7 Crypto Tax Questions For Your CA Chartered Accountant
It doesn't matter whether you're a die-hard crypto trader or whether you occasionally dabble in crypto investing. If you've traded cryptocurrencies during the year, tax filing can get tricky. In case you've been under the impression that crypto transactions are anonymous and you don't really need to worry about paying taxes on them, you are wrong.
The India Income Tax Department had asked top crypto exchanges like WazirX, Coindcx, others for information on their India-based customers. What's more, they actually used this information to send out letters to suspected tax evaders.
This is all to say that the India Income Tax Department is taking crypto taxation very seriously. So if you've been less than 100% when it comes to filing your crypto tax returns, this is the time to make up for it. If you're feeling overwhelmed and are not sure where to start, sit with your CA / Chartered Accountant and check whether they're up for the task of handling your crypto taxation. You can ask them these 7 questions to make sure they're up-to-date with the latest in crypto taxes and can help you sort out your crypto tax woes in time.
1. What kind of tax am I expected to pay on my cryptocurrency?
The India Income Tax Department treats cryptocurrency as property which means crypto transactions are treated in the same way as property transactions. To put it simply, if you sell crypto within one year of buying it, you will be subject to Short-term Capital Gains Tax (SCGT). If you wait for over a year, you will have to pay Long-term Capital Gains Tax (LCGT).
2. I have some transactions where I didn't sell my crypto for regular currency. I sold some Ethereum and bought bitcoin instead. Do I need to pay taxes for such a transaction?
This is a doubt that a lot of people have. If you didn't technically "sell" the cryptocurrency, do you still need to pay capital gains tax? However, the India Income Tax Department is quite clear about this. "Disposal" of any capital asset constitutes a taxable event. Disposal can mean a number of different things — from selling crypto to exchanging crypto for other cryptos, using crypto to purchase other goods, or even gifting crypto.
So how do you calculate your capital gains in this case? When it comes to crypto-to-crypto exchange, you need to keep accurate records of all your transactions. If you haven't done so yet, you can use crypto tax software to get your records in order. In this case, the fair market value of the crypto that you exchanged as on the date of the transaction will be the sales proceeds. You can then deduct the cost of purchase from the sales proceeds to calculate your capital gain.
3. Some part of my salary is paid to me in bitcoin. How do I report this income given that the price of crypto keeps fluctuating?
The salary you receive in crypto has to be added to your taxable income when it comes to calculating your taxes. The India Income Tax Department follows a fairly straightforward rule here — the fair market value of the bitcoin on the date that you received it is what will be added to your gross income. In this case, it's important for you to maintain accurate records as to when the cryptocurrency was credited to your account.
4. I am mining cryptocurrency. Do I have to pay self-employment tax? What expenses can I deduct when I report my taxable income?
The answer to this depends on the nature of mining. For instance, you might be mining bitcoin but as an employee working for someone else. And the bitcoins mined are not in your name. In this case, you would be treated as an employee and would not be subject to self-employment tax.
You might also be mining cryptocurrency but as a hobby, rather than a full-time business. In this case, it is not a self-employment activity and you wouldn't have to pay self-employment tax. At the same time, you wouldn't be able to deduct any mining-related expenses either.
If you're mining cryptocurrency in your own name and as a business, you would be considered self-employed and expected to pay self-employment tax. You would also be able to deduct certain expenses (hardware and software costs, electricity and utility bills, etc) from your profits in order to determine your net taxable income.
5. What about the tax treatment for cryptocurrency that you receive in a hard fork. Do I need to disclose this in my tax return?
Most experts believe that the fair market value of the coins received on the date of the fork is ordinary income and is taxable. Plus, this fair market value also becomes your cost basis when you end up selling the forked cryptocurrency.
6. What if I haven't maintained accurate records of my crypto transactions? What can I do to remedy the situation now?
For starters, you can use our services to help you organize your transactions and maintain accurate records. If there are still some discrepancies (for instance the exchange you used is no longer operational), utilize an estimate and explain why you have used such an estimate in your tax returns. This will safeguard you from a hefty penalty in case the Income Tax Department decides to pursue the discrepancy.
7. I have not been reporting my crypto investment in my tax returns for several years. What can I do about it now?
Since the India Income Tax Department is cracking down on crypto tax evasion, you need to act quickly. Schedule an appointment with us and we shall help you navigate this treacherous path.
These are some of the most common questions that crypto investors are currently plagued with and your CA / Chartered Accountant should have strong, confident answers for these. If you're an active crypto trader and you feel like your CA / Chartered Accountant isn't as well-versed in crypto tax matters as they need to be, hiring a crypto tax accountant like us might be a good idea.
The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that we are not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. CA Mitesh and Associates is Mumbai's leading Cryptocurrency Taxation Firm which is committed to helping people navigate complex tax laws and banking regulations. Our main aim is to assist the individuals with applicable laws & regulations compliance and providing support at each & every level to make sure that they stay compliant and grow continuously. For any query, help or feedback you may get in touch here - Appointment with CA