Monday, March 31, 2014
For those living in a cave, Bitcoin is the world's most popular digital currency. Transactions made with Bitcoins happens with no middlemen – meaning, no governments or banks. There are no fees and transactions can be completely anonymous. However, the IRS recently announced that it will treat Bitcoin as property, not a currency, for tax purposes:
The U.S. government will treat Bitcoin as property for tax purposes, applying rules it uses to govern stocks and barter transactions, the Internal Revenue Service said in its first substantive ruling on the issue.
Today’s IRS guidance will provide certainty for Bitcoin investors, along with income-tax liability that wasn’t specified before. Purchasing a $2 cup of coffee with Bitcoins bought for $1 would trigger $1 in capital gains for the coffee drinker and $2 of gross income for the coffee shop.
The IRS, faced with a choice of treating Bitcoins like currency or property, chose property. That decision could reduce the volume of transactions conducted with the virtual currency, said Pamir Gelenbe, a venture partner at Hummingbird Ventures, which invests in technology businesses.
“It’s challenging if you have to think about capital gains before you buy a cup of coffee,” he said.