IRS Says It Will Treat Bitcoins As Property, Not Currency

A photo of tokens representing bitcoins. Rick Bowmer/AP

A photo of tokens representing bitcoins. Rick Bowmer/AP

In a new rule released on Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service says it will treat bitcoin and other virtual currencies as property.

The Wall Street Journal reports this means any profits made on the currency will be taxed at the capital-gains rate and that investors will have to keep extensive records.

The Journal adds:

“The announcement in general was expected to be greeted favorably by the fledgling industry, and many had anticipated exactly this result. But the announcement also served as a reminder that new technologies often can’t avoid being subject to the old rules for long.

“In a notice, the IRS said that it generally would treat bitcoin held by investors much like stock or other intangible property. If the virtual currency is held for investment, any gains would be treated as capital gains, meaning they could be subject to lower tax rates.

“The top long-term capital-gains tax rate is 20%, while the top ordinary income-tax rate is 39.6%, although add-on taxes often make both rates somewhat higher. But as capital investments, loss deductions from bitcoin often would be limited, whereas currency losses can be easier to deduct up front.”

Bloomberg explains that this brings clarity to investors who have been buying bitcoins for years. The IRS, one tax law expert said, is trying to avoid the “creation of an electronic black market.”

The news service explains the rule like this: “Under the ruling, purchasing a $2 cup of coffee with bitcoins bought for $1 would trigger $1 in capital gains for the coffee drinker and $2 of income for the coffee shop.”

As NPR’s Emily Siner reported, bitcoin has a checkered history since its inception in 2008. The currency has been banned in some countries, and one of its largest exchanges, Mt. Gox, went dark after a debilitating theft.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.image
Read original article – Published March 25, 2014 2:47 PM
IRS Says It Will Treat Bitcoins As Property, Not Currency

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.

Comments

Playing Now: