Future of Crypto Taxes: Regulatory Trends and Challenges

As cryptocurrency becomes increasingly mainstream, governments and financial regulators are grappling with how to handle its tax implications. The future of crypto taxes relies on a variety of factors, such as the attitude of the regulators (quite skeptical right now), new innovations and international cooperation.

Most countries recognize the importance of building proper regulations and tax infrastructure around crypto to promote growth and innovations while at the same time ensuring the safety of investors. 

But challenges like crimes, the ever-evolving landscape of crypto and a lack of understanding about the technology among regulatory bodies can create some interesting detours in the development of crypto taxes. 

In the following article, we’ll discuss these different elements and factors and explore how they might interact with one another and their potential implications.  

Overview of Current Crypto Tax Laws Around the World

In most countries, including the US, Australia, Germany, and more, crypto is considered property (or something similar) for tax purposes. 

This means that every time you sell, swap, spend, or dispose of your crypto, you’re on the hook for capital gain taxes. Similarly, if you receive crypto as compensation for your products or services, you may owe income taxes.

While it may seem very straightforward, navigating the nuances of crypto taxation can be complex. From claiming losses to navigating DeFi taxes, there are a plethora of nuances and intricacies to consider. If you want to dive deeper on those subjects, we have crypto tax guides for virtually every country you can check out

While most countries follow a similar basic framework for crypto taxes, there are exceptions. India, Japan, Slovenia, and a few others have unique and unconventional tax laws for crypto transactions. 

The Current Regulatory Environment

Future of crypto taxes and regulations

Since crypto is a relatively new financial asset with constant innovations and breakthroughs, the regulatory landscape around them is also constantly evolving, posing a set of interesting challenges for the future of crypto taxes.

Due to the anonymous and decentralized nature of the technology, crypto transactions can be hard to trace and identify. In addition, the constant hacks, scams and scandals, like the most recent one – the FTX collapse, only ignite more doubt and fear in the minds of regulators. 

At present, crypto regulations and policies significantly vary across different countries. While some countries, like El Salvador or Switzerland, have embraced the technology, others, like India or China, have taken a more cautious approach. After all, crypto can pose a direct threat to establishments and the conventional financial system.

Hence, different countries have taken different steps to mitigate the risks of anonymity and decentralization. 

In Europe, the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) came into effect in 2020, requiring crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. 

Basically, centralized crypto exchanges, wallets and other financial service providers are obligated to verify customer identities, track transactions, report suspicious activities, and take several other measures to prevent illegal activities. 

In the US, the infrastructure bill obliges crypto “brokers” (any platform facilitating crypto transactions) to comply with stricter tax reporting requirements. 

Despite these measures, the doubt and fear coupled with a lack of understanding of the technology can create a very pessimistic view in the minds of regulators. This can lead to stricter and more stringent tax laws that don’t account for the complexities and intricacies of different crypto transactions. 

The Impact of Technological Innovations on the Future of Crypto Taxes

The rapidly evolving nature of the crypto space has brought about many technological innovations, such as decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These innovations and their growing adoption as alternative solutions to traditional banking could have profound implications for the future of crypto taxes.

DeFi, in particular, has experienced exponential growth in the last five years. As of April 2023, over $51.5 billion in total value has been locked in decentralized finance, almost a 500% increase from the estimated $9.1 billion in July 2020. 

However, DeFi transactions, like staking or liquidity pools, are more complex than your typical buy-and-sell transactions on centralized crypto exchanges. In most countries, if not all, tax guidelines around DeFi transactions still remain vague and unclear.

Similarly, NFTs also present a unique set of challenges. For instance, in the US, it’s still unclear whether NFTs are classified as property or collectibles and how to determine the fair market value of NFTs, which are essentially artwork. 

As the crypto market continues to grow and new technologies emerge, experts predict that crypto regulations and tax laws will continue to evolve, which requires regulators and tax authorities to keep up with the fast-paced technological advancements in the crypto space. 

But let’s be honest. Most regulatory bodies are lagging behind the curve. 

However, there are ways to address this issue. For example, tax laws and regulations may need to be updated frequently to reflect new developments. Tax authorities may also need to invest in more education and expertise to tax and regulate emerging technologies effectively.

It will be interesting to see how the future of crypto taxes unfolds with new innovations and adoptions.

International Coordination and Crypto Taxes

International coordination will play a significant role in the future of crypto taxes. Since the crypto market is a global phenomenon, it demands a coordinated approach from various countries and regulatory bodies. 

For instance, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that develops policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, correctly recognized the need for international cooperation for Global Crypto Norms

We also mentioned the AMLD by the European Union, which involves multiple countries associated with the EU, like Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc., to have a unified regulatory framework around crypto tax laws. 

A unified approach to tax regulations will establish a consistent tax treatment of cryptocurrencies across borders, making it easier for taxpayers to understand and comply with tax laws and for tax authorities to enforce them. It can also help identify and prevent illicit activities faster and more effectively.

Although it’s impossible to treat and tax crypto identically across all countries, mutual understanding and establishing basic regulatory principles and frameworks around crypto can provide a foundation for countries. But beyond that, every country should have the liberty to build upon it as they see fit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to report my cryptocurrency holdings on my tax return?

In most countries, you are required to report your crypto holdings on your tax return, even if you have not sold or exchanged any cryptocurrency during the tax year. However, different countries have different tax guidelines. Make sure you’re up-to-date and comply with the tax laws of your country. 

2. How can I avoid paying taxes on crypto? 

Legally, you can’t avoid paying crypto taxes since it’s a crime. Tax evasion has serious legal consequences from hefty penalties to potential imprisonment. However, there are tax-saving strategies within the confines of laws you can use to reduce your tax bill, such as gifting crypto, donating crypto or tax-loss harvesting

3. What are the penalties for failing to report cryptocurrency taxes?

The penalties for failing to report cryptocurrency taxes vary depending on the country and the severity of the violation. In some cases, you may be subject to fines, while in more severe cases, you may face criminal charges and imprisonment.

It’s crucial you report your crypto taxes timely and accurately. A crypto tax tool, like Bitcoin.Tax can help with streamlining your tax reporting process. 

4. What should I do if I have not been reporting my crypto taxes?

If you have not been reporting your crypto taxes, you must take action as soon as possible to minimize your potential liability. Many countries offer a grace period for reporting missed taxes without fines or penalties.

However, you may want to consider working with a tax professional who can help you to accurately report your cryptocurrency transactions and negotiate with tax authorities on your behalf.