Filing crypto taxes can be a daunting task, especially with the ever-changing regulations surrounding digital asset taxation. However, ensuring accurate reporting and compliance may be easier than you think. In this article, we will discuss five common mistakes to avoid when filing your crypto taxes and provide tips to help you stay compliant.

  1. Neglecting to Report Crypto Transactions on Your Tax Return

To comply with tax regulations, it is essential to report all of your cryptocurrency transactions. Maintaining accurate records of your trades, purchases, and sales is crucial. Failing to keep a complete transaction history can result in errors and discrepancies on your tax return.

To avoid potential issues with tax authorities, it is important to track all of your crypto transactions throughout the year. Additionally, keep records of any payments made with cryptocurrencies, as these also need to be reported when filing taxes. While some crypto exchanges may offer tax reporting tools or documents, it remains your responsibility to report all crypto transactions and accurately calculate your gains and losses. Consider using dedicated crypto tax software or consulting a tax professional to ensure accurate and compliant cryptocurrency tax reporting in accordance with the latest regulations. The potential savings in penalties and fines from accurate reporting make it a worthwhile investment in the long run.

  1. Falling into the Trap of Crypto tax Evasion

Many crypto traders and investors still mistakenly believe they can evade taxes on their crypto activities, despite the potential for severe financial and legal consequences. Some individuals attempt to underreport profits or avoid reporting them altogether. However, such actions are considered tax evasion.

Despite the fact that some crypto assets provide a certain degree of anonymity, most blockchains are open ledgers that record all transactions and are accessible to anyone. You can track down and identify cryptocurrency transactions and the people who made them if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Another widespread misconception holds that cryptocurrency gains are only subject to taxation after being exchanged for fiat money. In reality, whether a cryptocurrency transaction is crypto-to-crypto or crypto-to-fiat, it is regarded as a taxable event in nations like the United States. You have to report the gain and pay taxes when you exchange a digital asset for another cryptocurrency. The same holds true when exchanging cryptocurrency for products or services. Even holding cryptocurrency in a foreign exchange or wallet requires reporting to the tax authorities.

Engaging in crypto tax evasion is a risky strategy that can result in significant fines from the authorities. To protect yourself from such issues, ensure you accurately track all your cryptocurrency activities throughout the year and document them appropriately. You can also take advantage of free crypto portfolio tracking tools to help you in this process.

  1. Incorrectly calculating your cost base

The amount of money spent or earned when buying or selling cryptocurrency is referred to as the “cost basis.” Keeping track of your cost basis is crucial, as it determines the amount of taxes owed when you sell your crypto. Failure to accurately calculate your cost basis can lead to incorrect reporting on your tax return.

Calculating the cost basis can be challenging, particularly when dealing with forks and airdrops. If you receive new cryptocurrency through a fork or airdrop, you need to determine the fair market value of the new asset at the time of receipt, which can be difficult.

Another reason people make mistakes in calculating cost basis is by failing to account for transaction fees. Transaction fees can accumulate rapidly, especially with frequent trading. Neglecting to include them in your cost basis can result in inaccurate reporting of gains and losses.

Using crypto tax software can assist in calculating your cost basis for each transaction using methods like “First In, First Out” (FIFO) or “Last In, First Out” (LIFO). This ensures accuracy and consistency across all transactions.

  1. Unfamiliarity with Tax Rules for Crypto Gains

A taxable gain is incurred each time you buy a cryptocurrency asset and later sell it for more money than you paid for it. This holds true for all kinds of trades, including futures contracts and NFTs, as well as crypto-to-fiat or crypto-to-crypto transactions. Regarding how capital gains tax affects cryptocurrency transactions, it’s essential to understand the tax laws that apply in your country. Here are a few examples:

United States: In the United States, capital gains taxes have different rates depending on whether the gains are classified as long-term or short-term. Long-term gains from crypto held for more than one year are taxed at long-term capital gains rates, which can range from 0% to 20% depending on your ordinary tax rate. Short-term gains from crypto held for a year or less are taxed at your marginal tax rate, ranging from 10% to 37%.

Germany: In Germany, capital gains from cryptocurrencies can fall into three categories. Trading cryptocurrencies on a central or decentralized exchange is considered “other income.” Income from activities like staking or lending is also classified as “other income.” These types of income are taxed at personal income tax rates, which can range from 0% to 45%. Income from futures or margin trading is typically treated as income from capital assets and is subject to a flat capital gains tax rate of 25%. If the total capital gains from trading cryptocurrencies are below the exemption limit of 600 euros, they may not need to be disclosed in the tax return.

Netherlands: The Netherlands has a tax system that divides an individual’s worldwide income into three different types of taxable income, referred to as “boxes.” Each box has its own tax rate(s) and is taxed separately under its own schedule. For crypto assets, only two of these boxes are relevant:

Box 1 applies only if an individual is professionally involved with cryptocurrencies, including investing and trading, and expects to profit from such a business. The gains are treated as regular income and taxed at ordinary rates. 

Box 3: Cryptocurrencies are considered capital assets under Dutch tax law and are subject to Box 3 wealth tax along with the rest of an individual’s net assets at a flat rate of 31% on an assumed return based on an individual’s net assets.

United Kingdom: In the UK capital gains tax rates depend on how much income you earn as an individual. If your taxable income is within the basic income tax band of £50,270, you will pay 10% on any capital gain. If you earn more, the rate is 20%. In short:

  • If your income was less than £50,270 – you will pay 10% on your crypto gains
  • If your income was more than £50,270 – you will pay 20% on your crypto gains

In the UK capital gains up to £12,300 are tax-free for the 2021-2022 tax year. However, this is subject to change for the following tax year. In a statement by the treasury, they announced a reduction in the threshold to £6,000 for the 2022-23 tax year and again to £3,500 the following year. 

Please note that in the UK, you might also have to pay income tax on your crypto assets earned from activities such as staking and mining.

Australia: In Australia, capital gains tax rates vary for long-term and short-term gains. Holding crypto assets for more than 12 months provides a 50% discount on taxed gains compared to short-term gains. Short-term capital gains are taxed at ordinary tax rates, ranging from 19% to 45%, depending on income. It is advisable to consult the official tax rates provided by the Australian tax authority for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

These examples highlight the importance of familiarizing yourself with the tax rules specific to your country or region. Seek professional advice or refer to official tax guidelines to ensure accurate reporting and compliance with applicable regulations.

  1. Lack of a Crypto Tax Optimization Strategy

Many investors overlook the opportunity to significantly reduce their tax liabilities on crypto transactions. By implementing tax optimization tactics, it is possible to minimize the amount of taxes owed legally. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Tax-loss harvesting: This strategy involves selling cryptocurrency assets that have decreased in value to offset gains from other assets, thereby reducing your overall tax liability. Some crypto tax software, such as Accointing by Glassnode, includes a built-in tax-loss harvesting feature for select countries, helping you identify and calculate tax-saving opportunities from your trades.
  • Holding period optimization: Holding onto cryptocurrency assets for more than a year can qualify you for long-term capital gains tax rates, which are generally lower than short-term rates.
  • Donating crypto: Donating cryptocurrency to qualified charitable organizations can be a tax-efficient way to reduce your tax liability while supporting a good cause. Crypto donations are typically not subject to taxation.
  • Cost basis optimization: Maximizing your cost basis can help minimize the amount of tax you owe. This involves taking advantage of deductions and other strategies to increase your cost basis, thereby reducing your taxable gains.

It is important to note that these strategies may have specific requirements and limitations depending on your jurisdiction. Consulting with a tax professional or utilizing reputable crypto tax software can help you navigate the complexities of tax optimization and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Consequences of Incorrect Crypto Tax Reporting

Getting your crypto taxes wrong can have serious consequences. If tax authorities discover inaccuracies in your reporting, you may be liable for back taxes, interest, and penalties. In cases of intentional tax evasion, criminal charges can be pursued.

In addition, inaccurate crypto tax reporting can have broader implications for your financial life. For example, when applying for loans or mortgages, lenders often review your tax records, and any discrepancies may affect the approval process.

To avoid potential problems, it is crucial to accurately report all crypto activities and stay up-to-date with tax regulations. Working with a professional tax preparer or utilizing reliable crypto tax tools can help ensure accurate reporting, minimize errors, and maintain compliance with applicable regulations.

Key Takeaways

To effectively manage your crypto taxes and remain compliant, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Report all crypto transactions on your tax return and maintain accurate records of trades, purchases, and sales.
  2. Understand the tax rules and regulations specific to your jurisdiction regarding crypto gains.
  3. Consider implementing tax optimization strategies such as tax-loss harvesting, holding period optimization, donating crypto, and cost basis optimization.
  4. Utilize reliable crypto tax software or seek professional assistance to accurately calculate and report your crypto taxes.
  5. Be aware of the consequences of incorrect tax reporting, including potential back taxes, penalties, and other financial implications.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about the latest tax regulations, you can navigate the complexities of crypto taxes, minimize your tax burden, and ensure compliance with the law.