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Tag Archive for Virtual Currency

Virtual Currency And The IRS

Venar Ayar- Virtual Currency

Virtual currency refers to any digital currency which is only available in an electronic form and not as a physical form of money. Virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, are created by a process known as “mining,” where an individual, using powerful computers, authenticates transactions in what is known as a “blockchain,” or a ledger of digital transactions.

Virtual currencies may be traded on digital trading platforms, such as the third-party Coinbase, and can be used as a form of online payment, held as an investment, or used in loans to other individuals.

The IRS And Virtual Currencies

According to IRS Notice 2014-21, “the sale or exchange of convertible virtual currency, or the use of convertible virtual currency to pay for goods or services in a real-world economy transaction, has tax consequences that may result in a tax liability.”  This means, per IRS determination, virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, are treated as property, and subject to tax regulations.

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Five Myths About Cryptocurrency Taxation

Myth No. 1

There is no need to report any gain or loss for exchanges between one cryptocurrency and another if the transaction occurred before January 1, 2018. That is not true. Every time when you sell a cryptocurrency, whether for fiat currency or another cryptocurrency (e.g. sell Bitcoin for Ethereum), you need to report the transaction and calculate gain or loss for tax purposes. Many people thought an exchange between two cryptocurrencies qualified for section 1031 like-kind exchange if it was done before January 1, 2018. Under the new tax law signed by the President on December 22, 2017, only real property qualifies for section 1031 like-kind exchange tax treatment starting 1/1/2018. However, it does not mean that cryptocurrency qualified for like-kind exchange tax treatment before the new law kicks in. There is no tax law, old or new, supports the conclusion that cryptocurrency ever qualified for like-kind exchange tax treatment. People taking such position are at risk for losing their battle with IRS.

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What Businesses Need To Know About The Tax Treatment Of Bitcoin And Other Virtual Currencies

Over the last several years, virtual currency has become increasingly popular. Bitcoin is the most widely recognized form of virtual currency, also commonly referred to as digital, electronic or crypto currency.

While most smaller businesses aren’t yet accepting bitcoin or other virtual currency payments from their customers, more and more larger businesses are. And the trend may trickle down to smaller businesses. Businesses also can pay employees or independent contractors with virtual currency. But what are the tax consequences of these transactions?

Bitcoin 101

Bitcoin has an equivalent value in real currency and can be digitally traded between users. It also can be purchased with real currencies or exchanged for real currencies. Bitcoin is most commonly obtained through virtual currency ATMs or online exchanges.

Goods or services can be paid for using “bitcoin wallet” software. When a purchase is made, the software digitally posts the transaction to a global public ledger. This prevents the same unit of virtual currency from being used multiple times.

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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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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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Virtual Currency And Taxes – The View Of The United States Internal Revenue Service

Internal Revenue Service Notice 2014-21

Section   1. Purpose

This notice describes how existing general tax principles apply to transactions using virtual currency. The notice provides this guidance in the form of answers to frequently asked questions.

Section   2. Background

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is aware that “virtual currency” may be used to pay for goods or services, or held for investment. Virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value. In some environments, it operates like “real” currency — i.e., the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender, circulates, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance — but it does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. Read more

Are Virtual Currencies Taxable?

With virtual currencies like Bitcoin becoming more mainstream in recent years, we often get asked if revenue from the sale or exchange of these digital dollars is taxable. The simple answer is, YES – income (or profit) from virtual currency transactions is reportable on your income tax return. However, because this is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are a few things you should be aware of to make sure you don’t get caught with a huge tax bill!

Virtual currency, as generally defined, is a digital representation of value that functions in the same manner as a country’s traditional currency. Bitcoin is one example of a convertible virtual currency which can be digitally traded between users and purchased for, or exchanged into, U.S. dollars, Euros and other real or virtual currencies. There are currently more than 1,500 known virtual currencies. Because transactions in virtual currencies can be difficult to trace and have an inherently anonymous aspect, some taxpayers could be tempted to hide taxable income from the IRS. Read more

Taxes And Virtual Currencies: What You Need To Know

Bitcoin, blockchain, cryptocurrency… Digital and virtual currencies are all the rage lately. However, just because there isn’t a physical coin in hand, doesn’t mean they are shielded from taxes. Following are some virtual currency tax consequences you must know if you decide to dip your toe in that world.

“While Bitcoin is the most popular virtual currency there are many others (e.g. Ripple, Ethereum, Lite Coin, etc.). The IRS rules on income recognition apply regardless of which virtual currency you’re using.” — Ren Cicalese III, CPA, MST

The IRS Is Paying Close Attention Read more

Bitcoin Transaction Reporting

A growing number of individuals and businesses own bitcoin or use it for transactions (perhaps with a third party actually handling the bitcoin to cash exchange). So, more people, including tax practitioners, need to know the federal guidance at Notice 2014-21.

I was interviewed recently for an article in Business Insider by Jonathan Marino on the topic. The article is titled: “Bitcoin will be a big mess for both Bitcoin holders and the IRS.” That may be true for some, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Certainly, if an individual has been using bitcoin regularly and not doing anything to track the basis and value for each transaction, they have some catching up to do. If someone gets on a system of tracking, they should have the data all ready when it comes time to Read more

IRS Targeting California As Its Booming Economy Overtakes Brazil As The World’s Seventh Largest Economy

California is overtaking Brazil as the world’s seventh-largest economy, bolstered by rising employment, home values and personal and corporate income, a year after the U.S. most-populous state surpassed Russia and Italy. Brazil has a population five times bigger than California’s 38.3 million; yet the Golden State with GDP of $2.20 trillion in 2013, expanded last year by almost every measure. In contrast, Brazil’s GDP declined 1% from $2.25 trillion. California’s economy has sustained its momentum since 2013, when the value of goods and services produced in the state topped that of Russia and Italy to vault California to No. 8 in the world. California grew an average of 4.1% annually during the last three years. Who is next ahead of California in the No. 6 spot? United Kingdom with a GDP of $2.68 trillion. Read more

Think You Can Hide From The IRS? Target Orange County, California

The IRS is using its extensive Big Data resources to pin-point their investigations to the wealthiest areas in Orange County, California. The idea being that anyone who is selected for investigation in these areas will result in a higher tax liability than those who live in less affluent areas. The government is looking for non-filers, persons engaged in on-line and virtual currency transactions, businesses cheating or delinquent on employment taxes and individuals with undisclosed foreign bank accounts.

Non-Filers

When a taxpayer does not file and the IRS has information statements indicating a filing requirement, the IRS uses the data to file a return on behalf of the taxpayer if there is a projected balance owed. In 2012, the IRS used information statements to file 803,000 Read more