For early adopters of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other popular cryptocurrencies, the profit potential has been simply stunning. While there have been some heart stopping moments and frightening ups and downs, the clear long-term trajectory has been upward.
If you are one of those early adopters who profited from the rise in cryptocurrency values, you are probably feeling pretty good about your decision. But your good fortune could soon take a dark turn, one that could leave you in hot water with the IRS.
After many years of taking a hands off approach to cryptocurrency investments, the IRS is now making up for lost time. At first, the tax agency seemed unsure how to calculate virtual profits or tax cryptocurrency gains, but now the rules are largely in place, and it is time for those who profited to pay up.
There has already been some movement on the cryptocurrency taxation front, and it is only a matter of time before the IRS takes notice of your holdings – and your profits. The tax agency has recently obtained data from major cryptocurrency exchanges, and letters are going out to large holders of these virtual currencies. But you should not simply wait for the IRS to contact you. The best approach is to do your homework now and make your plans for paying what you owe. Here are some simple tips to help you get right with the IRS.
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Learn the Rules
There has been a lot of confusion over how cryptocurrencies were to be taxed, and the IRS itself has issued a number of different rulings in that regard. With so much conflicting information, it is no wonder so many cryptocurrency investors chose to avoid the whole thing.
Studies suggest that only a small percentage of cryptocurrency investors have reported their holdings to the IRS. Some holders of cryptocurrency did not believe they were required to report their investments, while others assumed their transactions were anonymous. Now that the IRS has proven that neither contention is correct, it is time to learn the rules and follow the reporting requirements.
The IRS may have been slow to categorize cryptocurrencies, but the tax agency now has firm rules in place. If you hold cryptocurrency or have profited in the past, now is the time to learn the rules. Whether you do your own homework or seek out expert advice, the more you know the better off you will be.
Estimate Your Gains
Once you know the rules, the next step is to estimate your potential gains. The rules governing cryptocurrency profits are complex, but you should still be able to estimate the possible tax hit.
It may take some time to reconstruct the purchases and sales you made along the way, so take your time and gather as much information as you can. If you are missing some information, you may be able to find what you need through your favorite cryptocurrency exchange. Many major exchanges keep detailed records of purchases, sales and other cryptocurrency transactions. Once you know how much you made on those cryptocurrency transactions, you can work to calculate the taxes you might owe.
Work with a Cryptocurrency Tax Relief Expert
Tax calculations are not for the faint of heart, and it is easy to make a mistake. If you want to avoid problems with the IRS and head off any penalties and interest, you will need expert help and guidance.
The cryptocurrency market is still relatively new, and the current IRS tax treatment of these virtual assets is even newer. Even so, some tax experts have already started to specialize in these alternative investments, and seeking their expertise could help you pay what you owe while avoiding penalties and interest.
If you already have a tax preparer, start by asking about their experience with cryptocurrency investments. If your current tax advisor is not a cryptocurrency expert, it is time to shop around for someone who understands these unique assets and how they are taxed. It may take some time, but it is important to find an expert you can trust.
The IRS may have ignored the early days of the cryptocurrency revolution, but the tax agency is making up for lost time. Some early adopters have already received notices from the IRS, while others are scrambling to calculate their profits and pay what they owe. The tips listed above can help you develop a payment plan, so you can get right with the IRS before it is too late.
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