Cryptocurrency’s popularity continues to grow as coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and alternate coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin trend higher. For a lot of people across the country, cryptocurrency turned into a unique investment opportunity, where investors can buy and sell at any time of the day and watch their money multiply throughout the year.
However, managing your cryptocurrency tax is a bit complicated, which is why we’ve prepared this guide to help you figure out your crypto tax.
Cryptocurrency “crypto” is a form of cyber payment. It circulates without a central monetary authority such as a government or bank. Unlike traditional forms of currency, cryptocurrencies are created using cryptographic techniques that enable people to buy, sell or trade them safely.
Cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for goods and services, though they often are used as an investment. Cryptocurrency is also a key part of the operation of some decentralized financial networks, where digital tokens are an important tool for carrying out transactions.
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. In 2021, it hit an all-time high above $65,000 before falling back.
The IRS treats cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies as ‘Property.’ So, any transactions concerning cryptocurrencies are governed by the same tax principles applied to “Property” as per the IRS Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets.
In simple words, anytime a taxable event occurs to your cryptocurrency investments, you are obligated to report them on your taxes.
Since cryptocurrencies are viewed as property by the IRS, there are two potential taxes that apply to them - Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.
To determine the tax you'll pay generally depends on the type of transactions you're making with your crypto.
Income Tax: You must pay income tax on your crypto if you happen to be earning in the form of cryptocurrency.
Capital Gains Tax: You must pay capital gains tax on your crypto if you are swapping, selling, or spending it.
You are required to pay capital gains taxes depending on the type of assets you gained. They are generally of two types:
These are based on how long you hold the asset (cryptocurrency).
Short-term capital gains occur when you trade cryptocurrency for more than you bought and held the investment for a year or less. These are taxed at the taxpayer’s ordinary income tax rate, just like wage income.
Long-term capital gains occur when you trade crypto for more than you bought it but held the investment for longer than a year. These gains are taxed at more favorable long-term capital gains tax rates, which can be as low as 0%.
To calculate your capital gains and losses from each of your crypto transactions, you simply need to apply the following formula:
Fair Market Value - Cost Basis = Capital Gain/Loss,
Or else you can use the crypto capital gains tax calculator such as FlyFin to help calculate your crypto tax.
Crypto is taxed as an asset therefore, it is difficult to avoid paying taxes for it. However, there are some ways through which you can avoid paying taxes on your cryptocurrency:
Cryptocurrency’s tax rate for federal taxes is identical to the capital gains tax rate. For the year 2023, the rate ranges from 10-37% for short-term capital gains and 0-20% for long-term capital gains.
The IRS calculates crypto-asset gains through two factors: your income and your holding period.
A cryptocurrency’s holding period begins the day after the asset is bought and continues until you trade, sell, or deposit the asset elsewhere.
For short-term capital gains, you must pay the same tax rate as you do on your regular income. The following table represents the Federal Income Tax rate for 2022:
For long-term capital gains, you must pay the same tax rate as you do on your regular income. The following table represents the Federal Income Tax rate for 2022:
Calculating your crypto taxes is a time-consuming process. You can either do it manually or use a crypto tax calculator like FlyFin to save you hours.
If you wish to calculate crypto taxes yourself, follow these steps:
Taxes are complicated, crypto tax isn’t any different. As the industry evolves, the IRS too modifies and amends its tax code regarding cryptocurrency. But avoiding or neglecting to report your cryptocurrency gains, losses, and income on your taxes is considered tax fraud by the IRS.
It can lead to a steep penalty of up to $250,000 along with criminal prosecution and five years in prison. The IRS has admitted to sending out letters to crypto investors they believe are underreporting or evading tax. So, if you possess cryptocurrency by earning, trading, or selling it, make sure to report it on your tax return.
If the process of filing crypto taxes seems too complex, hire a CPA or try FlyFin’s Crypto Tax Calculator. It is powered by A.I. and helps you determine your cryptocurrency tax and assists you in lowering them. Moreover, this crypto tax calculator is backed by CPAs who are available to assist you to calculate crypto taxes.
FlyFin CPA Team
With a combined 150 years of experience, FlyFin's CPA tax team includes tax CPAs, IRS Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals, offering users the most comprehensive tax advice and preparation.