Mastering Crypto Tax Strategies for US Individuals and Businesses in 2023
July 24, 2023

How to pay crypto taxes in the US: A comprehensive guide for individuals and businesses

Welcome to the complex but rewarding world of cryptocurrencies! This realm of digital currencies not only promises huge returns but also brings with it unique tax implications. If you're a business involved in crypto, understanding and paying crypto taxes is essential to stay within the law and maximize your profits.
This article focuses on the US tax laws regarding cryptocurrency taxation as they stand in 2023. For businesses and individuals operating outside of the United States or for those interested in global tax regulations, don't worry! We will soon be expanding our coverage to include a wide variety of jurisdictions! Make sure to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest information, tailored to your specific needs.
Now, as we dive into the complexities and considerations of "paying tax on crypto," we will explore the legal framework, mechanisms at play, and the practical steps for US businesses to effectively manage their crypto tax obligations.
Below you can find the basics of crypto taxation for individuals and businesses - what is a taxable event, who should pay crypto taxes, crypto income tax rates, and more.
For businesses who’re really eager to build their crypto taxation right, we’ve prepared a detailed guide:
  • How should you calculate your tax base & crypto capital gains size?
  • What legal forms should you fill out and how to do it: Form 8949, Form 1040
  • When should you pay taxes… and more?
Please note that this article is for information purposes only and cannot be treated as direct tax advice. For legal advice please carefully select tax advisors and consultants for your business or personal needs. If you don’t already have an adviser, we’ve prepared a list of tax advisers (see below).

Understanding the Basics of Crypto Taxation

Do I pay taxes on crypto? The Legal Framework

Yes, you do. In the US, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats cryptocurrencies as property. Therefore, any transaction involving cryptocurrency, including sales, exchanges, and even payments for services, can trigger a tax event.
taxable crypto events

How do you pay tax on crypto? The Mechanisms at Play

Tax payments on crypto transactions are similar to property transactions. The capital gain or loss must be reported on your tax return. It's calculated by subtracting the cost basis, which is the original purchase price, from the sale price. It gets a bit tricky with crypto-to-crypto transactions, but IRS Notice 2014-21 provides some guidance.
IRS Notice 2014-21 provides important guidance on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. While it doesn't answer every question about crypto taxation, it does establish some key points:
  1. Cryptocurrencies are treated as property for tax purposes. This is a critical point because it determines how cryptocurrencies are taxed. When you sell property for a profit, you generally owe tax on the gain. The same goes for cryptocurrencies. If you buy Bitcoin and then sell it for a profit, that profit will be taxed. If you use Bitcoin to purchase goods or services, the IRS considers it a sale of your Bitcoin, which could also result in a tax liability.
  2. Cryptocurrency miners must recognize income when they mine and successfully validate transactions. The IRS treats the fair market value of the mined coins as income.
  3. Employees who are paid in cryptocurrencies have to pay income tax. If an employee receives cryptocurrencies as payment for services, they must convert the cryptocurrency's value into U.S. dollars as of the date each payment is made and include it in their income.
  4. Self-employment tax rules apply. If you're an independent contractor and receive payment in cryptocurrency, the fair market value of the cryptocurrency counts as self-employment income, which is subject to self-employment tax.
  5. Third-party settlement organizations are required to aggregate payments made with cryptocurrency. If a business makes more than $20,000 worth of transactions with more than 200 transactions, a third-party settlement organization (such as a cryptocurrency exchange) is required to report these payments to the IRS.
While this guide provides a basic framework for tax compliance related to cryptocurrencies, it doesn't address many complex situations. Therefore, it's always advisable to consult with a tax professional when dealing with cryptocurrency taxation to ensure compliance with all IRS rules and regulations. If you need help finding a tax professional with expertise in cryptocurrency, Transfer team has created a Twitter list of 100 crypto tax gurus for you - feel free to contact them and ask for advice! We encourage you to discuss the necessary tax implications with experienced tax advisors.
Cryptocurrency Taxation for Individuals

Cryptocurrency Taxation for Individuals

Simplifying Cryptocurrency Taxation for Individuals

Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the financial world, but it comes with its own set of tax implications. Unpacking these tax obligations and understanding how to manage them is crucial for anyone dealing with cryptos.

Breaking Down the Basics: Crypto Tax Payment

Do you have to pay tax for crypto always? Unpacking Exceptions

While most crypto transactions trigger a tax event, there are exceptions. For example, transferring cryptos between your own wallets or accounts doesn't incur taxes.
tax-free crypto events

Strategies for Minimizing Crypto Tax Liability

How to minimize your crypto tax: Legal Tax Reduction Strategies

While tax evasion is illegal, tax minimization – reducing your tax through legal means – is not only legal but smart. For instance, holding on to your cryptos for over a year can qualify you for the long-term capital gains tax rate, which is often lower than the short-term rate.

Contemplating Non-Payment: Consequences and Risks

What if I don't pay crypto taxes: Legal Repercussions

Failure to crypto taxes can result in penalties, interest, and even criminal prosecution in severe cases. It's important to treat crypto transactions like any other transaction when it comes to tax compliance.
Consequences and Risks

State Tax Considerations on Cryptocurrency

Do you pay state tax on cryptocurrency? Deciphering the State-wise Rules

In addition to federal taxes, you may also be liable for state taxes on your crypto income. The rules vary widely from state to state, so it's crucial to understand the specific regulations in your location.
For more information about the tax laws in your specific state, visit the official website of the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Understanding Income Tax on Crypto Transactions

In the world of cryptocurrency, any profit-making transaction is subject to income tax. This includes transactions such as receiving or transferring cryptocurrency for free, trading cryptocurrency for goods or services, selling cryptocurrency, exchanging one type of cryptocurrency for another, or realizing any other financial interest in cryptocurrency. Remember that the IRS treats cryptocurrency as property, making any transaction potentially taxable.

Income Tax Rates: What Businesses Should Know

The rate of income tax depends on the taxable amount and the taxpayer's status. For instance, for married couples filing joint declarations, if the taxable income does not exceed $36,900, the tax rate is 15% of the taxable income. This rate can rise to 39.6% for taxable income over $250,000. Here you can find the 2022 IRS tax and earned income credit tables from the IRS to see the estimates for your tax purposes.

Navigating Capital Gains Tax in Crypto Transactions

Capital Gains Tax: An Added Layer to Crypto Taxation

In addition to income tax, the US tax system imposes a capital gains tax on cryptocurrency transactions. This applies when you sell cryptocurrency that has increased in value since you bought it, which is considered a taxable event.

Long-term vs Short-term Capital Gains Tax

The rate of capital gains tax depends on how long you held the cryptocurrency before selling it. If you held it for less than one year, it’s considered a short-term capital gain. If you've held it for more than a year, it’s a long-term capital gain. The rate for most individuals doesn’t exceed 15% for long-term capital gains. However, short-term capital gains are taxed at progressive rates based on your regular income.

Harnessing Advanced Crypto Tax Strategies for Your Business

If you are a business owner who values in-depth understanding, clear detail, and solid advice, you've come to the right place. Navigating the intricate web of crypto taxation requires skill, patience, and the right information. It's not just about grasping the basics; it's about comprehending the subtleties and the ever-evolving nuances.
To help your business stand its ground in this challenging field, we've put together an extensive array of valuable insights in the forthcoming Subscriber section. Here, you'll dive into legitimate tax reduction strategies, understand the consequences of non-payment, decipher complex state tax regulations, and much more.

Tackling Cryptocurrency Taxation for Businesses

Businesses dealing with cryptocurrency face unique tax challenges. This guide explores these complexities and provides actionable insights to help businesses navigate the ever-changing crypto tax landscape.

Understanding the Basics of Crypto Taxation

Do you have to pay tax for crypto always? Unpacking Exceptions

While most crypto transactions trigger a tax event, there are exceptions. For example, transferring cryptos between your own wallets or accounts doesn't incur taxes.

Pay tax on cryptocurrency: Different Scenarios

Each crypto transaction can have a different tax implication. For instance, mining crypto is considered self-employment and is subject to self-employment tax.

How to pay crypto tax: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. First, you need to calculate your capital gains or losses.
Capital gains or losses are the profits or losses you make from selling or trading your cryptocurrency. To calculate this, you subtract the cost at which you bought the crypto (cost basis) from the price at which you sold it (sale price). For example, if you bought 1 Bitcoin for $5,000 and later sold it for $8,000, your capital gain would be $3,000. If the sale price is less than the cost basis, you have a capital loss.
2. Then, fill out Form 8949 detailing your transactions.
Form 8949 is where you list the details of each crypto transaction. It asks for information such as the date you acquired the crypto, the date you sold or traded it, your proceeds (fair market value), cost basis, and your gain or loss. You'll need to fill out a separate row for each transaction. It's important to keep records of your transactions to be able to accurately fill out this form.
Cryptocurrency Taxation for Individuals
Using Transfer, you can easily pull this info out every time you need to fill out the form! Sign up for free to check the invoice creation and payment history.
3. Report the summarized amounts from this form on your Schedule D (Form 1040).
Once you've filled out Form 8949, you will summarize your capital gains and losses on Schedule D. This includes both short-term and long-term capital gains and losses. The net total of your gains and losses from Schedule D is then reported on your Form 1040, which is the main income tax form for individuals in the US.
4. If you received crypto as payment for goods or services, report it as income on your tax return.
If you received cryptocurrency as a form of payment, the IRS considers this as taxable income. In this case, you need to determine the fair market value of the crypto in U.S. dollars at the time of receipt. This amount is reported as income on your Form 1040.


Form 8949: "Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets"

This form is divided into two parts, with Part I for short-term transactions and Part II for long-term transactions.
For each transaction, you will need to provide:
  • a) A description of the property. For crypto, this could be the name of the coin (e.g., Bitcoin).
  • (b) The date you acquired the asset.
  • (c) The date you sold or disposed of the asset.
  • (d) Proceeds: This is the amount you received from the sale.
  • (e) Cost or other basis: This is typically the amount you paid to acquire the asset, plus any associated costs.
  • (g) Adjustments to gain or loss, if any.
The final two columns, (h) and (i), are for the code and amount of adjustments. Most individual taxpayers won't need to fill these.
After you list all transactions, you will sum them up and report the totals on your Schedule D form.

Form 1040: "U.S. Individual Income Tax Return"

This is the standard form that all individuals use to file their income tax returns. Here's a general idea of the information required:
  • At the top, you fill in your personal information and filing status.
  • In the Income section, you report all forms of income. This includes wages, interest, dividends, capital gains or losses (from Schedule D), and other forms of income.
  • In the Adjustments to Income section, you may be able to deduct certain expenses.
  • The form then guides you to calculate your taxable income, tax, credits, and then either your refund or amount you owe.
For cryptocurrencies, if you had a job that paid you in crypto, you'd report that as wages. If you mined crypto, that may count as self-employment income. If you had capital gains from selling crypto, that would come from your Schedule D.
You can find these forms and instructions on how to fill them on the IRS website. Remember, this is just a general overview. For personalized advice, you should always consult with a tax professional.
specialized tax software

Avoiding Pitfalls: Tips to ensure seamless crypto tax payment

Keeping accurate and comprehensive records of your crypto transactions is crucial. Additionally, consider using specialized tax software or consulting with a tax professional experienced in cryptocurrency.
Specialized tax software can greatly simplify the process of calculating and reporting cryptocurrency taxes. Here are some examples:
  1. CoinTracker: CoinTracker integrates with over 300 cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges to automatically pull in your transaction history. It can calculate your capital gains and generate tax reports that can be included with your tax return.
  2. CryptoTrader.Tax: CryptoTrader.Tax is another automated crypto tax software. After importing your transactions, it will calculate your gains and losses. It can also generate a completed Form 8949.
  3. TokenTax: TokenTax supports a wide range of exchanges and can handle many types of crypto transactions, including mining, gifts, and margin trading. It also integrates with tax filing software like TurboTax.
  4. ZenLedger: ZenLedger supports numerous exchanges and cryptocurrencies. It provides a variety of reports, including capital gains and income reports.
  5. Koinly: Koinly supports over 300 exchanges and wallets. It can generate tax reports that are compatible with tax software like TurboTax and tax forms for many different countries.
  6. Accointing: Accointing offers a portfolio tracking tool along with a tax reporting tool. You can import your transactions from over 300 exchanges and wallets.
Remember, it's important to ensure that the software you choose supports all the exchanges and types of transactions you've made. Different software might have different features, so consider your specific needs and consult with a tax professional if necessary.

'When' Matters: Timing Your Crypto Tax Payments

When do I pay taxes on crypto? Understanding Key Deadlines

You need to report your crypto transactions and pay any taxes owed by the regular federal tax deadline, which is typically April 15.
The information about the tax deadline for U.S. taxpayers, including those who owe taxes on cryptocurrency gains, comes directly from the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As per the IRS, for most taxpayers, the federal tax return filing deadline for 2023 is April 15, 2024. However, the actual deadline can sometimes vary due to holidays or other factors.
Please note that individual states may have their own deadlines for state tax returns, which may not coincide with the federal tax return deadline. Be sure to check with your state's tax agency to ensure you're aware of all pertinent deadlines.

When to pay taxes on crypto: Factors that Determine Timing

The timing of tax payments can depend on the nature of the transaction, your tax bracket, and whether it qualifies for long-term capital gains.
1. Nature of the Transaction: The tax implications and the timing of when you need to pay taxes can largely depend on the nature of your crypto transactions. For instance, if you are trading cryptocurrencies frequently, you may have to pay taxes on the gains from each trade within the same tax year. On the other hand, if you are simply holding the cryptocurrency, you don't owe taxes until you sell, trade, or otherwise dispose of it.
2. Your Tax Bracket: The amount of tax you owe on your crypto transactions depends on your overall income level, which determines your tax bracket. In the US, tax brackets are progressive, meaning higher income levels are taxed at higher rates. However, your tax bracket doesn't determine when you pay taxes. You must report all income from cryptocurrencies on your annual tax return, regardless of your tax bracket.
3. Long-term vs Short-term Capital Gains: The duration for which you hold a cryptocurrency before selling or exchanging it can significantly impact your tax liability and the timing of your tax payment. If you hold a cryptocurrency for more than a year before selling or trading it, any profit you make is considered a long-term capital gain. Long-term capital gains are usually taxed at a lower rate than short-term gains (from assets held for one year or less), which are taxed as ordinary income.

Understanding Tax Implications: S-Corp, LLC, and C-Corp in the World of Crypto

Tax obligations for cryptocurrency operations can vary significantly depending on your business structure. Let's explore how these regulations apply to some of the most common types of business registrations: S-Corporations (S-Corp), Limited Liability Companies (LLC), and C-Corporations (C-Corp).

S-Corporation (S-Corp) and Cryptocurrency Taxes

An S-Corporation is a corporation that elects to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S-Corps report this flow-through of income and losses on their personal tax returns and are assessed at their individual income tax rates.
For S-Corps dealing in crypto, this means that any gains or losses from cryptocurrency transactions are passed through to shareholders and reported on their individual tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Cryptocurrency Taxes

LLCs provide their owners, known as members, with limited liability. When it comes to taxation, an LLC itself does not pay taxes. Instead, income from the business is distributed to individual LLC members, who then pay federal and state taxes on the amount distributed to them.
With cryptocurrency transactions, any profits or losses made by the LLC would be distributed to the members and reported on their personal income tax returns.
Limited Liability Company

C-Corporation (C-Corp) and Cryptocurrency Taxes

A C-Corporation is recognized for tax purposes as a separate tax entity. They are taxed on their earnings and also on the earnings distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends, creating a double taxation situation.
For C-Corps, profits from cryptocurrency transactions are first taxed at the corporate level. If these profits are then distributed to shareholders as dividends, they would be subject to taxation again at the individual level.
Remember that this is a general guide, and the specifics can change based on your situation and changes in tax law. Always consult with a tax professional to understand the best way to manage your crypto taxes.

Strategies for Minimizing Crypto Tax Liability

How to minimize tax on crypto: Legal Tax Reduction Strategies

While tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance – reducing your tax through legal methods – is not only legal but smart business. For instance, holding on to your cryptos for over a year can qualify you for the long-term capital gains tax rate, which is often lower than the short-term rate.

Paid in crypto taxes: Understanding Compensation Tax Implications

If you're compensating your employees or contractors with cryptos, it's considered taxable income. They are liable to pay income tax, and the business may have to handle employment taxes.

Contemplating Non-Payment: Consequences and Risks

What if I don't pay crypto taxes: Legal Repercussions

Not paying crypto taxes could lead to penalties, interest, and even criminal prosecution in severe cases. It's important to treat crypto transactions like any other business transaction when it comes to tax compliance.

Mitigating the Risks: Ensuring Compliance

Consistent record-keeping, staying updated on the latest IRS guidelines, and consulting with a tax professional can ensure your crypto business remains compliant and minimizes any potential legal risks.

State Tax Considerations on Cryptocurrency

Do you pay state tax on cryptocurrency? Deciphering the State-wise Rules

In addition to federal taxes, you may also be liable for state taxes on your crypto income. The rules vary widely by state, so it's crucial to understand the specific regulations in your business location.

Leverage "Transfer" for Effective Crypto Revenue Management

Consequences and Risks

Empowering Businesses with "Transfer": A Profit Booster

Transfer is a crypto invoicing suite for web3 founders. With Transfer, you can create a professional-looking invoice in 15 sec and get paid in any network & currency. You can also pay your expenses ultrafast. Transfer offers analytics for every in & out payment so that you can easily track your income and expenses for future taxation purposes.
Although Transfer does not support automatic crypto tax filings (yet!), using Transfer can make your company crypto payments transparent - how much you paid, how much you’re waiting for your counterparties to pay you, how much gas you paid - and this in an easy-readable format re-calculated in fiat equivalent - no need to use your calculator to find out how much exactly you’ve spent this month!
Works with your existing wallets. No private keys required.