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Author Topic: Reporting bitcoin mining earnings to IRS, Post FinCEN.  (Read 6699 times)
FreedomCoin
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March 22, 2013, 01:12:41 PM
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Hello all,

Its tax time for alot of us in the US. I told my CPA about my ventures into Bitcoin and he is stating that i should file my earnings for 2012. Seems the IRS may come at people years from not claiming they needed to file in retrospect and owe alot of monies.

What is everyone else doing?

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March 22, 2013, 01:28:50 PM
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Some people are just selling bitcoins for cash or other items so no one else will know about it.

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March 22, 2013, 01:36:47 PM
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Protip : Dont incriminate yourself.

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March 22, 2013, 04:48:55 PM
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Protip : Dont incriminate yourself.

my big worry is if i do not report now, they may come at me 5-10 years from now with interested owed.

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March 22, 2013, 04:54:32 PM
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my big worry is if i do not report now, they may come at me 5-10 years from now with interested owed.
If Bitcoin is still worth anything 5-10 years from now and you own some now you'll likely be able to manage that risk by just moving outside their jurisdiction.
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March 22, 2013, 06:29:27 PM
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From what ive heard you only need to report (register with FinCEN) if you mine BTC and convert to USD. Does the same go for reporting on taxes? I have not converted any bitcoins to dollars, only traded for services and products.

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March 23, 2013, 01:58:01 AM
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You sold bitcoins this year or last?  My condolences.  You should have already had all your tax questions answered before you sold them.  Now you already did some financial transactions without thinking about how it was going to look on your taxes until after you did it?  Generally not a good thing to do with large amounts of money.

I am not going to give you specific tax or legal advice.

Generally speaking, a bitcoin miner's plan, especially considering the current regulatory uncertainty, should include documentation of expenses and a talk with a lawyer who can tell you how to legally convert your coins into the currency of your choice if you are really afraid of (unlikely this year) potentially enforceable  regulation coming in this hard on the heels of the guidance.

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March 23, 2013, 02:33:28 AM
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my big worry is if i do not report now, they may come at me 5-10 years from now with interested owed.
If Bitcoin is still worth anything 5-10 years from now and you own some now you'll likely be able to manage that risk by just moving outside their jurisdiction.

Unless the OP renounces citizenship (not a bad idea right now), moving does nothing except offer a potential 95K tax credit if you live 330 days (or something like that) outside the USA.

The only country on the planet that taxes its citizens regardless of where they live.

...the land of the free  Roll Eyes
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March 23, 2013, 03:40:45 PM
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my big worry is if i do not report now, they may come at me 5-10 years from now with interested owed.
If Bitcoin is still worth anything 5-10 years from now and you own some now you'll likely be able to manage that risk by just moving outside their jurisdiction.

Unless the OP renounces citizenship (not a bad idea right now), moving does nothing except offer a potential 95K tax credit if you live 330 days (or something like that) outside the USA.

The only country on the planet that taxes its citizens regardless of where they live.

...the land of the free  Roll Eyes

yeah a shame the US is the world police at this point.


You sold bitcoins this year or last?  My condolences.  You should have already had all your tax questions answered before you sold them.  Now you already did some financial transactions without thinking about how it was going to look on your taxes until after you did it?  Generally not a good thing to do with large amounts of money.

I am not going to give you specific tax or legal advice.

Generally speaking, a bitcoin miner's plan, especially considering the current regulatory uncertainty, should include documentation of expenses and a talk with a lawyer who can tell you how to legally convert your coins into the currency of your choice if you are really afraid of (unlikely this year) potentially enforceable  regulation coming in this hard on the heels of the guidance.


I havnt sold any of my coins luckily, i bought 7btc back when they were worth $5 each in July of last year. But i have been mining non stop since then, so i take it the appreciation from July till Jan 1st would be taxable as capital gains? And can i write off the electricity used for mining as an expense?

i found a great wiki page on tax compliance but it dosnt seem to be updated since the US Treasury made their statement last week. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Tax_compliance

And what about claiming my mining as a "hobby"? Since i have no exchanged any BTC to USD?

EDIT: I saw another thread where someone had the idea of claiming earnings as "gambling" only if over $5000... Since Bitcoins are not considered a true currency by the US, couldnt i claim that i was gambling by using GPU power to harvest coins and holding on to them? https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=153202.msg1627264#msg1627264

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March 23, 2013, 04:36:44 PM
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Bitcoin could be considered a currency.  That's one thing to look at since the FinCEN guidance makes it pretty clear that a "de-centralized virtual currency" is going to be treated much like a real currency in future rule making effort at FinCEN.

That sucks for tax purposes, unfortunately, treated as income.  I think the best way to go is to set up a business and run all electricity costs and capital costs through that business, treating exchanged coins as revenue.  Depending on the structure of the business, can be taxed differently.  Could attempt to be taxed as dividend or capital gain that way? Or income as pass through?


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March 23, 2013, 04:46:32 PM
 #11

Hello all,

Its tax time for alot of us in the US. I told my CPA about my ventures into Bitcoin and he is stating that i should file my earnings for 2012. Seems the IRS may come at people years from not claiming they needed to file in retrospect and owe alot of monies.

What is everyone else doing?

If in 2012 you exchanged bitcoin for dollars, report that. Otherwise if it is still in bitcoin, you can't really report it, cause the price is changing so much that you can't really give it value.

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March 23, 2013, 06:52:15 PM
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Bitcoin could be considered a currency.  That's one thing to look at since the FinCEN guidance makes it pretty clear that a "de-centralized virtual currency" is going to be treated much like a real currency in future rule making effort at FinCEN.

That sucks for tax purposes, unfortunately, treated as income.  I think the best way to go is to set up a business and run all electricity costs and capital costs through that business, treating exchanged coins as revenue.  Depending on the structure of the business, can be taxed differently.  Could attempt to be taxed as dividend or capital gain that way? Or income as pass through?



i like that idea, i have an LLC that has been active for years now that i use for my IT consulting. I will include it under that possibly. And also list my hardware and power costs as a capitol loss.

Hello all,

Its tax time for alot of us in the US. I told my CPA about my ventures into Bitcoin and he is stating that i should file my earnings for 2012. Seems the IRS may come at people years from not claiming they needed to file in retrospect and owe alot of monies.

What is everyone else doing?

If in 2012 you exchanged bitcoin for dollars, report that. Otherwise if it is still in bitcoin, you can't really report it, cause the price is changing so much that you can't really give it value.

Yes that is how i feel too, trying to average difficulty and BTC to USD price over 5 months would be hard.

I am also thinking about listing my electricity, and mining rig parts as loses for this 2012. As this year if i do pull BTC out for USD then there will be big capital gains from when i earned most of the BTC back in late 2012.

Big Time Coin
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March 24, 2013, 05:29:00 AM
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Another thing to consider is that mining equipment depreciates.  So you don't write off the full purchase price in the year you purchase it.  I'm not an accountant, but I think it should depreciate faster than an automobile.  Someone needs to ask an accountant what the max depreciation rate on capital expenses is.  I know there are categories, like on buildings its 15-20 years and cars is 5-10, but mining equipment it should be more like 1-3 years.  Can you make up a category or do you need to use a pre-defined one? 

When I did GPU mining the cards only lasted 12 months or so before I felt they were getting worn and sold them off.  I'm hoping asics don't wear out so fast because no built-in fan.  Depreciation should be less % per year too.


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March 24, 2013, 02:51:40 PM
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Identifying yourself to any 3 letter agency as a Bitcoin miner is only asking for trouble down the road.

You really think they wouldn't try a coordinated attack against miners?

Bitcoin is the greatest threat to the single most powerful organization on the planet.  Do you really think they won't use every tool at their disposal to protect their interest?

Revealing yourself as a minor is not displaying much foresight.

Don't do it.

If you must move wealth out of Bitcoin, move it to Gold, Silver, Platinum... and avoid all the headaches moving to fiat would cause you.
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March 24, 2013, 07:00:38 PM
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The fincen guidelines are not related to taxes. Both before and after the guidelines, U.S. citizens and residents are required to report all earnings, including those related to bitcoin.

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March 24, 2013, 08:50:10 PM
 #16

Reporting puts you in the spotlight. Unless you have an operation of similar size of Mtgox DONT report. Keep under the radar, the world as we know it wont be the same in 5 years due to Bitcoin anyway. Watch Pandoras box unleash itself towards the world and change it completely. Fincen or whatever their name is wont matter as a power entity by then.

<helo> funny that this proposal grows the maximum block size to 8GB, and is seen as a compromise
<helo> oh, you don't like a 20x increase? well how about 8192x increase?
<JackH> lmao
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March 25, 2013, 04:08:23 AM
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Actually, post-finCEN guidance DOES matter.  Before, you could report dollar earnings from bitcoin mining without worrying about it.  Now you have to ask yourself: Am I incriminating myself as operating as a Money Transmitter or Money Service Business without a license when I report dollar earnings from bitcoin mining?

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March 26, 2013, 05:03:03 PM
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EDIT: I saw another thread where someone had the idea of claiming earnings as "gambling" only if over $5000... Since Bitcoins are not considered a true currency by the US, couldnt i claim that i was gambling by using GPU power to harvest coins and holding on to them? https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=153202.msg1627264#msg1627264

I do NOT encourage you to dodge taxes. I RECOMMAND that you declare all your incomes including incomes in Bitcoin.
The explanations below are only a though experiment, for illustrative purpose, and used as an illustration of what you should seek to AVOID DOING, because that would represent an offence under income law.

Quote
The question you have to ask yourself is whether there is any way your holdings in BTC can be linked back to you.
  • If you have been solo mining and never moving your coins, you will have in your wallet as many new private addresses containing 50 / 25 BTC each as you found blocks. These cannot be linked back to you as long as you don't send them to an address that you have used for a transaction under your real identity, or any identity that could be traced back to you (you have to assume that the IRS in 5 or 10 years may have a much better technology to analyse the blockchain + information from exchange and large merchants they could use to connect the dots).
  • If you have been mining using a pool under a pseudonym while making sure that nothing was leading back to you (email address included), and you never transfered the payout to an address that you have used for a transaction under your real identity, or any identity that could be traced back to you, the only existing link is the IP if the pool logged it and still have it in X years. That's a very very weak link, and unlikely unenforceable.
So if the answer to the above is : "No, the coins I mined cannot be linked back to me at this very moment", and if you have not been declaring your mining activity in any way, then you should be safe in regard to IRS as long as you make sure not to create the missing link that would allow them in the future to prove that you had hidden holdings that led to undeclared realized capital gains.

Now, if you have such coins that can't be traced back to you, and you want to redeem them for cash, there are a few ways you can do that while remaining under the radar of IRS:
  • OTC trading: "virgin" blocks of 25 BTC / 50 BTC sell for a premium on the off-exchange market. Make sure to do the transaction in person and in cash, and don't give your real identity to your counterparty.
  • Sell stuff to yourself for Bitcoins on ebay, with "in person delivery" so you aren't supposed to know the real ID of your buyer. Make sure the proceed remains within the limit set by IRS for private selling as individual. And keep all the records.
  • Send the coins to a (close, trustable, and equally tax dodgy) relative who doesn't have taxable income, or a low taxable income, and have this relative withdraw the coins under his / her real name, in amounts high enough to be effective, but low enough to remain under the tax threshold. Make sure this relative *declares* this income and effectively receive tax clearance. Now the amount is clear from taxation, and you can have the relative offer it to you either officially using a bank transfer (if under the yearly limit set for donation / gift), or withdraw it as cash and give it to you in person. You may want to prepare a scenario to explain why your relative got that free money coming from nowhere in first place (sold something in-person for Bitcoins for instance).
  • Send the coins to someone who is fiscal resident in a country where capital gains are not taxable. This person can withdraw the money without bothering about hiding anything. Then have this person give you the money either officially (if under the yearly limit set for donation / gift) or by cash. Or even better, sell something to this person on ebay, and receive officially the proceeds by wire (so long as the amount remains within the limits set by IRS for private selling as individual).
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April 01, 2013, 04:40:24 PM
 #19

great thanks me and my CPA decided to not go with FIFO or LIFO. He suggested we file my earnings as you would with stock shares. So we calculated from when the coins were mined to the end of the tax year and then "averaged" the earnings. That way when they do appreciate more i have already paid taxes on them (end of 2012 being around $15).

Since i use my mining computer for gaming and work i cannot write off the electricity he stated. But i can write off the video cards are expenses.

He stated if i build a dedicated mining rig.. or buy an ASIC that would be a pure business expense. And would be able to write it off during that tax year bought. He also stated if i mined in a dedicated room, part of my cooling bill and electricity bill can be written off.. but only if that room is used for purely business.

thought you all would want to know...

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April 02, 2013, 02:52:23 PM
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great thanks me and my CPA decided to not go with FIFO or LIFO. He suggested we file my earnings as you would with stock shares. So we calculated from when the coins were mined to the end of the tax year and then "averaged" the earnings. That way when they do appreciate more i have already paid taxes on them (end of 2012 being around $15).

Since i use my mining computer for gaming and work i cannot write off the electricity he stated. But i can write off the video cards are expenses.

He stated if i build a dedicated mining rig.. or buy an ASIC that would be a pure business expense. And would be able to write it off during that tax year bought. He also stated if i mined in a dedicated room, part of my cooling bill and electricity bill can be written off.. but only if that room is used for purely business.

thought you all would want to know...

Like IRS would know it if you are using your computer for gaming...
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