Choosing the Best Crypto Accountant/CPA: An In-Depth Guide
Posted On May 26, 2023
As with anything, choosing the best crypto accountant/CPA really boils down to your specific needs and budget. However, there are some key factors to consider, like whether your accountant has first-hand experience with crypto, whether they can use tax tools, their past track record, etc., to help you narrow your search.
Taxes are complicated and sometimes frustrating, especially if you trade or invest in crypto. Hence, delegating this task to a crypto accountant or CPA makes complete sense. However, it’s important that you hire a tax professional with the correct expertise, skillsets and experience. The last thing you want is an audit because your accountant made a mistake.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from when you need a crypto accountant, when you don’t, how to look for the best and where to find them.
When to Hire a Crypto Accountant/CPA?
Before we talk about choosing the best crypto accountant/CPA, let’s talk about the necessity of one. Do you really need them? If yes, then when?
While it’s never a bad idea to hire a crypto accountant or CPA if you can afford to, you don’t always necessarily need them.
For instance, if you’re more of a passive investor dabbling around Bitcoin and maybe Ethereum too sometimes, uses only one exchange, one wallet, and doesn’t have many crypto transactions, you can easily manage taxes on your own. At most, you can use a crypto tax tool, like Bitcoin.Tax for more convenience and efficiency.
However, there are particular scenarios where not hiring a crypto accountant can cost you more than paying for one. Let’s take a look at some of those.
You Make DeFi Transactions
DeFi transactions include borrowing/lending crypto, liquidity pools, yield farming, staking crypto, etc. Unfortunately, most tax authorities, like the IRS and CRA, haven’t released dedicated guidelines for taxation around DeFi transactions.
The best we have is an existing framework for how crypto is taxed. Hence, navigating the tax implications for DeFi transactions gets really tricky, really fast.
To illustrate how messy it can get, consider this –
When you add funds to a liquidity pool, you’ll receive a token, representing a share of the pool’s total value locked (TLV). So, while you still technically own the funds you contributed in the pool, the IRS, or the tax authority in your country, may see this as a disposal event. Therefore, a taxable event.
And this is only one example. Add the complexity of yield farming and complicated fee structure on top, and it quickly becomes apparent why you need a crypto accountant or CPA when dealing with DeFi transactions.
You Have Useless Cryptocurrencies/NFTs that Once Had Value
If you have useless crypto assets or NFTs that once had value, a crypto accountant or CPA can help you use them to reduce your tax bill. Moreover, they can provide clarity on what to expect from these useless cryptocurrencies or NFTs.
For example, there was a lot of confusion around the tax implications of the Terra crash and if we can claim casualty losses.
While the short answer is no (here’s why), there are a lot of similar scenarios, such as rug pulls, pump and dump schemes and failed projects, where you could use some professional help to gain some clarity, make the best move, mitigate losses and move on.
You Had Funds in a Bankrupt Crypto Exchange
When we talk about bankrupt crypto exchanges, the first thing that comes to mind is the FTX scandal. While it’s certainly made the most noise and headlines, crypto exchanges and financial institutions go bankrupt more often than you might think.
Besides FTX, crypto firms that filed for bankruptcy in 2022 include BlockFi, Voyager Digital, Celsius Network and more.
When a platform goes bankrupt, users are left with locked funds that they can’t access, use or sell. The fate of your assets will vary based on multiple factors, like, the country you live in, the country the company filed for bankruptcy, and ultimately, the court order. Plus, if there is an ongoing lawsuit against the company, like in the case of FTX, things will only get more complicated and delayed.
Having a crypto accountant or CPA working with you in such times is crucial. They can help you navigate the complexities of bankruptcy, its legal and tax implications and the different options you have to lessen your losses.
You Had Funds in a Crypto Exchange that Got Hacked
In 2022, we witnessed some of the biggest hacks in crypto history, especially a bunch of hacks in the DeFi space. An estimated $3.8 billion worth of crypto was stolen, making 2022 the biggest year ever for crypto hacks.
While you can’t claim losses for stolen crypto in the US, in some countries, you can. But the catch is it’s overly complicated and time-consuming.
Hiring a crypto accountant or CPA can be tremendously helpful in this situation, as they can do all the work on your behalf and help you claim your losses.
You’re a High Net-Worth Individual
If you’re a high net-worth individual, you would want to deploy every strategy at your disposal to pay as less taxes as you can. Doing this on your own can be time-consuming, time that you could spend doing more productive things.
There are also a bunch of other reasons you should hire a crypto accountant or CPA to do your taxes. For instance, the stakes are higher for you. Plus, investing in a good, ideally the best crypto accountant/CPA since you’re a high net-worth individual, can help you save 10x more than you pay.
You’re Being Audited
If you’re being audited, it’s probably a good sign that you should’ve hired a crypto accountant or CPA. To not make the same mistake twice, hire one immediately.
Many tax authorities, like the IRS, CRA or ATO, are doubling down their resources to track crypto investors dodging their taxes. And crypto audits are one of their key strategies to do that.
So, if you’re being audited, it’s better not to take any chances since the stakes are already high and hire a professional that can guide you and provide the best probability of getting out of it without having to pay hefty fines or penalties.
Choosing the Best Crypto Accountant/CPA for your Needs
The best crypto accountant/CPA will differ from person to person. First, you need to identify what you really need help with and for how long, based on your current situation.
We discussed some scenarios above where you might need assistance with your crypto taxes, but to what extent you need them might vary.
For instance, if you’re hiring a crypto accountant because you’re being audited, it’s probably only a one-time job, and you would need someone with a very specialized skill set.
On the other hand, if you’re a high net-worth individual, you may want to hire a crypto CPA on a full-time basis, in which case, you would look for more of a jack of all trades. Someone who can handle and file your taxes while at the same time can also advise you on reducing your tax liability.
You can learn more about the different services provided by different tax professionals here.
Ultimately, it all boils down to your needs and budget. Once you figure that out, you can then move on to the following five fundamental factors that help you choose the best crypto accountant/CPA.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Crypto Accountant/CPA
1. First-Hand Experience with Crypto Investing or Trading
Would you rather learn swimming from someone who just read books about swimming but never actually dove into the water or learn from someone who’s in the water every day?
The best crypto accountants and CPAs are the ones who actively invest or trade in crypto themselves. They know all the nuances, complexities and nitty-gritty of different crypto transactions. If not, at least they are aware of it.
Hence, having first-hand experience matters when choosing the best crypto accountant/CPA.
2. Experience with Other Crypto Clients
As we just established, experience matters. That is why you must find crypto accountants and CPAs who specialize with crypto clients or, at the very least, have a proven track record of working with crypto clients in the past.
This is especially important when the stakes are high and the complexity of your crypto transactions is too. For example, imagine you made a lot of DeFi transactions, and now you’re being audited.
So, hire an accountant with the necessary expertise to handle your crypto taxes and the experience to back them up.
3. Strong Understanding of Different Crypto Transactions and their Nuances
We have comprehensive crypto tax guides for different countries. Anyone can read them and learn the basics. As a crypto CPA, knowing the basics isn’t enough.
The best crypto accountants and CPAs would have a robust understanding of different cryptocurrencies and crypto transactions with all their nuances and tax implications. They should also be fast and up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of crypto taxes and regulations.
4. Tech Savvy
Before hiring a crypto accountant or CPA, ask them if they know how to use and operate different crypto tax tools, like Bitcoin.Tax. It can help your accountant accurately calculate your crypto gains and losses, as well as identify any tax liabilities you may have.
While an ordinary accountant will generally be slower, inefficient and more prone to making errors and mistakes, a tech-savvy crypto accountant can complete tasks faster and more efficiently, allowing them to focus on other areas of your taxes that may require more attention.
Overall, Bitcoin.Tax, or any other crypto tax calculator, can be a powerful tool in your accountant’s arsenal, and your accountant should know how to use it.
5. Reliable Work History
The last and final part of choosing the best crypto accountant/CPA is to make sure your accountant is competent at their job.
But how do you find that out?
Look into their past work history. Look for experience, case studies and testimonials. Do they have a good reputation? What credibility do they have? Are they reliable? Can you trust them? Did they make any major errors in the past?
Basically, are they good at being an accountant?
Where Can You Find the Best Crypto Accountant/CPA?
There are mainly two ways to find the best crypto accountant/CPA, and both have their pros and cons:
1. You can find one locally in your hometown or city. The upside to this is you can easily verify the credibility of their business and expertise. However, the downside is you’ll have very limited options.
2. You can find one online. The obvious upside to this is the abundance of options, but it’s relatively difficult to verify their credibility online, especially considering how easy it is to fake it.
There is, however, a third option – our directory of best crypto CPAs. You can choose from hundreds of accountants, CPAs and tax professionals.
Plus, this directory isn’t limited to the US and Canada. It includes CPAs providing global services. So, no matter where you’re from, you can find a credible and reliable crypto CPA for your needs.
In conclusion, know when you really need a tax professional, at what capacity and the indicators of a competent accountant or CPA. And that’s it.
Hopefully, you learned everything there is to choose the best crypto accountant/CPA for your taxes. Now, it’s your job to start your search, either locally or online, or through our directory of CPAs and apply this information to find the best one, given your circumstances.
Q: When do I need to hire a crypto accountant or CPA?
Ans: Hiring a crypto accountant or CPA can be helpful if you make DeFi transactions, have useless cryptocurrencies/NFTs that once had value, had funds in a bankrupt crypto exchange, had funds in a crypto exchange that got hacked, if you are a high net-worth individual or if you’re being audited.
Q: What should I consider when choosing a crypto accountant or CPA?
Ans: When choosing a crypto accountant or CPA, consider whether they have first-hand experience with crypto or experience with crypto clients, whether they can use tax tools like Bitcoin.Tax, their past track record and their fees.
Q: When should I not hire a crypto accountant or CPA?
Ans: If you’re a passive investor dabbling around cryptocurrencies, use only one exchange, one wallet, and have less than a hundred crypto transactions a year, you can easily manage your own taxes using a crypto tax tool like Bitcoin.Tax.