CPA Trade Association Pushes IRS for Bitcoin Tax Guidance

The AICPA has submitted comments to the IRS that seek to encourage the US tax agency to provide clarity on bitcoin and digital currency treatment.

Jun 15, 2016 at 2:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:19 p.m. UTC

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has submitted comments to the IRS that seek to encourage the US tax agency to provide additional clarity as to how bitcoin and digital currency users should report their handling of the technology for tax purposes.

The comment, submitted on 10th June 2016, asserts that the lack of specificity in the tax treatment of virtual currency has become a "concern" for tax professionals, and details 10 areas where the 400,000-member organization believes improvements can be made to the original guidance.

The comments come more than two years after the IRS issued a notice indicating that it would tax digital currencies as property, meaning that users had to report profits and losses, even when using the technology for everyday payments.

In multiple sections, the lack of clarity as to how the everyday use of digital currency is meant to be accounted for was the main subject of focus.

Lewis wrote:

"Taxpayers are required to specifically identify which virtual currency lot was used for each transaction in order to properly determine the gain or loss for that particular transaction. In many cases, it is impossible for a taxpayer to track which specific virtual currency was used for a particular transaction."

Further questions sought further detail on how digital currency users should assess the fair market value of digital currency at the time of sale, and whether they are supposed to use one exchange, or an average between exchanges, in their calculations.

Elsewhere, Lewis said that additional clarity was needed for how digital currency held by merchants should be considered, and whether charitable donations with the technology would need to abide by traditional rules of property appraisal.

The AICPA also sought to ask for clarity on whether digital currencies could be held in retirement accounts and how foreign reporting should be assessed given that the currency has no precise location.

Calculator image via Shutterstock

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