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Tag Archive for Cryptocurrency

Virtual Currency: IRS Issues Additional Guidance On Tax Treatment And Reminds Taxpayers Of Reporting Obligations

Cryptocurrency And IRS

As part of a wider effort to assist taxpayers and to enforce the tax laws in a rapidly changing area, the Internal Revenue Service today issued two new pieces of guidance for taxpayers who engage in transactions involving virtual currency.

Expanding on guidance from 2014, the IRS is issuing additional detailed guidance to help taxpayers better understand their reporting obligations for specific transactions involving virtual currency. The new guidance includes Revenue Ruling 2019-24 and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The new revenue ruling addresses common questions by taxpayers and tax practitioners regarding the tax treatment of a cryptocurrency hard fork. In addition, a set of FAQs address virtual currency transactions for those who hold virtual currency as a capital asset.

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What The Taxman Can Learn From Crypto

We are in the midst of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in which technology is advancing at an exponential pace, bringing us mostly digital tools and processes. In the tax world, “digital” translates to: “how do rules designed for a tangible world apply?”

Cryptocurrency is a great example to remind us that tax as well as other laws and compliance processes need to be fluid to keep our economy moving ahead. Inaction or inappropriate responses can shut down or decelerate advancements that benefit society and lead to further technological progress.

From the late 1960s, when software was decoupled from hardware, to the birth of bitcoin nearly a decade ago, what have we learned that can help us deal with this asset and its uses as we encounter even more new forms of technology, uses and ways of doing business? This article suggests four tax lessons.

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Is Bitcoin Money?

What is money? Money is a measurement unit for the purpose of exchange. Money is used for valuation of goods, settling debts, accounting for work performed, and standardizing the measurement of production. Money has to be divisible, portable, stable in value, easy to obtain, durable over time and must be trusted by all parties using it.

Imagine money that is too large to divide into pieces, heavy to carry, spoils after 2 days, gets damaged easily or can be eaten by animals? If these are the characteristics of the currency, it would not be that useful and many business deals would not happen.

The most important element of money is trust. If you work for someone and you are not sure if you will get paid, would you do the work? If you did the work, and you got paid for something that was not accepted in many places, is it a valid payment? The economy and money system are built on trust, and it can be broken by a lack of trust by the majority of people.

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Is Bitcoin The De Facto Reserve Cryptocurrency?

What is a reserve currency? This is the currency in which all other currencies are standardized against, and this measure is used for global trade, asset valuation, and account settlement. The current reserve currency is the U.S. dollar since it was the strongest currency after World War 2. The strength of the currency was based on its trade position, political influence, military might, resources available and liquidity/recognition in the investment world.

In the cryptocurrency world, Bitcoin serves this function as other cryptocurrencies are converted into Bitcoin to access most exchanges. Since Bitcoin has the brand recognition of being the first known cryptocurrency, it has the advantage of breaking milestones first.

Bitcoin was the largest cryptocurrency by market cap at the time of writing (January 2018), the first coin to be created in 2009 and the first currency to be utilized for futures trading around the world. Bitcoin is also the first decentralized currency in recent time, as there have been digital and electronic currencies created before and after Bitcoin that are not decentralized.

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Paying Taxes On Bitcoin And Other Forms Of Cryptocurrency

With exponential gains in value and thousands of new retailers now accepting it as payment, Bitcoin has suddenly become one of the hottest discussion topics around the country. Bitcoin (BTC) is currently the most circulated virtual currency (also referred to as cryptocurrency, or “crypto”) in the world and can be exchanged for U.S. dollars, Euros, and other real or virtual currencies like Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP).

You may spend virtual currency to pay for products or services, or you may treat it like an investment or commodity and hold onto it. But how is a virtual currency like Bitcoin taxed and treated by the IRS? Do you have to pay taxes on Bitcoin? Depends on what you do with it.

  • How is virtual currency like Bitcoin handled for federal tax purposes?

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Virtual Currency Business Act Proposed Drives Droves Of Investors To Bermuda

TaxConnections, Virtual Currency Legislation

Virtual Currency Business Act Proposed In Bermuda – Regulation Of Virtual Currency Business Driving Many Investors To Bermuda

With interest in virtual currency at an all-time high, virtual currency is here to stay. Kevin Anderson of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the financial services regulator states the Virtual Currency Business Act (VCBA) has been proposed as a “shining example” for what Bermuda can accomplish.

The Bermuda VCBA defines “virtual currency business” as the provision of the following activities: issuing, selling or redeeming virtual coins, tokens or any other form of virtual currency. This would include an ICO business on behalf of customers. The Act would also cover payment service providers, defined as: “a person whose business includes the provision of services for the transfer of funds.”

It would also cover virtual currency exchanges, virtual currency wallets and virtual currency services vendors, defined as any business providing specific virtual currency-related services to the public. The legislation also addresses the intersection of cryptocurrency and fiat, preventing fraud and market manipulation, the integrity of cryptocurrency owners, clear descriptions of the risks for prospective investors, and the Bermuda Monetary Authority BMA enforcement powers. Review the Consultation Paper at this link.

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Reporting Virtual Currency Transactions

With the price of Bitcoin hitting record highs in 2017, many Bitcoin holders cashed out not realizing the impact it could have on their tax bill. Many people, for example, did not understand that it was a reportable transaction and found themselves with a hefty tax bill–money they may have been hard-pressed to come up with at tax time. Others may have been unaware that they needed to report their transactions at all or failed to do so because it seemed too complicated.

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How To Mount A Tax Defense For Unreported Crypto Income

On February 23, Coinbase, a popular U.S.-based digital currency exchange, notified 13,000 of its customers that it would be turning over their account information to the IRS. The notice was precipitated by a U.S. District Court ruling in a protracted John Doe Summons battle between the company and the IRS concerning accounts with potentially unreported cryptocurrency income.

Ultimately, the Court found that the IRS was entitled to the information.

The Coinbase summons battle is reminiscent of aggressive tax enforcement efforts pursued by the Department of Justice to ferret out U.S. taxpayers holding unreported income and assets abroad. That initiative also began with the issuance of a John Doe summons, but to a Swiss bank, UBS, for unreported foreign account information.

The IRS and DOJ then quickly expanded to other foreign banks and other countries. With the offshore voluntary disclosure program (“OVDP”) winding down, there are strong indications that the IRS will be turning its attention to unreported cryptocurrency transactions.

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Blockchain And Corporate Taxation: Change Is Coming

While the technology can sound quite complex, a blockchain is essentially an immutable, distributed ledger. This means that instead of a single, third-party record holder, every authorized party within the blockchain holds an instantly updated record of all transactions. Blockchain maintains data integrity this way because it’s virtually impossible to alter the data of every single ledger. Any discrepancies found will be compared against every ledger and any fraudulent data found will be disregarded. Read more

Another Cryptocurrency Primer Of Our Cyber Universe: Who, What, And Why They Differ

  1. Who are the major players I think you should be aware of
  2. What’s a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization)?
  3. If Cyber Currency is so Great, Why are there so many challenges in the Community?
  4. My Crystal Ball

The cryptocurrency, or digital currently world is complex with a few core leaders and hundreds, if not thousands, of related active alternatives. All are predicated on the concept of the Blockchain or often referred to as the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). While the core history of Bitcoin and its related alternatives is fairly accessible via a simplified web search, popular media, and even “analog” books, I have determined that far too many do not understand the differences and similarities between and among these various alternative coins (Alt Coins). Read more

What Is Cryptocurrency?

There is plenty of misunderstanding about the definition of cryptocurrency. Wikipedia’s well-researched entry on the topic defines “cryptocurrency” as follows (with their links included):

[Cryptocurrency is] a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies are a type of digital currencies, alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. Read more

Do Not Let Cryptocurrency Crimp Your Relationship With The IRS

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming more popular as a form of payment and as investment. However, there has been little attention paid to how this virtual currency will be treated by the IRS until now. In fact, the IRS is taking a much closer look and has established some tax guidelines.

According to an article published in accountingtoday.com, “For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property and not currency.” They add, “The fair market value of the virtual currency on the date of receipt determines the taxpayer’s basis.”

Some businesses are actually paying employee wages in virtual currency instead of U.S. dollars. Read more