Tax Implications of Cryptocurrency: What You Need to Report

Cryptocurrency has revolutionized financial transactions, but it also brings unique challenges for tax compliance.

Askia Roberts
May 15, 2024

1. Understanding Cryptocurrency and Taxation

  • Definition of Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. It operates independently of a central bank.
  • Taxable Events:
    • Buying goods or services using cryptocurrency.
    • Trading or exchanging one cryptocurrency for another.
    • Selling cryptocurrency for fiat currency.
    • Earning cryptocurrency through mining or as a form of income.

2. Reporting Cryptocurrency on Your Taxes

  • Form 1040: All taxpayers are asked whether they received, sold, sent, exchanged, or otherwise acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency.
  • Form 8949: Used to report capital gains and losses from investment transactions, including cryptocurrencies.
  • Schedule D: Accompanies Form 8949 to summarize capital gains and losses.

3. Calculating Gains and Losses

  • Cost Basis Calculation: The purchase price of cryptocurrency plus associated fees.
  • Methodologies: FIFO (First In First Out), LIFO (Last In First Out), or Specific Identification.
  • Keeping Records: Maintain detailed records of transactions, including dates, amounts in USD, and the fair market value.

4. Special Considerations for Cryptocurrency

  • Hard Forks and Airdrops: May result in taxable income if new cryptocurrency is received.
  • Mining: Income derived from mining is taxed as self-employment income.
  • Staking: Rewards from staking are considered income at the time of receipt.

5. Deductions and Losses

  • Capital Losses: Can be used to offset capital gains and up to $3,000 of other income.
  • Business Expenses: Miners can deduct expenses such as hardware and electricity.

6. Tips for Tax Compliance

  • Use Cryptocurrency Tax Software: Helps track transactions and calculate gains and losses.
  • Consult with a Tax Professional: Especially important for complex situations or large volumes of transactions.
  • Stay Updated: Tax regulations regarding cryptocurrency can evolve; staying informed is crucial.

7. Ensuring Qualification for Tax Deductions

  • Record-Keeping: Essential for proving eligibility for deductions.
  • Timely Reporting: Ensure all transactions are reported in the tax year they occur.
  • Understanding Eligibility: Know which deductions apply to specific activities like mining or trading.


Navigating the tax implications of cryptocurrency can be complex, but with diligent record-keeping and a clear understanding of IRS requirements, taxpayers can ensure they meet their obligations and optimize their tax situation.

At RTW Advisors, we specialize in helping small business owners navigate complex tax regulations and optimize their tax strategies. If you have any questions or need assistance with your tax planning and preparation, please contact us.

Askia Roberts, CPA

RTW Advisors