Crypto Tax Reduction Strategies

Cryptocurrency Taxation Podcast Series

Cryptocurrency capital gains can be an extra source of income, however, these gains are taxed and those taxes can become costly for many crypto traders. In this episode, we speak with Drew Kernosky of Archer Tax Group, to discuss ways to mitigate these tax burdens including crypto-backed loans and qualified opportunity zones, which can defer gains until 2026.

Published: 03/29/2019
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Cryptocurrency capital gains can be an extra source of income, however these gains are taxed, and the taxes can become costly for many crypto traders. In this episode, we speak with Drew Kernosky of Archer Tax Group, to discuss ways to minimize these tax burdens using crypto-backed loans & qualified opportunity zones, which can give traders a way to defer gains until 2026.

Our guest, Drew Kernosky, has been in the tax industry for six years, and has been working in the crypto space since early 2017. [00:29]

Drew: I've been in taxes for probably six years now, in a variety of different capacities. I worked for one of those “if you owe $10,000 or more to the IRS, give us a call”. I’ve worked in cryptocurrency since the beginning parts of 2017.

I’ve used that expertise, and that backing in understanding the law and how the IRS goes after things from a procedural standpoint, to guide our clients to the best cases for them, but not to where they're taking an unnecessary risk. Our firm applies that knowledge to crypto.

Cryptocurrency income is taxable. There are ways to offset some of that income by utilizing deductions. [03:05]

Drew: When you receive a token, you would receive it as ordinary income. You'd subtract all of your expenses - and ideally, you'd have enough expenses that eat up all that gross revenue so that you've got no net profit, or at least an ordinary loss. The benefit to that is you're not going to pay any income tax on it then and also you've got a higher basis on your crypto. So whenever you sell your crypto for less than you acquired it for - whether that's by buying it, mining it or receiving it for services, you actually end up creating a capital loss.

For crypto miners, deducting your mining equipment isn’t always viable. [04:20]

Drew: If you are selling the mining equipment at a loss and create a capital loss because you were holding it as an asset, then yes, you can actually take that against your crypto gains. But as far as the actual mining losses - so let's say, you spent $10,000 to mine $6,000 worth of Bitcoin, you've technically got a an ordinary loss of $4,000. It's not going to directly offset the capital gain like a capital loss would. But when we run it through your actual return, we're going to reduce your overall income by the $4,000 that you've lost through the business.

Generally speaking, deductions are listed on Schedule C - and there are quite a few items in the crypto world that may qualify. [05:31]

Drew: If you've got the equipment, electricity, and everything else, you're going to want to put that in your Schedule C if you're an individual.

Maybe you've got a cell phone that you can depreciate the actual cell phone because you're paying the payment plan on it. Most people don't realize that they can take the full value of their cell phone if they're using it almost exclusively for business. Most crypto people I know were checking their phones every 30 seconds, checking market prices, maybe running some software through their phone to check their uptime on their miners, or security. That’s all deductible.

The more that we can find it to stack against the revenue, the better it will be for the actual minor because they'll generate a loss that isn't going to be capped like capital losses.

Crypto-backed loans are a great way to pull value out of your existing crypto, without triggering taxable events. [07:36]

Drew: The idea of being behind a crypto-backed loan is when you are using an asset to secure a loan and you're not liquidated in any way, kind of like a home loan, you're not going to get taxed on the value that you pull out of the equity. So if you're trying to really push for long term capital gains and you still want to trade the market, it's a really great way to pull the value out of your existing crypto without triggering any kind of taxable event - provided that you're not having an a liquidation event.

Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) may be the answer to many crypto-traders qualms about high capital gain taxation. [11:50]

Drew: QOZs are probably the greatest gift out of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. They're all over the country. The general idea is if you've got a capital gain that you reinvest within 180 days of the date of sale, into a QOZ, you can defer that capital gain until the end of 2026 - as you hold the investment in that zone. That investment can be either a building that you improved substantially or a business that operates primarily in that zone. There’s a couple of other caveats too.

QOZs give crypto traders and investors an opportunity to defer, and actually decrease, their capital gains. [14:20]

Drew: The other kicker too, after five years, they give you a decrease on the recognition of that gain. At year seven, they get an additional 5%. If they hold the asset for 10 years, the fair market value of that asset becomes the cost basis. It gives them that chance to exit with zero capital gains at year 10 year, 20 year 30 and I think year 40 as well. There's a lot of potential there.

These kind of tax-reduction strategies aren’t widely utilized now - but once word gets out, more and more investors will be taking advantage of them. Drew’s firm can help guide you through the process. [21:00]

Drew: We’ve got a “Contact Us” section on our website. We try not to charge for the first consult, and typically do a free 15 minute consultation. So if anyone wants to argue with me about like kind exchange, hit me up - I’ve got really good at that. We want everyone to walk away with something- there's so much that we can do for so many different types of traders.


If you enjoyed our podcast, be sure to check back frequently for more great discussions about a range of topics in the crypto space. If you have any questions for Drew Kernosky, he can be reached via his website, Archer Tax Group, or via Twitter @Archertaxgroup.