Indeed, almost every transaction may be taxable and should be reported.
Do crypto transactions get reported to the IRS?
In the meantime — and especially if the bill doesn’t get enacted — there are a variety of ways the IRS will assess whether you have engaged in taxable crypto transactions.
That doesn’t mean the IRS will simply rely on an honor system. “They have the perception that there are many more people engaged in virtual currency transactions than is being reported on returns,” Luscombe said.
So, together with the US Department of Justice, the tax agency is actively seeking compliance in a few ways.
How did it get the names of those 10,000 people? “[T]hrough various ongoing IRS compliance efforts,” the agency noted.
One such effort: The IRS is seeking customer lists from cryptocurrency companies through legal summonses.
What tax do I owe on cryptocurrency if I sell it?
You must report any capital gain or capital loss from the sale of your cryptocurrencies. That will be determined by the difference — in US dollars — between how much you paid when buying them and how much you received when you sold them.
If you held the investment for a year or less and it had appreciated in value by the time you sold it, your gain will be taxed as ordinary income. If you held it longer than a year, then it would be subject to capital gains tax rates.
If you lost money on the sale, you may use your capital loss to offset any capital gains you incurred in other investments, Luscombe said.
How about if I got paid in a virtual currency for a good or service?
That’s reportable as ordinary income to you. And the amount of income reported should be the value in US dollars of the virtual currency the day you received it.
What if I paid someone else in virtual currency?
That’s like a sale of bitcoin on which you will realize a gain or loss. The IRS notes that the gain or loss is determined by “the difference between the fair market value of the services you received and your adjusted basis in the virtual currency exchanged.”
What should I report if all I did was buy virtual currency?
Will my state tax my crypto transactions?
Probably, but you should see what your state revenue department has said on the issue.
“Most states have not specifically addressed virtual currency, which means that the majority of states that have an income tax would follow the federal lead,” Luscombe said.
Any money you earn from your crypto investments or income payments will be factored into your federal adjusted gross income. And most states use your federal AGI as a starting point.
Two states — Nevada and Wyoming, neither of which have an income tax — did specify they would not subject virtual currency transactions to the state property tax, Luscombe said.
Editor’s note: This story is an update of the original version, which ran in April 2021.