crypto trading taxes with the US government, most people can agree that it is necessary in order to avoid hefty fines or penalties.

In fact, a recent statement from the IRS notes that “cryptocurrency transactions are taxable by law” and must be reported on tax returns. After all, you wouldn’t want to face an audit down the line if it turns out that you owe a hefty sum to the IRS but failed to report it.

That said, not everyone agrees on how strictly crypto trade should be regulated by the IRS. Some argue that existing tax laws should be relaxed due to crypto’s uniqueness as an asset class; meanwhile, others suggest that rigorous adherence to existing regulations should be required given its potential for growth.

Ultimately though, staying in compliance with the law is arguably the prudent move here — there may be grey areas in terms of interpretation, but why take any unnecessary risks?

The bottom line: when it comes to filing crypto taxes with the United States government, caution is key — meaning being as thorough and accurate as possible with all reporting procedures.

Doing so will protect your interests going forward and help you avoid any issues should you ever need to prove your past compliance with the law.

Now that you have a better understanding of how cost basis calculations and record keeping work, let’s turn our attention to a more holistic approach for remaining compliant when trading cryptocurrencies.

The Law-Abiding Investor’s Approach to Crypto Trading Taxes

The law-abiding investor’s approach to crypto trading taxes is to view cryptocurrency as an investment property and treat it accordingly for capital gains or losses.

When taxpayers realise a profit from their cryptocurrency investments, they need to pay taxes on their income at the applicable federal rate. The same goes for when a taxpayer realises a loss from their investments–they can use that loss to offset any other earned income and lower their overall tax burden.

While understanding the tax implications of trading cryptocurrency can be complex, following the rules is important for law-abiding investors.

Failing to report crypto assets or profits could lead to significant penalties and interest payments if the IRS ever discovers unpaid taxes. In the worst-case scenarios, taxpayers who fail to comply with their crypto tax obligations may even face criminal prosecution and jail time.

For this reason, it’s essential that crypto investors understand their responsibilities when it comes to filing taxes on any capital gains or losses associated with their trading activity.

Exchange platforms are now required by law to provide investors with detailed documentation proving both coin acquisitions and dispositions–including sale prices and cost basis amounts.

Taxpayers must then use this information in order to accurately calculate their cryptocurrency capital gains and losses for tax purposes. Such calculations will vary depending on how long investors have held their coins and how much profit or loss each sale generated over different time periods.

Following the correct rules when reporting cryptocurrency activities also requires investors to track all trades comprehensively and store any relevant documents securely.

By showing due diligence in filing taxes on crypto assets, law-abiding investors reduce the chance of facing financial penalties during an audit or investigation by the IRS down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers

Are there any tax benefits to trading cryptocurrency?

Yes, there are some tax benefits to trading cryptocurrency. Depending on the particular circumstances, traders may be able to take advantage of capital gains tax incentives and deductions when they trade cryptocurrency.

For example, in the US, capital gains rates on investment income from cryptocurrency trading can range from 0-20 percent, depending on a trader’s filing status and income (with higher rates for short-term gains).

Additionally, business expenses related to cryptocurrency transactions may be deductible under certain circumstances; for instance, businesses that use cryptocurrencies for payment processors or advertisement may be able to claim deductions for these costs.

Ultimately, whether someone can take advantage of any tax benefits depends on their country’s rules and regulations, so it’s important to consult a professional to ensure compliance with all applicable legislation.

How do I accurately report my cryptocurrency taxes?

Accurately reporting your cryptocurrency taxes requires careful tracking of your crypto trading activities and taking the time to understand the tax implications in each situation.

First, document all of your crypto trades and related activities (such as transfers from wallets, ICO investments, etc.) throughout the year so you can keep track of gains and losses. In addition, make sure you also track any fees associated with these transactions.

Second, stay up-to-date on applicable tax laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. It’s important to understand which types of cryptocurrency transactions are subject to taxation and what forms of cryptocurrency are legally recognised as taxable assets in your area.

Third, ensure that you accurately report all income earned from cryptocurrencies in your tax filings. This includes anything that is considered a capital gain or income earned from trading activities (such as buying/selling digital assets).

When filing taxes, be sure to use the correct cost basis for your assets – either Fair Market Value (FMV) on purchase date or Cost Basis Value (CBR) on sale date – whichever applies to each transaction.

Finally, consult a qualified tax advisor for any questions about crypto trading taxes and to make sure you’re correctly declaring all income related to cryptocurrency activity on your returns.

What types of cryptocurrency taxes exist?

There are several types of cryptocurrency taxes, depending on the specific situation. These include short-term capital gains taxes, which are applicable when a cryptocurrency is sold within one year of being purchased; long-term capital gains taxes, applicable to any cryptocurrency sale that occurs more than one year after purchase; and taxation on mining income.

In addition, some countries may impose certain taxes or require certain forms or filings depending on the type of transaction and the amount exchanged.

Furthermore, certain countries may also recognise different forms of cryptocurrencies as asset classes with their own tax rules and regulations. As such, it is important to familiarise yourself with all available information prior to getting involved in trading or investing in cryptocurrencies.


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