How to Track Crypto Transactions for Tax Purposes in the USA

by Sep 28, 2023Blockchain Technology0 comments

Cryptocurrency transactions are subject to tax and must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. However, many crypto investors and traders may find it challenging to keep track of their crypto activities and calculate their tax liabilities. In this article, we will explain how to track and report crypto transactions for tax purposes, as well as some tools and tips that can help you simplify the process of crypto tax in the usa.

Why do you need to track and report crypto transactions?

According to the IRS, cryptocurrency is treated as property for tax purposes, not as currency. This means that every time you sell, trade, or use cryptocurrency, you are creating a taxable event that may result in capital gains or losses. You need to report these transactions on your tax return and pay the appropriate crypto tax in the usa.

Additionally, if you receive cryptocurrency as income, such as from mining, staking, airdrops, or payments for goods or services, you also need to report it as ordinary income and pay taxes accordingly.

Failing to track and report your crypto transactions can lead to penalties, interest, or even audits from the IRS. Therefore, it is important to keep accurate records of your crypto activities and comply with the tax laws.

How is cryptocurrency taxed in the United States and what are the rules and guidelines?

Crypto tax in the usa follows specific rules and guidelines. Here’s a breakdown of how cryptocurrency is taxed in the U.S.:

1. Taxable Events: 

Cryptocurrency transactions become taxable events when you engage in activities such as selling, investing, or disposing of your digital assets for a profit. Simply holding cryptocurrencies in your portfolio without any transactions does not incur taxes.

2. Capital Gains Tax: 

When you sell a cryptocurrency for a higher price than what you initially purchased it for, you may be subject to capital gains tax. The tax rate depends on the duration of time you held the crypto before selling it. If the holding period is less than a year, it’s considered a short-term gain, while holdings exceeding one year are classified as long-term gains.

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3. Capital Gains Events: 

Several types of transactions can trigger capital gains tax. These include selling cryptocurrencies for fiat currency (like U.S. dollars), sending crypto gifts that exceed $15,000 in value, using crypto for purchasing goods and services, as well as trading one digital asset for another, including nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

4. Accurate Transaction Tracking: 

It is crucial to keep accurate records of all your cryptocurrency transactions for tax purposes. Properly tracking your transactions allows you to calculate your capital gains accurately. Additionally, you can offset capital gains tax by reporting any capital losses you may have incurred.

5. Income Tax: 

In addition to capital gains tax, income tax applies to various cryptocurrency earnings. Activities such as mining, staking tokens, receiving cryptocurrency through airdrops, earning interest from decentralized finance (DeFi) lending, or receiving crypto as payment for work are subject to income tax.

6. Long-Term and Short-Term Tax Rates: 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applies different tax rates for long-term and short-term cryptocurrency gains:

Long-Term Tax Rates: 

If you hold cryptocurrencies for more than one year before selling them, the IRS applies long-term capital gains tax rates. The specific rates vary based on your filing status and income. For single individuals, no tax applies to crypto gains up to $44,625. For heads of household and married couples filing jointly, the rates range from 0% to 20%, depending on income.

Long-Term Tax Rates

Short-Term Tax Rates: 

If you sell cryptocurrencies that you held for 365 days or less, the gains are considered short-term, and they are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. These rates vary from 10% to 37%, depending on your income bracket and filing status.

Short-Term Tax Rates

How to track and report crypto transactions?

To track and report your crypto transactions, you need to follow these steps:

1. Gather all your crypto transaction records. 

You need to collect all the information related to your crypto transactions from the past year, such as the date, amount, price, fees, and exchange rates of each transaction. Identify the source and destination of each transaction, such as the wallet address, exchange platform, or third-party service. You can obtain these records from your crypto wallets, exchanges, or other platforms that you use to store or transact with cryptocurrency. You may also need to use blockchain explorers or other tools to verify or supplement your records.

2. Calculate your capital gains or losses. 

For each taxable event that involves selling, trading, or using cryptocurrency, you need to calculate your capital gain or loss by subtracting your cost basis from your proceeds. Your cost basis is the amount you paid to acquire the cryptocurrency, including any fees or commissions. Your proceeds are the amount you received from disposing of the cryptocurrency, minus any fees or commissions.

You also need to adjust your cost basis and proceeds by using the fair market value of the cryptocurrency at the time of each transaction, which you can find from historical price data sources. If you hold the cryptocurrency for more than a year before selling or exchanging it, you have a long-term capital gain or loss. If you held it for less than a year, you have a short-term capital gain or loss.

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3. Report your capital gains or losses on Form 8949.

You need to report each of your crypto transactions that resulted in a capital gain or loss on Form 8949, which is used to report sales and exchanges of capital assets. Provide the following information for each transaction: description of property, date acquired, date sold or exchanged, proceeds, cost basis, and gain or loss. You also need to indicate whether the transaction was a short-term or long-term capital gain or loss. You can use Part I of Form 8949 for short-term transactions and Part II for long-term transactions.

Form 8949

4. Transfer your totals from Form 8949 to Schedule D.

You need to transfer the total amounts of your short-term and long-term capital gains or losses from Form 8949 to Schedule D, which is used to summarize your capital gains and losses for the year. Enter the totals from Part I of Form 8949 on line 1 of Schedule D and the totals from Part II of Form 8949 on line 8 of Schedule D. You also need to complete the rest of Schedule D to calculate your net capital gain or loss for the year.

5. Report any crypto income on Schedule 1 or Schedule C. 

If you received any cryptocurrency as income, such as from mining, staking, airdrops, or payments for goods or services, you also need to report it as ordinary income and pay taxes accordingly. You need to use Schedule  1 or Schedule C/to report your crypto income, depending on the source and nature of your income. You need to use Schedule 1 if you received crypto income from other sources, such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties, or prizes. Enter the amount of your crypto income on line 8 of Schedule 1. You also need to attach a statement that explains the source and type of your crypto income. Use Schedule C if you received crypto income from self-employment, such as from mining, staking, or providing goods or services as a sole proprietor or independent contractor. You need to enter the amount of your crypto income on line 1 of Schedule C. Deduct any expenses related to your crypto income, such as equipment, electricity, or fees, on line 28 of Schedule C.

Schedule C

6. Complete the rest of your tax return. 

After you have reported your crypto transactions on Form 8949, Schedule D, Schedule 1, or Schedule C, you need to complete the rest of your tax return and file it with the IRS. You need to attach Form 8949, Schedule D, Schedule 1, or Schedule C to your Form 1040, which is the main form for individual income tax return. You also need to pay any taxes that you owe or claim any refunds that you are entitled to.

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Schedule 1
Schedule D

What tools and tips can help you track and report crypto transactions?

Tracking and reporting your crypto transactions can be a complex and tedious process, especially if you have a large number of transactions or use multiple platforms. Fortunately, there are some tools and tips that can help you simplify the process and save you time and money.

1. Use a crypto tax software. 

crypto tax in the usa software is a tool that can help you track, calculate, and report your crypto transactions for tax purposes. Crypto tax software can connect to your crypto wallets, exchanges, or other platforms and import your transaction data automatically. It can also calculate your capital gains or losses and generate your tax forms in minutes. Some examples of crypto tax software are CoinLedger, Koinly, and TaxBit.

2. Use a crypto portfolio tracker. 

A crypto portfolio tracker is a tool that can help you monitor and manage your crypto holdings and activities. A crypto portfolio tracker can show you the current value, performance, and allocation of your crypto assets across different platforms. It can also provide you with historical price data, market trends, and news updates. Some examples of crypto portfolio trackers are CoinMarketCap, Blockfolio, and Delta.

3. Use a spreadsheet or a ledger. 

A spreadsheet or a ledger is a tool that can help you record and organize your crypto transactions manually. A spreadsheet or a ledger can allow you to enter the details of each transaction, such as the date, amount, price, fees, and exchange rates. It can also help you calculate your capital gains or losses and keep track of your cost basis. Some examples of spreadsheet or ledger templates are CryptoTaxCalculator, CryptoSheets, and Google Sheets.

4. Keep your records safe and secure. 

You need to keep your records of your crypto transactions safe and secure for at least three years after filing your tax return. Provide these records to the IRS in case of an audit or a dispute. You should store your records in a safe place, such as a cloud storage service, a hard drive, or a flash drive. You should also encrypt your records and back them up regularly.

Conclusion

Crypto transactions are subject to tax and must be reported to the IRS in the United States. To track and report your crypto transactions, you need to gather all your transaction records, calculate your capital gains or losses, report them on Form 8949 and Schedule D, report any crypto income on Schedule 1 or Schedule C, and complete the rest of your crypto tax in the usa return. You can also use some tools and tips that can help you simplify the process and save you time and money.

We hope this article has given you some insight and information on how to track and report crypto transactions for tax purposes. We hope you will make an informed and wise decision when filing your tax return of crypto tax in the usa. Thank you for reading!

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