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Tag Archive for Virtual economy

Virtual Currency and Taxes

TaxConnections Blog Post by Annette Nellen about virtual currency.There has been a lot of mention in recent news stories about Bitcoin. Reuters reported this week that the Treasury Department’s financial crimes group (FinCEN) hosted a meeting with the Bitcoin Foundation (“Regulators, Bitcoin group discuss virtual currency,” 8/26/13). USA Today reports that the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee began investigating virtual currency a few months back and recently sent letters to some federal agencies to learn how they regulate such currencies (“Government eyes regulation of ‘Bitcoins'” (8/26/13). There have also been recent stories about virtual currencies and Ponzi schemes and money laundering, which obviously leave negative connotations about these currencies although some, like the Bitcoin, are being used for legitimate business transactions.

What is “Bitcoin”? It is a means for transacting business that has its foundation in software code and enough people willing to use it as a medium of exchange. A March 2013 release from FinCEN stated the following regarding virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin): “In contrast to real currency, “virtual” currency is a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency. In particular, virtual currency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.”

There are a few well known virtual currencies including the Linden dollar in Second Life and Amazon coins. Virtual currencies vary in terms of where they are usable (only in the online game or website), whether they can be exchanged for real currency, and how they are created or obtained. Read more