IRS Says It Will ‘Soon’ Issue Crypto Tax Guidance in First Since 2014

The Internal Revenue Service is working on its first tax guidance for cryptocurrency since 2014, the agency's commissioner told a lawmaker Monday.

May 20, 2019 at 8:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:13 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is working on its first tax guidance for cryptocurrency since 2014, the agency's commissioner told a lawmaker Monday.

In a reply to Rep. Tom Emmer's request for further guidance on reporting cryptocurrencies, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig outlined a non-specific plan to release in-depth guidance in the near future.

"I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance," Rettig wrote.

The IRS is working on guidance for "acceptable methods for calculating cost basis, acceptable methods of cost basis assignment, and the tax treatment of forks" according to the letter.

Guidance on these and other issues will be published "soon," Rettig wrote.

"I am glad to hear of the IRS' plans to issue guidance on this important issue," Rep. Emmer said in a statement after receiving Rettig's reply. "Taxpayers deserve clarity on several basic questions regarding federal taxation of these emerging exchanges of value. I look forward to seeing their forthcoming proposal, and working together to serve the American taxpayers."

Rep. Emmer is part of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a group of lawmakers that aims, among other goals, to solidify the reporting requirements and legal requirements associated with cryptocurrencies.

His original request called for the IRS to “issue more robust guidance clarifying taxpayers’ obligations when using virtual currencies” with a deadline of May 15, 2019.

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