US business-focused news outlet the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) advised readers they could avoid shelling out taxes for their Bitcoin holdings by selling and quickly repurchasing the asset.
The analysis assumes Bitcoin to be regulated in the US by tax laws akin to that of other traditional investment forms such as bonds, as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) first advised in 2014. That would give cryptocurrency investors the benefit of “special and often favorable” tax policies that are granted to investors.
In the US, all short-term (classified as one year or less) investment gains or losses are subject to tax rates with an upper echelon of 40.8%, while long-term profits and losses only reach 23.8%. Law specific to cryptocurrency, however, allows traders to sell and reinvest immediately in the same cryptocurrency to offset aggregate investment gains.
Jim Calvin, a CPA and cryptocurrency specialist at Deloitte Tax, put the timeframe of doing this lawfully somewhere between an hour and a day.
Unfortunately for the 2017 bull run sellers, however, tax losses can only be carried forward and not back, meaning even if they sold at a large profit, any losses this year couldn’t counter taxes owed on the prior gains.
”Almost the only good thing about investing in cryptocurrencies in 2018 was the tax break,” author of the WSJ article, Laura Saunders, wrote.
Perhaps Saunders’s tip will encourage more cryptocurrency traders to inform the IRS of their profits, as the last tax years saw just 0.04% of tax filers claim capital gains taxes from digital currency investments. Commentators at the time put this down to either cryptocurrency investors having a ”pretty high-risk tolerance” or feeling overwhelmed by unclear taxation guidelines.
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