Can You Write Off Crypto Losses on Your Taxes?

This story is a part of Taxes 2023, CNET’s protection of one of the best tax software program, tax suggestions and all the things else it’s worthwhile to file your return and observe your refund.

Let’s simply say 2022 wasn’t one of the best yr for cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, one of the best identified cryptocurrency, took a beating final yr, plummeting over 60%, with many altcoins delivering related losses. Though the time window to doc crypto losses for the 2022 tax yr has now ended, understanding just a few crypto tax tips will help you lower your expenses for those who plan to proceed investing in digital cash, shares or different securities in coming years.

One approach, generally known as tax loss harvesting, enables you to declare capital losses you had from cryptocurrency, investments or property in your taxes, with a purpose to offset tax owed on future years’ beneficial properties. When appropriately documented, capital losses can offset any capital beneficial properties revenue you had in the identical yr, in addition to as much as $3,000 of taxable revenue for that yr. In case your complete losses exceed $3,000, you possibly can carry the remaining stability ahead to future years’ tax returns. We like this since it will possibly assist decrease your taxable revenue, and probably your tax invoice.

Tax loss harvesting has its caveats. You’ll be able to solely declare capital losses out of your crypto as soon as the loss is “realized,” which means as soon as you’ve got offered your cash. The tax fee additionally varies, relying on whether or not or not you’ve got held a coin for a couple of yr. Nonetheless, with final yr delivering its justifiable share of business scandals, many traders who’re sitting on substantial losses may wish to promote their holdings and transfer on. In the event you achieve this, know that you could possibly “harvest” your losses and avoid wasting cash on taxes for years to come back.

This is a bit extra about how tax loss harvesting works for crypto traders, together with what credentialed specialists say it’s best to take into account.

Learn extra: Greatest Crypto Tax Software program

How the IRS classifies and taxes your crypto

The IRS interprets cryptocurrency as property, not a safety, mentioned Ryan Losi, licensed public accountant and govt vp at PIASCIK, an accounting agency. “In 2014 and subsequent notices, the IRS has particularly expressly mentioned to not deal with [crypto] as a safety, however somewhat as a property,” Losi mentioned.

Whenever you promote a property or asset for greater than you paid, the distinction known as a capital acquire, and is topic to capital beneficial properties tax. This tax fee varies, relying on how lengthy you held the asset. In the event you held the asset for one yr or much less, it is a short-term acquire, and will likely be taxed the identical as your revenue tax fee. 

Lower than $10,275


$10,276 to $41,775


$41,776 to $89,075


$89,076 to $170,050


$170,051 to $215,950


$215,951 to $539,900


Greater than $539,900


Supply: IRS

In distinction, for those who held your property for greater than a yr, the IRS calls this capital acquire a long-term acquire, and can tax you at one in all three charges for the 2022 tax yr.

  • In case your taxable revenue was $41,675 or much less, your capital beneficial properties tax fee is 0%.
  • In case your taxable revenue was between $41,676 and $459,750, the speed is 15%.
  • In case your taxable revenue was greater than $459,750, the speed is 20%.

The IRS lists sure exceptions by which charges are greater, however none of them at the moment apply to cryptocurrency.

Then there are capital losses. In the event you promote an asset for lower than you paid for it, it is thought of a capital loss. Many individuals who’ve held bitcoin since early final yr are possible sitting on a considerable capital loss for the time being. Whenever you promote your crypto at a loss, it may be used to offset different capital beneficial properties within the present tax yr, and probably in future years, too. In case your capital losses are higher than your beneficial properties, as much as $3,000 of them can then be deducted out of your taxable revenue ($1,500 for those who’re married, submitting individually). Moreover, any unapplied losses after that may carry over and be utilized to a future yr’s tax return.

With me to date? Whenever you understand a loss, it may give you a tax break. That is tax loss harvesting in a nutshell, and a few traders do it strategically to safeguard their future beneficial properties.

Are you able to promote cash, declare the loss, then purchase them proper again?

Technically, sure. That is one benefit to the IRS classifying crypto as a property somewhat than a inventory.

The IRS’ wash sale rule states that, if traders promote a safety at a loss, then purchase a “considerably similar” safety inside 30 days of the gross sales, they can’t declare these losses as capital losses on their taxes. Consider this because the IRS’ method of discouraging tons of transactions (and subsequent market volatility) from individuals attempting to recreation the tax loss harvesting course of. 

Cryptocurrencies, nonetheless, should not topic to the wash sale rule as of this writing. “If their definition later will get expanded by Congress, then OK, however till then, crypto just isn’t thought of a safety,” Losi mentioned. Bear in mind, you possibly can’t declare a capital loss till it is realized; for those who’re at the moment marinating within the crypto dip, promoting your cash after which repurchasing them at a later date is technically in-bounds for now, and would allow you to understand the loss for tax functions.

The approach is efficacious sufficient that some cryptocurrency software program firms supply a method to automate tax loss harvesting, mentioned Christian Rivera, CPA and founding father of The Ecommerce Accountants, an accounting agency. “What some traders do is use software program instruments like TaxBit to trace what’s referred to as your foundation in your investments. These are your realized beneficial properties or losses. When you’ve got realized beneficial properties, but in addition have losses that aren’t realized but, [the software can] set off these trades so that you just money out on losses and keep away from getting caught in an enormous taxable place,” Rivera mentioned.

Seek the advice of a tax skilled for those who plan to implement a tax loss harvesting technique regularly.

How one can declare crypto losses in your taxes

Whenever you declare crypto losses, you may have to first doc whether or not they have been short-term or long-term losses on Type 8949. The kind of loss will matter for those who even have capital beneficial properties in the identical tax yr, mentioned Eric Bronnenkant, CPA and head of tax at Betterment, a monetary advisory firm. “In case your beneficial properties exceed your losses, the character of your loss can have an effect on the web tax that you just pay,” Bronnenkant mentioned. Moreover, the kind of loss will matter for those who plan to hold over the loss to future tax years.

Type 8949 then will get included in your Schedule D, which calculates general internet capital acquire or loss. You will then connect Schedule D to your Type 1040. In the event you use a cryptocurrency trade, you’ll want to examine and see in the event that they’ve distributed a type to you, resembling a 1099-MISC, in an effort to match numbers up.

In the event you’re utilizing tax software program to file your taxes this yr, know that you could be have to pay for the next tier of service with a purpose to report cryptocurrency exercise.

Learn extra: Greatest Tax Software program for 2023  

Flip your crypto losses right into a tax break

Cryptocurrency continues to endure regulatory scrutiny and a risky market. Know the ropes in the case of claiming capital losses and you will be higher ready to save cash when submitting your taxes.

Extra tax suggestions

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings