How to Report Crypto on Taxes – Easy Guide for the US [2024]

9 Jan, 2024 · 19 min read

Under current tax laws, you need to report crypto on taxes in the US, with requirements changing each year amid new regulations.

It’s tough nowadays to keep track of all the changes occurring in the crypto tax world, but CoinTracking is here to clarify any questions.

In this guide, we explore how crypto taxes work in the US, how to report crypto on taxes this year, what happens if you don’t report crypto taxes, and much more!

Let’s go!

Key Takeaways about how to report crypto on taxes
  • In the US, you need to report your crypto on taxes, from capital gains to income;

  • Every US citizen needs to answer the crypto question on Form 1040;

  • Crypto income, from crypto interest to staking rewards, needs to be reported on your Income Tax Return;

  • Capital gains and losses should be reported on Form 8949 and Schedule D of Form 1040;

  • CoinTracking can help you generate tax reports with all the right information.

Do I have to pay crypto taxes?

Yes, you have to pay crypto taxes in the US if you have any profit from your crypto trading activities or if you have any income from digital assets.

In the US, crypto trading, including crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-FIAT trades, are taxable and subject to capital gains taxes. If you sell any of your crypto, including NFTs, you’d be taxed at a capital gains tax rate.

Whereas, if you earn any income from crypto, from earning any type of crypto interest or staking rewards, the income would be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate and it needs to be reported on your income tax return.

What happens if you don’t report your crypto taxes

If you don’t report your crypto taxes, you’d likely incur in fines and penalties or even harsher consequences like jail time.

The IRS has enough resources to track all unreported or misreported crypto activities while tax authorities across other countries (including the EU) are tracking information on people’s crypto trading information and other activities to pursue any unpaid crypto taxes. 

One example of increased efforts is the hiring of thousands of new IRS agents to collect more crypto taxes. In recent years, the IRS has also sent many letters to crypto traders who had not reported their crypto with huge amounts of unpaid taxes.

Professional crypto CPAs can help you calculate the correct tax amount to pay by reconciling your crypto transactions, generating the right reports, etc. 

In recent times, the most popular case of someone not reporting their crypto taxes was the deceased John McAfee, who pledged not to pay taxes in the US, from non-crypto activities to his crypto holdings. The IRS and other US authorities went after McAfee with many resources to recover the unpaid taxes.

How do I report crypto on my tax return?

1. Calculate your crypto gains and losses

Here’s how to calculate your crypto gains and losses on a trade:

  1. Determine the cost basis of your trade: For example, if you buy 1 Bitcoin (BTC) for $30K, that will be your cost basis, which is usually also the Fair Market Value (in USD) at the time you bought the BTC.
  2. Determine the sales proceeds on the trade: Let’s imagine that Bitcoin price rose to $60K, and you decide to sell it. If you sell the 1 BTC you have, your total sales proceeds will be $60K.
  3. Calculate your crypto gain on the trade: Capital gains/losses are calculated based on the difference between your sales proceeds and cost basis. In this example, your gain is $30K ($60K – $30K).

2. Complete your Crypto Tax Forms

You have to complete the right crypto tax forms depending on the nature of your crypto income.

If you have gains/losses from crypto or NFT trading, you need to separate them according to the holding period, into short-term and long-term, and report them on Form 8949 and Schedule D.

If you receive crypto as income, you need to determine its Fair Market Value (in USD) at the time you received that income and include it in your US Individual Income Tax Return.

3. Complete the rest of your tax return

You need to complete the right tax forms and schedules to accurately report your crypto taxes, from Form 8949 to Schedule 1 or Schedule D, for example.

4. Send your tax return to the IRS

After tracking all of your crypto activities with a crypto tax software like CoinTracking and preparing the right tax report, you can generate ready-to-submit forms and import them into tax filing software like TurboTax, then e-file your tax return with the IRS.

Which tax forms do you need to file crypto taxes?

Form 1040

Form 1040 is the primary tax form to report your total crypto income and gains/losses.

Your US Individual Income tax Return includes any income you received, from crypto to non-crypto income. You will need to make sure to use the correct tax form or schedule to report your crypto gains/losses.

Schedule D

Schedule D is used to report your capital gains and losses from your crypto/NFT trading (assuming that you sold at least some of your holdings during the tax year). Schedule D is used with Form 1040 to report any capital gains/losses.

Form 8949

Form 8949 is used to reconcile your capital gains and losses from cryptocurrencies, including reporting adjustments, expenses, corrections for transactions, and transactions that were not reported or need to be corrected from the information on any Form 1099-B. Moreover, every single crypto trade has to be listed and cannot be grouped.

Schedule C and Schedule SE

Schedule C and Schedule SE are used with your Income Tax Return to report crypto income and expenses if you’re running your crypto activities as a sole proprietor or single member LLC.

Your crypto activities related to non-employee work – income, expenses, and net profit/loss – should be reported on Schedule C. If net profit is over $400, you need to file Schedule SE (Self-Employment Tax).

Other tax forms you may need to file regarding crypto taxes

Form 1040 Schedule B

  • Form 1040 Schedule B Part I: Interest (lending, staking, interest, masternodes, liquidity rewards);
  • Form 1040 Schedule B Part II: Dividends.

Form 1040 Schedule 1

  • Form 1040 Schedule 1 Part I: Other income (mining (non commercial), airdrops, hard forks, staking income, rewards/bonus, other income).
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What forms should I receive from my crypto platform?

Using crypto tax software is the easiest way to track crypto gains/losses and generate tax reports, while your crypto tax tool should generate forms like Form 8949.

Crypto exchanges serving US customers may send forms like Form 1099-MISC or 1099-B to crypto investors. Under the proposed regulations, crypto exchanges will start to issue Form 1099-DA in 2025.

How do I report my crypto trading

In the US, you need to report your capital gains/losses from your crypto trading while including that information on the right tax forms.

You need to determine your crypto gains/losses and separate them by short-term (holding crypto for 12 months or less before selling) and long-term (holding crypto for over 12 months before selling) for reporting in your tax form.

Your gains/losses would then have to be reported on Form 8949 and Schedule D. CoinTracking can help you include this information in the right tax reports.

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How do I report my crypto earnings and rewards

In the US, receiving income from crypto activities like crypto interest vehicles, staking rewards, airdrops, hard forks, salaries, or payments is taxed under ordinary income tax rates. 

You need to determine the Fair Market Value (in USD) of that income, measured at the time you received any of those crypto earnings or rewards. 

After determining the FMV of each crypto income you received, you need to include it in your US Individual Income Tax return (Form 1040) alongside your other income (including non-crypto) for the tax year, on Schedule 1.

How to declare losses in crypto tax return

In the US, you also need to report your crypto losses on the right tax form. You can use your capital losses from crypto to offset your capital gains. Moreover, you can deduct  up to $3,000 of net losses and use it to offset your ordinary income, effectively reducing your capital gains taxes.

Here is how to report your crypto losses: first, you need to determine your capital losses from your crypto/NFT trading; secondly, you need to include those crypto losses alongside some more information in Form 8949 and Schedule D.

How to report crypto taxes in other countries

Canada 

Canada taxes cryptocurrency gains according to their Federal Income Tax and Provincial Income Tax, while a private investor would only pay taxes over 50% of its total gains. Learn more about crypto taxes in Canada.

Australia

Net cryptocurrency gains are taxed under capital gains taxes in Australia if you’re using crypto as an investment. Learn more in our Australia crypto tax guide

UK

In the UK, if you dispose of crypto (e.g., selling, spending, gifting), you’d be taxed under a capital gains tax rate, while if you earn crypto income, you’d be taxed under an income tax rate. 

Discover more in our UK crypto tax guide.

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FAQ about reporting
crypto on taxes in the US

Questions and Answers on Crypto Portfolio Tracking & Crypto Taxes

If you are not yet familiar with CoinTracking, these frequently asked questions are an ideal starting point for using our expertise and clarifying important issues.

What happens if you don’t report cryptocurrency on your taxes?2023-10-11T10:35:46+01:00

If you don’t report crypto taxes, you’d likely incur in fines and penalties, while unreported and unpaid taxes can lead to more extreme consequences like lawsuits and the possibility of jail time.

Do I pay taxes on crypto if I lose money?2023-10-11T10:35:03+01:00

If you have capital losses from your crypto or NFT trading, you’d still need to report those crypto losses on the appropriate tax forms, even if you don’t have any taxes to pay.

How much cryptocurrency do you have to report on your tax return?2023-10-11T10:34:14+01:00

You have to report any income you received from crypto activities (e.g., interest, staking, salaries) and any gains/losses from your crypto/NFT trading on your tax return (in different forms).

How does the IRS know if you have cryptocurrency?2023-10-11T10:33:39+01:00

The IRS has many technical resources (e.g., forensic tools) and a vast workforce to track crypto holdings from people across countries and know what crypto taxes you should report.

How do I report crypto on my taxes?2023-11-20T16:29:27+01:00

You have to report crypto income in your Income Tax Return and any gains/losses from your crypto trading on Form 8949 and Schedule D.

Conclusion

Under current regulations, the US taxes cryptocurrencies and mandates that investors report their taxable crypto transactions when filing their tax return every tax season.

As a US citizen, you must answer the crypto question on Form 1040 even if you didn’t sell any of your crypto holdings, while crypto income and crypto gains/losses have to be reported on Form 8949 and your Income Tax Return.

The easiest way to comply with crypto regulations and tax laws is to frequently import and track your crypto trades and use crypto tax software like CoinTracking to determine gains/losses and generate ready-to-submit tax reports for your crypto.

Disclaimer: All the information provided above is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional investment, legal, or tax advice. You should conduct your own research or consult with a professional financial advisor when investing.

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Moritz Nold: Crypto Tax Manager
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Moritz
Crypto Tax Manager
Tax Expert, Webinar-Host, Content Creator, Crypto Enthusiast and Investor. Interested in everything regarding the crypto space.
Tax Expert, Webinar-Host, Content Creator, Crypto Enthusiast and Investor. Interested in everything regarding the crypto space.

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