Proposed Alteration in United States Crypto Tax Regime Explained

The Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have proposed changes for reporting crypto tax in the U.S. The alterations were proposed in response to a 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provision. The new rules shall affect brokers starting with the 2026 filing season. 

United States Altered Crypto Tax Reporting Scenario

Brokers will not have to report customer’s digital asset transactions taking place after January 1, 2025. These proposed rules include anyone “that, in the ordinary course of a trade or business during a calendar year, stands ready to effect sales [of a digital asset] to be made by others.” 

Under this new regime, a broker must provide tax forms with required information such as name, taxpayer address, identification numbers, types of digital assets traded, gross proceeds, and, under exceptional circumstances, other information should be provided to the IRS.  

Moreover, the information regarding digital asset transactions exchanged for cash, stored-value cards, multiple digital assets, broker services, or any property subject to be reported under existing law. It should be known that the IRS issued the first guidelines for crypto taxation in 2014 but only asked taxpayers to report in 2019. Also, the IRS treats cryptocurrency and any blockchain-based digital asset as property, not currency. 

The Biden Administration proposed these fresh guidelines on August 25, 2023, but the rules face backlash from the industry. 

What are Digital Assets as per IRS?

To clarify reporting crypto taxation, the IRS has defined digital assets as follows. The definition is “any digital representation of value recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger (or a similar technology).” IRS also hinted towards future expansion of the definition to include various forms of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Stablecoins, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), etc. 

It should be noted that digital assets in a closed circuit, like video game tokens, are not subjected to the new regime. Also, the usage of distributed ledger technology outside the scope of cryptocurrency, which does not create new transferable assets, will be exempted. 

A Comprehensive Explanation of Proposed Crypto Tax Rules

The rules for reporting crypto tax come with certain exceptions and exclusions, as mentioned below. It provides exceptions to a broker already reporting securities and commodities sales under current law. A similar scenario would be applied to the sales of digital assets. 

People indulged in only providing distributed ledger validation services will not be treated as brokers subjected to reporting requirements. They may be working either via Proof-of-Work (PoW), aka crypto mining, or Proof-of-Stake (PoS), aka staking. Also, similar consensus mechanisms and people selling hardware or licensing software that does not provide direct access to any trading platform are exempted.

If any user has received a new digital asset, cryptocurrency, or tokens but has not disposed of anything in exchange, they will be exempted. For instance, if an individual receives an airdrop or gets a new hold of new assets after a hard fork, they will not have to report them under the proposed regulations. 

But it does include rules that force reporting sales of specific financial contracts involving or referring any digital assets. For instance, options on digital assets and if digital assets are received via the sale of real estate are reportable. 

The brokers must now fill out Form 1099-DA to notify the IRS of the required information. They first need to fill in the details of a digital asset holder and report the information to the IRS. However, it is still time for the process to be officially effective, and the Department of Treasury and the IRS have asked for written comments on the proposal until October 30, 2023, while a public hearing is scheduled on November 7, 2023. 

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