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Cryptocurrencies have gone through a recent boom. After various coins hitting their all-time high (ATH) records, a large number of new people have started purchasing them. Whether you’re a serious investor or a casual buyer/user of cryptocurrencies, you need to be informed about the taxes that apply to these.

In the US, cryptocurrencies are considered property. They are taxable just like any other property, including capital assets like bonds and shares.

Who does this advice concern or apply to?

  • If you transact in cryptocurrencies to receive or send payments for services or products;
  • If you have invested in cryptocurrencies, regardless of the period, in hopes of an interest-based gain;
  • If you mine cryptocurrencies or receive cryptocurrency rewards as a result of freezing or staking your cryptocurrencies; or
  • If you receive cryptocurrencies as airdrops or during hard forks of existing cryptocurrencies;

Then you’re eligible for taxes in the US.

In a nutshell, cryptocurrency selling, conversions, payments, earnings, and donations are taxable.

Different countries and regions of the world have different rules and regulations regarding taxation policies on cryptocurrencies. In the US, however, all cryptocurrency-based transactions are taxed.

Crypto income: Is it a business income or capital gain?

It depends.

If you’re getting paid in cryptocurrencies for services or products then it’s just like ordinary income. If your business is receiving cryptocurrency payments, then it’s business income. In this case, this income will be clubbed with the rest of your income channels while filing returns.

The IRS considers all cryptocurrency incomes and payments as regular income and payments. As such, there’s no difference between the two when it comes to tax reporting.

Note that the price of cryptocurrencies tends to be volatile. As such, you’re only eligible to pay taxes on the USD-equivalent value of the cryptocurrencies at the time of receiving the payment or income. If its value goes up or down in the future and is very different from when you received the money when you’re filing the return, it changes nothing. The USD-equivalent amount at the time of the receipt of the cryptocurrencies will be considered to be the taxable amount by the IRS.

If you’re buying cryptocurrencies from crypto exchanges and specifically holding them to earn gains, then it falls in the capital gains category.

If you’ve received cryptocurrencies as income and then you chose to hold (preferably in a noncustodial non-exchange wallet) rather than liquidating it or converting it into USD/fiat, it will still be considered to be ordinary income, given the possibility that you can make a capital gain on the amount simply by holding it.

Which cryptocurrency transactions are taxable?

All of them. The IRS taxes all cryptocurrency transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are not considered currencies or even a form of transactions legally in the United States (and the majority of the world). As such, they’re taxable no matter which medium you use them in.

For example, these cryptocurrency transactions are taxable (not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a pretty clear idea of how they’re seen from a taxation standpoint):

  1. Purchasing cryptocurrencies from exchanges for short-term gains.
  2. Purchasing cryptocurrencies from exchanges for long-term gains.
  3. Selling cryptocurrencies on exchanges to gain profits (or on a loss).
  4. Selling cryptocurrencies that you’ve mined.
  5. Acquiring cryptocurrencies via staking, freezing, or other blockchain consensus methods.
  6. Acquiring cryptocurrencies via airdrops or blockchain hard forks.

All these are taxable cryptocurrency transactions.

Do you still have to pay taxes if your Bitcoin is stolen?

No. Your Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency such as Ethereum or Dogecoin) can only be stolen if your private key or seed phrase was given by you to someone else (which should never be done) given how cracking a cryptocurrency wallet is impossible as well as impractical.

If your Bitcoin was stolen, you simply don’t have that asset anymore. It’s as if you purchased an asset for capital gain but it turned out to be a scam. Now that you don’t hold that asset anymore, you have no compulsion to pay any taxes on it.

Note that you only pay taxes on capital assets that you own while filing your income tax returns. If you cease to own said asset, you’re no longer required to pay any taxes on the same. Not to mention it’ll be futile to try to gather profit data on the stolen asset as none of the profit will actually be your profit, but the stealer’s profit.

Tax tools for crypto

Given the surge in cryptocurrency investment, trading, and transactions – a great deal of cryptocurrency management and taxation software and tools have cropped up on the market. Not all of them are good, however.

Here’s a list of a couple of reliable and trustworthy tools you can use to better manage your cryptocurrency taxes.

  1. CryptoTrader.tax: This is a platform that’s both easy to use and robust in its capabilities. You can choose to go with the CryptoTrader.tax service if you prefer a sleek, hassle-free way of generating tax reports. They also have a pretty decent support system for any queries or confusion. You can generate detailed tax reports using their system on all your cryptocurrency incomes and profits.
  2. Koinly: Koinly is a great software. It combines two very important features: accounting and tax. Apart from the US, Koinly also handles tax calculation and reporting for 20 countries including Canada and Australia. The reports generated with Koinly can be directly submitted to the IRS. More specifically, you will be able to download a completed Form 8949 along with the Schedule D attachment in PDF format. It can be connected to multiple blockchains, exchanges, and wallets to automatically receive and sync data related to your cryptocurrency transactions.

How to minimize crypto taxes

Taxes are levied on all the cryptocurrencies you hold as assets or all the cryptocurrencies received as income. There’s no way to cut corners here. Cryptocurrency-based capital loss can be adjusted against cryptocurrency-based profits.

Long-term cryptocurrency holding gains (more than a year) have a lesser tax rate than short-term gains. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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