Skip to main content Skip to search


bitcoin cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency Guidance, Virtual Currency FAQs Released

Are you reporting your Cryptocurrency Transactions? IRS views Cryptocurrency as an Investment.


The IRS has released cryptocurrency guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency. Under the cryptocurrency guidance:

  • a taxpayer does not have gross income from a “hard fork” of the taxpayer’s cryptocurrency if the taxpayer does not receive units of a new cryptocurrency; and
  • a taxpayer has ordinary income as a result of an “airdrop” of a new cryptocurrency following a hard fork if the taxpayer receives units of the new cryptocurrency.

The IRS has posted the FAQs on its website ( ).

Virtual Currency and Cryptocurrency

Virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value other than a representation of the U.S. dollar or a foreign currency.

Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure transactions that are digitally recorded on a distributed ledger, such as a blockchain. Distributed ledger technology uses independent digital systems to record, share, and synchronize transactions, the details of which are recorded in multiple places at the same time with no central data store or administration functionality.

Hard Forks and Air Drops

A hard fork occurs when a cryptocurrency on a distributed ledger undergoes a protocol change resulting in a permanent diversion from the legacy or existing distributed ledger. A hard fork may result in the creation of a new cryptocurrency on a new distributed ledger in addition to the legacy cryptocurrency on the legacy distributed ledger. Following a hard fork, transactions involving the new cryptocurrency are recorded on the new distributed ledger, and transactions involving the legacy cryptocurrency continue to be recorded on the legacy distributed ledger.

An airdrop is a means of distributing units of a cryptocurrency to the distributed ledger addresses of multiple taxpayers. A hard fork followed by an airdrop results in the distribution of units of the new cryptocurrency to addresses containing the legacy cryptocurrency. Note, however, that a hard fork is not always followed by an airdrop.

Cryptocurrency from an airdrop generally is received on the date and at the time it is recorded on the distributed ledger. However, a taxpayer may constructively receive cryptocurrency prior to the airdrop being recorded on the distributed ledger. A taxpayer does not have receipt of cryptocurrency when the airdrop is recorded on the distributed ledger if the taxpayer is not able to exercise dominion and control over the cryptocurrency.

Gross Income

If the taxpayer did not receive units of new cryptocurrency from a hard fork, the taxpayer does not have an accession to wealth and does not have gross income as a result of the hard fork.

If the taxpayer receives units of new cryptocurrency from an airdrop following a hard fork, the taxpayer received a new asset. Therefore, the taxpayer has an accession to wealth and has ordinary income in the year in which the taxpayer receives the new cryptocurrency. The taxpayer includes in gross income the fair market value of the cryptocurrency received. The taxpayer’s basis in the new cryptocurrency is the amount of income recognized.

Schedule 1, Form 1040 for 2019

A draft of the 2019 Form 1040, Schedule 1, “Additional Income and Adjustments to Income,” includes a question which asks: “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” If an individual has engaged in any virtual currency transaction in 2019, he or she must check the “Yes” box next to the question.

If the taxpayer has disposed of any virtual currency that was held as a capital asset, he or she must use Form 8949 to figure the capital gain or loss and report it on Schedule D (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR). If the taxpayer has received any virtual currency as compensation for services, or disposed of any virtual currency that he or she held for sale to customers in a trade or business, the taxpayer must report the income as he or she would report other income of the same type.

Read more
Calculator with the word tax written in wooden block letters

Individual Taxation Hot Topic – Hopes for Year-End Tax Extenders Package Appear Dwindling

30 key tax deductions are set to expire unless congress acts to pass the Tax Extender Bill. Deductions like Mortgage Insurance Premiums, Qualified College Tuition, Lower Medical Expense Floor and some Renewable Energy Credits are set to expire.


Hopes for a year-end tax extenders package appear to be dwindling on Capitol Hill.


Tax Extenders Need a Legislative Vehicle

Over 30 expired or soon-to-be expired tax breaks known as tax extenders were originally considered a top contender for hitching a ride on a larger, must-pass government funding bill. Considering the lack of time left on the legislative calendar this year, a stand-alone tax bill has been considered an unlikely initiative. Thus, a must-pass appropriations bill was seen by several lawmakers as the likely legislative vehicle for tax extenders and other tax items such as technical corrections to Republicans’ 2017 tax reform law.

However, a spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confirmed to Wolters Kluwer on October 28 that Grassley believes there is “no hope” for action this year on a tax extenders package if lawmakers do not move quickly with respect to its legislative driver. Many within the practitioner community following these developments have said that the chances of providing taxpayers with certain tax breaks retroactively significantly decrease if Congress moves into next year leaving them expired.

Another Stopgap Spending Bill Appears Likely

Currently, the federal government is operating on a stopgap spending bill temporarily extending fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding levels through November 21. Previously, several lawmakers, in particular Grassley, had hoped that a tax extenders package would be attached to a larger, more comprehensive appropriations bill next month. However, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters that another short-term stopgap spending bill is the more likely option to keep the government open after November 21. “Unless a miracle happens around here with the House and Senate, we will have to put forth another [continuing resolution] CR,” Shelby told reporters.

Notably, another short-term government funding bill is considered unlikely to have any policy riders. Generally, stop gap spending bills are usually considered “clean,” for the most part. Also playing a role in tax extenders’ fate is whether President Trump would sign a more comprehensive appropriations bill. At this time, his support for a larger FY 2020 funding bill, apart from tax policy reasons, remains unclear.

Read more
judge hammer and legislation book PQTRCVN

Trump Signs Legislation Expanding Religious Exemption for ACA Individual Mandate

Tax-Related Portion of the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, Enrolled, as Signed by the President on October 24, 2018, P.L. 115-271

President Donald Trump has signed bipartisan legislation, which expands a religious exemption for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ( P.L. 111-148) individual mandate. The exemption is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2018.

Religious Exemption

SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act ( HR 6) amends Code Sec. 5000A(d)(2)(a) to expand the religious conscience exemption for the ACA individual mandate. Individual taxpayers who rely solely on a religious method of healing for whom the acceptance of medical health services would be inconsistent with their religious beliefs are exempt from the ACA mandate to maintain health insurance or pay a penalty.

Tax Reform

Additionally, last year’s tax reform legislation essentially repeals the ACA’s individual mandate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) repeals the ACA’s shared responsibility payment for individuals failing to maintain minimum essential coverage effective January 1, 2019.

Read more
politics of white house and president of usa GTADXUS

GOP to Move Tax Bills During Lame-Duck Session

Congressional Republicans are looking to move forward with certain legislative tax efforts during Congress’s lame-duck session. The House’s top tax writer, who will hand the reins to Democrats next year, has reportedly outlined several tax measures that will be a priority when lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., during the week of November 12. However, President Donald Trump’s recently touted 10-percent middle-income tax cut does not appear to be one of them.

Democrats Take the House

Republicans will lose their one-party rule in Washington, D.C. in the 116th Congress beginning in January 2019. As a result of the November 6 midterm elections, Democrats will control the House during the next Congress, and Republicans will retain control of the Senate.

Currently, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Tex., serves as chairman of the House’s tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Republicans’ majority in both chambers of Congress enabled the GOP, in coordination with the Trump administration, to enact tax reform legislation last year. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) reportedly did not turn out to be as popular as they had hoped. The TCJA’s unpopularity is at least in part why Republicans lost vital seats in the House, according to several reports.


Before the turnover of power, however, Brady is reportedly gearing up to introduce a tax extenders measure during the lame-duck session, which would extend certain temporary or expired tax breaks. Generally, Democrats have been supportive of year-end tax extender legislation. At this time, the details of the tax-extender proposal remain unclear.

Additionally, Brady reportedly said on November 7 that a TCJA technical corrections bill with “minor changes” will move in the lame-duck session. Further, the Senate is expected to take up a House-approved retirement savings measure that is part of House Republicans’ “Tax Reform 2.0” efforts.

Looking Forward

House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass., is expected to chair the committee in the 116th Congress. Neal has a fairly moderate tax-legislative record, and is considered on Capitol Hill to be “business-friendly.” To that end, Neal has recently sponsored several retirement savings measures, which would enhance employer workplace savings accounts. Additionally, infrastructure and tax-related health care initiatives are expected to be a priority among House Democrats.

GOP Retains Senate

Republicans will continue to lead the Senate in the 116th Congress. While the GOP Senate majority may not be enough to approve additional GOP tax legislation, it is likely to prevent Democrats from repealing parts of the TCJA. However, it is expected on Capitol Hill that hearings will be held in both chambers’ tax writing committees to examine various provisions of the new tax law. Although a divided Congress can result in fewer tax bills being approved, successful legislation will likely be bipartisan.

Read more
Home budget calculation, man working financial figures. Salary, expenses, taxes and expenditure. Retro toned image with selective focus.

Democratic Senators Introduce Retirement Savings Bill to Restore Obama-Era MyRA Program

The Senate Finance Committee’s (SFC) top ranking Democrat has introduced a bill to restore a retirement savings program known as myRA that was terminated by Treasury last year. The myRA program was created by former President Obama through an Executive Order.

Retirement Savings

“Cost-of-living is soaring with working families having less and less to save for their futures,” SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a November 15 tweet. “Today, I’m introducing a bill to address this retirement crisis.”

The Encouraging Americans to Save Bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo. An earlier version of the bill, Sen. 2492, was introduced by Wyden in the 114th Congress that also aimed to expand the myRA program.

“The Encouraging Americans to Save [Bill] enhances retirement savings incentives by restructuring the existing, nonrefundable saver’s credit into a refundable, government matching contribution of up to $500 a year for middle-class workers who save through 401(k) type plans or IRAs, “Wyden’s November 15 press release noted. Additionally, the bill would restore the myRA program, which Treasury determined last year was too costly to continue.

myRA Program

The Obama-era myRA program was designed as a government-sponsored retirement savings program available to individuals without access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Although the program was determined to have very little demand to warrant its high operating costs, Democrats attributed the low sign-up to the program still being in its infancy. However, Republicans criticized the program as an “executive overreach” that could not become successful based on its investments in little interest yielding Treasury bonds and posed certain risks to taxpayers and employees.


House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass., along with Wyden, sent a letter last year to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging Treasury to continue the myRA program. Neal is expected to become chairman of the House’s tax writing committee this coming January in the 116th Congress.

However, considering the Trump administration ended the program, it is seen as unlikely on Capitol Hill that Trump would support legislation to restore it. Moreover, Republicans will retain their majority-hold of the Senate in the next Congress, thus further limiting its chances of success.

Read more