IRS unveils new crypto tax rules: what they mean for investors and the industry

bitcoin and irs taxes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department have released new cryptocurrency tax reporting rules after extensive deliberation. These rules have been welcomed by many in the industry despite some unresolved issues regarding non-custodial providers.

The New Crypto Tax Rules Explained

Clarity in Tax Reporting

The new guidelines from the IRS and the Treasury aim to provide clearer regulations for cryptocurrency tax reporting. Specifically, these rules will require trading platforms to report the gains and losses of their customers, with the regulations gradually coming into force over the next three years.

Consequently, this move is expected to help taxpayers accurately report their profits from crypto investments, thereby reducing the confusion and complexity that have long plagued the industry.

Benefits for the IRS and Taxpayers

With the new reporting rules, the IRS anticipates a significant increase in tax revenue. Estimates suggest that these measures could boost tax income by $28 billion over the next decade. This is particularly beneficial for the IRS, which has been striving to close the tax gap related to digital assets.

Taxpayers, on the other hand, will benefit from the increased clarity and simplified reporting process. The new rules aim to make it easier for individuals to file accurate returns, thereby reducing the likelihood of errors and penalties.

Impact on Different Stakeholders

Trading Platforms

Firstly, trading platforms will now have the responsibility to report their customers’ gains and losses, which will likely involve significant changes to their current reporting systems. Ultimately, this move aims to ensure that all crypto transactions are appropriately recorded and taxed.


For taxpayers, the new rules mean a more straightforward process for reporting crypto gains. As a result, this clarity is expected to reduce the administrative burden on individuals and help them comply with tax regulations more efficiently.


Moreover, the IRS stands to gain substantially from these new rules. In particular, the increased transparency and reporting requirements are expected to improve tax compliance and reduce the tax gap, thereby leading to a significant increase in tax revenues.

The Reaction from the Crypto Industry

Positive Reception

Despite initial concerns, the crypto industry has generally welcomed the new rules. The clarity and legitimacy these regulations bring are seen as positive steps towards integrating digital assets into the broader financial ecosystem.

Erin Fennimore, VP of tax at TaxBit, described the new rules as a “game-changer” for the industry. She emphasized that the regulations provide much-needed clarity and legitimacy to a rapidly growing financial market.

Calls for Streamlined Compliance

Fennimore also called for businesses in the crypto space to streamline their compliance processes internally. This is crucial to avoid duplicate reporting and to ensure that customers do not inadvertently fall foul of the taxman.

Challenges and Unresolved Issues

Non-Custodial Providers

A significant omission from the new guidelines is the treatment of decentralized brokers, or non-custodial providers. These platforms do not take custody of coins on behalf of users, and the IRS and Treasury have acknowledged that they need more time to consider the nuances of such transactions.

Most taxpayers currently use centralized brokers, but the question of how to handle non-custodial entities remains unresolved.

The Long Road to Finalization

Delays and Debates

The journey to these finalized rules has been long and fraught with debates. One of the main sticking points was the definition of a “broker” in the crypto space. For over six years, nonprofit organizations like Coin Center have argued that this definition should only apply to centralized exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken.

Now that this definition has been clarified, many believe that a lot of time and potential tax revenue have been wasted in the process.

Coin Center’s Perspective

Missed Opportunities

Coin Center welcomed the finalized reporting rules but criticized the delays. They argued that if the definition of a broker had been clear from the start, the IRS could have had verifiable records of taxpayer gains from centralized exchanges for half a decade.

Constitutional Concerns

Coin Center also raised concerns about the potential constitutional violations if the definition of a broker had remained vague and unreasonable. They warned that this could have forced everyone from miners and validators to software developers to surveil fellow crypto users and report private transactions.

Had such a definition been adopted, it could have made the U.S. non-competitive in the field of open blockchain technologies.

What Lies Ahead for Non-Custodial Entities

A Messy Fight

The question of how to handle non-custodial entities remains unanswered, and the path ahead is expected to be complex. The IRS and Treasury will need to carefully consider the nuances of such transactions and develop appropriate guidelines that do not stifle innovation in the crypto space.

Read also: Top cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, LTC, TRX

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