Do you have to Pay Taxes on Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is an electronic currency that can be used online without having any physical form of money. The value of one unit of bitcoin fluctuates based on supply and demand. In 2017, there were about 16 million units of bitcoin circulating around the world. There were only 21 million available at launch, so new ones will continue to enter circulation until all 21 million are mined.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service considers cryptocurrency transactions to be sales of property rather than purchases.

This means that if you receive payments in exchange for goods or services rendered, then those amounts should be reported as gross receipts from your business activities. If you don't report them, you could face penalties and interest charges. You may even owe back taxes!


If you're considering using bitcoin to make payments, here are three things to keep in mind:

You'll need to file Form 1099s with the IRS when you sell more than $10,000 worth of virtual currencies per year. These forms must include information such as the date and amount sold, along with other details like the name of the seller and buyer.

It's important to know that selling bitcoin isn't always considered the sale of a property. For example, if you buy something with bitcoin and later resell it for cash, then the transaction would still count as a purchase. However, if you use bitcoin to pay for something and never actually own it, then you wouldn't have to report anything related to its resale.

In addition, if you get paid in bitcoin, you might want to consider reporting these earnings as capital gains instead of ordinary income. Capital gains aren't taxed unless you hold onto the asset for longer than 12 months. So, if you spend less time holding onto your coins than you do working, then you won't have to worry about paying taxes on their appreciation.

Finally, remember that you can deduct expenses associated with buying and storing digital assets. But you'd have to itemize deductions on Schedule A to take advantage of this benefit.

How Does the IRS Treat Cryptocurrencies?

When the IRS first started treating cryptocurrencies differently, many people thought that it meant that anyone receiving bitcoin had to pay taxes on every single transaction. That wasn't true though. Instead, the agency decided to treat each individual coin as a separate entity.

For instance, let's say Alice buys two pizzas with her bitcoin wallet app. She pays with 20 cents' worth of bitcoin. Then she sells five dollars' worth of bitcoin for another 25 cents' worth. At the end of the day, she has earned 50 cents' worth of bitcoins.


Now suppose Bob wants to send Alice some pizza too. He sends his payment through Coinbase, which converts the bitcoin into fiat currency. When he does this, he doesn't earn any additional bitcoins; they just become part of the total number of dollars in existence.

 So, while Alice earns 50 cents' worth of new bitcoins at the beginning of the month, she also loses 5 cents' worth of old ones. This is because all of the money sent by Bob was converted into dollars before being deposited into Alice's account. In fact, since there were no actual bitcoins involved in the transaction, neither party owes any tax on what happened.

 The same thing happens whenever someone uses an online service to convert cryptocurrency into fiat currency. The only difference between sending Bitcoin directly and converting it into dollars is how much value is added to the system.

What About Taxes On Transactions?

While most transactions involving cryptocurrencies will not trigger federal taxation, there are exceptions. One exception involves exchanges where one person trades crypto-to-crypto. Another concerns mining operations. Here's why:

 If you mine or sell more than $600 worth of virtual currencies per year, then you'll owe self-employment taxes on those activities. You don't need to file Form 1040EZ33 if you're under age 65. If you're over 65, however, you may be able to claim head of household status35 and qualify for other benefits.

You should consult a professional accountant or financial advisor regarding whether you should report your profits from selling mined Bitcoins. For example, if you make enough profit to exceed certain thresholds, then you could potentially face penalties and even criminal charges.

Benefits of Bitcoin


No middlemen or banks involved

When someone buys something online, he usually pays an intermediary like PayPal or Amazon Payments. These intermediaries charge their clients transaction fees. If you were to sell your car through eBay, you would likely need to pay a fee to list it on the site. When you make a payment with a credit card, you may incur additional charges. With Bitcoin, however, transactions occur directly between buyer and seller. As such, there are no hidden costs.

Low cost

Because there are few intermediaries, Bitcoin transactions tend to be cheaper than those made using other methods. For example, when you buy things from Apple's App Store, you typically pay 30% plus $0.30 per item sold. On average, each purchase from Google Play takes 20 cents. However, if you used Bitcoin instead, these purchases could cost less than 10 cents apiece.

Faster

With Bitcoin, buyers can complete transactions within minutes rather than days. Traditional financial institutions often require weeks before processing checks or wire transfers. By comparison, most Bitcoin users receive confirmation notices almost immediately after making a purchase.

More secure

Unlike bank accounts, which store information about account holders' spending habits, Bitcoins exist solely inside computers connected to the Internet. Because of this, thieves cannot steal them without breaking into the computer itself.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bitcoin Taxation

How do I know when my income becomes taxable?

It is important to note that the Internal Revenue Service considers Bitcoin to be property rather than currency. As such, it is treated as capital gains or losses. These types of gains and losses are taxed according to specific rules.

Can I use Bitcoin to buy goods and services without paying sales tax?

Yes! However, keep in mind that using Bitcoin to purchase items means that you must declare them as business income. It would be wise to seek advice from a CPA about how best to handle these purchases.


Do I have to pay taxes on Bitcoin?

No. While the IRS treats Bitcoin as property, it does not consider it to be currency. Therefore, it cannot impose its own taxes on it.

What if I receive Bitcoin gifts?

There are several ways to deal with gift cards. First, you can give away the card itself. Second, you can cash out the balance of the gift card. Third, you can donate the gift card to charity. Finally, you can hold onto the gift card until it expires.

Is there anything special about Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has been around longer than many people realize. Its first appearance came in 2009. Since then, it has grown significantly in popularity. Many experts believe that Bitcoin will eventually replace traditional forms of currency.

Should I invest in Bitcoin?

This depends entirely upon your personal situation. Some investors see Bitcoin as a long-term investment opportunity. Others view it as nothing but another speculative bubble waiting to burst. Either way, you should always take care to understand the risks associated with investing in this type of asset.

Are there any laws against buying drugs with Bitcoin?

Not yet. But some states are considering legislation that would ban the sale of illegal substances via digital currency.

Will Bitcoin ever become legal tender?

The short answer is no. The U.S. government recognizes only two kinds of money: fiat and cryptocurrency. There is currently no law requiring businesses to accept either kind of money. In fact, some companies refuse to accept both because they fear being charged double fees.

Does anyone actually use Bitcoin anymore?

In 2017, approximately 1 million merchants accepted Bitcoin payments. That number dropped to just 100,000 last year. This decline was largely due to increased regulation by governments worldwide.

Why did MtGox fail?

MtGox was once one of the largest exchanges for trading bitcoins. Unfortunately, hackers stole millions of dollars worth of customers’ funds. Afterward, MtGox filed for bankruptcy.

How do I get started mining Bitcoin?

If you wish to learn how to mine Bitcoin, we suggest checking out our guide here. You might also want to read up on the basics of cryptocurrencies at Investopedia.com.


Bottom Line

Bitcoin has been around since 2008 but its popularity surged in late 2013 following China’s crackdown on virtual currencies. Since then, many people have turned to Bitcoin as a way to avoid capital controls imposed by central banks. While Bitcoin does not offer any tangible benefits over traditional forms of currency, it offers several advantages over existing alternatives. It eliminates costly intermediaries and allows individuals to control their own finances more easily.