Get a passport, pay crypto, live tax-free?
Way back in 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that cryptocurrency is property in Notice 2014-21. That classification as property has some big tax consequences accentuated by wild price swings. Buying and selling crypto can trigger gain or loss and be taxable. Yes, buying something using crypto — a house, a car, a new suit — can trigger taxes. Even paying taxes in crypto can trigger taxes.
If you owe $5,000 in taxes, you could pay the $5,000 in dollars. However, if you pay with $5,000 worth of (BTC), as long as the crypto is worth $5,000 when you pay, you’re home free, right? Not really. You need to consider the sale you just made. The transfer of the crypto to the tax man is a sale, and that could mean more taxes for the year of the payment. If you bought the crypto for $5,000 the day you pay your taxes, there’s no gain.
Robert W. Wood is a tax lawyer representing clients worldwide from the office of Wood LLP in San Francisco, where he is a managing partner. He is the author of numerous tax books and frequently writes about taxes for Forbes, Tax Notes and other publications.
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