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Author Topic: Has anyone already payed Bitcoin-related taxes?  (Read 2226 times)
jon_smark
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May 12, 2011, 09:59:13 PM
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The subject says it all: I'm looking for testimonies of people who've already gone through the experience of declaring Bitcoin-related income for tax purposes.  I'm interested in knowing about the responses you got from accountants and/or the tax-men, regardless of the country you live in.

This question does not come from idle curiosity, either.  I'm in the process of starting a business and I'd very much like to also support payments in Bitcoin.  Therefore, it would be nice to know what sort of things to expect when I bring up the issue at my local IRS-like office.
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mewantsbitcoins
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May 12, 2011, 10:05:14 PM
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I solemnly swear that I haven't and have no intention to
Gavin Andresen
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May 12, 2011, 10:06:24 PM
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Why would you "bring up the issue" ?

Just declare bitcoin-related income or capital gains as income, and bitcoin-related expenses as expenses, translated into units that the IRS understands (dollars), and follow the rules for WHEN you must declare income, capital gains and expenses and I bet a bitcoin you'll be just fine, even if you get audited.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
Garrett Burgwardt
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May 12, 2011, 10:06:48 PM
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I solemnly swear that I haven't and have no intention to

While that's up to you, the man is looking to be on the up and up with the law, so lets see if we can give him some examples.

Personally I haven't... haven't played the speculating game or sold too many, just buying them and using those to buy other things. I'll keep my eye open though for people talking about it!
mewantsbitcoins
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May 12, 2011, 10:30:54 PM
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I solemnly swear that I haven't and have no intention to

While that's up to you, the man is looking to be on the up and up with the law, so lets see if we can give him some examples.

Personally I haven't... haven't played the speculating game or sold too many, just buying them and using those to buy other things. I'll keep my eye open though for people talking about it!

Oh I am all for the law abiding citizens. I don't know if you realize it but you are already paying for the "privilege" of using their wonderful currency when you receive money from your employer, when you fill up the tank, and for everything else you buy. Actually every second you are holding paper note in your hand - YOU ARE PAYING THEM! And while it's fine in a sort of evil twisted way, because it is their system, I draw the line with Bitcoin. If I made some money with bitcoin, I am keeping it. I'd much rather give it to people who are making this possible.
Governments are redundant concept, they are parasitic entities and it's about time people realize this. And before you say that we need them, let me tell ya - we don't! And you know how I know this - every time they stop fucking around with economy, things start getting better. We are WAAAAYY better off without their "solutions".

But you are right it's the wrong topic. Promise not to do that again(fingers crossed behind my back Smiley )
marcus_of_augustus
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May 12, 2011, 10:46:40 PM
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So I hope you'll raise the issue of your holdings of World of Warcraft gold, Linden dollars and the carrots in your vege garden while you are visiting you local friendly IRS pencil-neck to declare your stash of bitcoins..... sheesh.

davout
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May 12, 2011, 10:50:59 PM
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So I hope you'll raise the issue of your holdings of World of Warcraft gold, Linden dollars and the carrots in your vege garden while you are visiting you local friendly IRS pencil-neck to declare your stash of bitcoins..... sheesh.
meh
OP's question is totally legit if his intent is to create a reasonably sized business operating in bitcoins

dacoinminster
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May 12, 2011, 10:56:52 PM
 #8

This is an important question, and will be come increasingly important as more people start getting significant bitcoin income.

I plan to talk to a tax accountant, but I believe I will be able to treat my bitcoins as if they were any other collectable coin. That is, if I make money selling them someday, I'll be treated as if I sold any other appreciating asset. Same thing as if I had bought some confederate dollars at a flea market that appreciated wildly for some reason.

In the meantime, I'm careful that my USD inflows (selling bitcoins) match my outflows (investing in mining and bitcoin projects), which I am hoping will make tax time simpler.

Stephen Gornick
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May 12, 2011, 11:17:37 PM
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Here's a related thread.
  - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2484.0

And following is a copy of my response:
  - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2484.msg33597#msg33597

Quote
"You must immediately translate into dollars all items of income, expense, etc. (including taxes), that you receive, pay, or accrue in a foreign currency and that will affect computation of your income taxl"
 - http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=130524,00.html

What I'ld like to know is if holdings of Bitcoin count as a "foreign account" and thus when "aggregate value of these [foreign] accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year" then filing the FBAR report is required:
  - http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=210244,00.html

marcus_of_augustus
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May 12, 2011, 11:30:59 PM
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Tax law is a hopelessly confusing morass already ... why would you want to introduce an unbelievably complicated technical notion like bitcoin into the mix ... do you like getting massive bills from your accountants and lawyers? Is anyone gonna pay you back when they dissolve into a puff of nothingness on some s/ware bug panic? Let the guy who's tapping you up for money figure it out at their expense.

oillio
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May 13, 2011, 12:47:23 AM
 #11

I am not a tax lawyer/CPA/etc, so don't take any of this as advice.  But here is my opinion:

I plan to talk to a tax accountant, but I believe I will be able to treat my bitcoins as if they were any other collectable coin. That is, if I make money selling them someday, I'll be treated as if I sold any other appreciating asset. Same thing as if I had bought some confederate dollars at a flea market that appreciated wildly for some reason.

You definitely don't want Bitcoin to be classified as a collectible.  The taxes on collectibles (beanie babies, etc) are much higher than standard assets (stocks, bonds, etc).  This has screwed many a gold coin collector.  Luckily I don't think this will happen.  A collectible is defined, in part, by being a physical object.

What I'ld like to know is if holdings of Bitcoin count as a "foreign account" and thus when "aggregate value of these [foreign] accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year" then filing the FBAR report is required:

Bitcoin is not associated with any foreign country, so I don't believe FBAR regulations will apply.  Until the government recognizes the Internet as a foreign entity, I think we will be safe.

Bitcoin is most analogous to gaming digital currencies, so I believe the same rules should apply as for Linden Dollars.  From what I have read, these are classified as a "store of wealth" and taxed as an asset (like a stock).  Of course, the IRS can choose to change their mind at any point.  For whatever you do, you will just have to cross your fingers and hope they decide you are right.  That is the risk of being an early adopter.  There are mechanisms to request an official ruling from the IRS, but from what I understand, these are not all that binding.  To be truly safe, you simply need to wait for enough case law to give you cover.  Let someone else be the guinea pig.

I belive, if you sell something for Bitcoins, this will be treated as a barter.  We may consider Bitcoin a currency, but I don't think the IRS will.  If you have enough income to make it worth it, there are probably a lot of games you can play with how exactly you do calculate the value of the exchange.  You will need to speak to an attorney about how to do that.  Due to the massive appreciation we are seeing in Bitcoin, I expect it will be most advantageous to convert the value to Dollars at the time of sale.

If you are simply trading between Dollars and Bitcoins, you should be able to treat it as any other asset.  Make sure you keep good records of when you bought and sold so you can calculate basis and long term status.
gigabytecoin
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May 13, 2011, 08:56:11 AM
 #12

No, but I don't have many.
db
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May 13, 2011, 09:26:29 AM
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We have talked to the Swedish tax authority and they want us to treat it like any other currency: Pay tax on the value in local currency (SEK) at the market exchange rate when a payment comes in. (And pay capital gains tax if they are sold at a profit, but the company sells immediately to avoid messing with that.)
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