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NoticeThe moderators of this subreddit have been removing posts regarding cryptocurreny and taxes, and directing people to this page. If you were directed to this page but your question is not answered by information on this page feel free to message the mods, or make a post where in the body of the post you link to this page (to show you've considered the information on this page).
This page was thrown together in order to provide answers to those who ask HOWEVER is not expected to be a high quality, definitive resource on the subject matter. This wiki page is of similar quality to the comment responses you would have got on your thread - but it's certainly not perfect. It is helpful in that it links to real resources from the CRA on cryptocurrency and taxation whereas your thread likely would have contained uncited incomplete responses If you find any issues or errors with this page, let us know.
Can I trade cryptocurrency in my TFSA and RRSP?https://np.reddit.com/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/7intdh/is_there_a_way_to_trade_bitcoin_in_tfsa_other_tax/
There is currently no good way to hold cryptocurrency in a registered account such as a TFSA or an RRSP. You can't roll your own TFSA using paperwork with your accountant! However, there are always innovative companies trying to fix this problem. Here is a recent article about that: http://business.financialpost.com/technology/big-changes-coming-as-bitcoin-futures-trading-etfs-launch. It remains to be seen if this is successful.From brazeau
Indirectly through an ETF like GBTCHowever, from per PoliticalDissidents GTBC is currently only traded on the OTC markets which is not TFSA eligible, and therefore you cannot hold GTBC. If an ETF were, in the future, traded on the TSX this would change. ETN shares, COINXBT, as noted below, are traded on a designated exchange and therefore actually works IF you can get access to those markets. See his comment here: https://np.reddit.com/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/7kfhiz/cryptocurrentcy_taxes/dst11fl/?context=3
Yes, buy the ETN shares "COINXBT" in your TFSA/RRSP. I hold COINXBT in both accounts and purchased them through National Bank Direct Brokerage.Editors comments as well Be wary of some of the ETF's out there. Unlike typical ETF's these are not mature, rather new, and liquidity is not well assured. It is important to have liquidity!
How are Bitcoin/cryptocurrency taxed?See this CRA page: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/newsroom/fact-sheets/fact-sheets-2013/what-you-should-know-about-digital-currency.html
Digital currency can also be bought or sold like a commodity. Any resulting gains or losses could be taxable income or capital for the taxpayer. Paragraphs 9 to 32 of Interpretation Bulletin IT-479R, Transactions in Securities, provide information that can help in determining whether transactions are income or capital in nature.Generally, buy and hold would be considered capital - similar to investors who buy and hold stock and report capital gains. It could also be considered business income where the activity is considered to be similar running a business. High volume traders, those who hold a particular crypto for only a very small period of time, etc. might need to consider if their activities appear to constitute a business. Again, see IT-479R for information about whether it is income or capital in nature. I have cut out the most relevant paragraph below:
Specifically, this paragraph:
(a) frequency of transactions - a history of extensive buying and selling of securities or of a quick turnover of properties,
- Some of the factors to be considered in ascertaining whether the taxpayer's course of conduct indicates the carrying on of a business are as follows:
(b) period of ownership - securities are usually owned only for a short period of time,
(c) knowledge of securities markets - the taxpayer has some knowledge of or experience in the securities markets,
(d) security transactions form a part of a taxpayer's ordinary business,
(e) time spent - a substantial part of the taxpayer's time is spent studying the securities markets and investigating potential purchases,
(f) financing - security purchases are financed primarily on margin or by some other form of debt,
(g) advertising - the taxpayer has advertised or otherwise made it known that he is willing to purchase securities, and
(h) in the case of shares, their nature - normally speculative in nature or of a non-dividend type.
Generally speaking a "buy and hold" crypto investor will be reporting capital gains. Generally speaking a high volume trader who moves between cryptos and cash frequently, and spends a lot of their time doing this and researching this MAY need to consider reporting their gains as business income.
This thread details a good handful of information about how reporting capital gains works: https://np.reddit.com/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/7jxczs/how_is_cryptocurrency_taxed_in_canada/
Capital gains tax is 50% of your normal tax rate. So capital sales of cryptocurrency enjoy a preferential tax treatment.
What if I didn't cash out my cryptocurrency to cash? What if I used it to buy stuff? What if I used it to buy other cryptos? What if I used it to buy stuff, then bought more Bitcoin later?When you buy a cryptocurrency your cost basis is considered to be the fair market value you bought it for. For example if you used $100 cash and there was a fee of $10, then the cost basis was $110. The cost base is subtracted from the sale price to come up with your gain. If you sell your crypto that you bought for $110 total for $200, then you have a reportable capital gain of $90, which would be included as income at 50% (the "inclusion rate") of that - so you'd have income added to your return of $45.
However, if you sold an item or service for a cryptocurrency then the most reasonable basis would be saying that you provided the services/goods at a rate similar to that which the same cryptocurrency was being traded in the market. You would also need to consider the taxation of the services/goods sold (which would likely be business income). For example, you provide services and charge 1 Bitcoin for it. Bitcoin are currently selling for $15,000 at the time. Therefore the Bitcoin you received has a cost base of $15,000, and you also have $15,000 of business income to report (for the services provided).
If you use your cryptocurrency to buy goods, then again you need to consider it similar to if you disposed the cryptocurrency for cash, and then used the cash to buy the good. You need to report the gains on the cryptocurrency "sale". For example, you buy goods using cryptocurrency valued at $200 in the marketplace at that time, using Bitcoin you bought for $110. Similar to the first example you have a reportable capital gain of $90.
If you use your crypocurrency to buy other cryptocurrency then, again, you need to report it as if you sold the original cryptocurrency for cash, then used the cash to buy the new cryptocurrency. You would have gains on the original cryptocurrency, then a new cost basis for the new cryptocurrency. For example you buy CAD$110 of Bitcoin, it rises to CAD$200, and then you buy CAD$200 worth of Ethereum using the Bitcoin (never converting to cash). You would report $90 capital gain/income on the Bitcoin, and then you would consider the Ethereum to have been bought for $200 when you eventually do sell it/use it.
If you buy more cryptos at any point you just add the cost of those to the cost of the other cryptos you already have. They are considered to be in the same "pool" so you can't assert your sold your most recent/a specific coin when you transact. You transact from the average cost of the pool.
This page from the CRA details these kind of transactions (barter transactions): https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/it490/archived-barter-transactions.html
This page is from Taxtips.ca that is dedicated to Cryptocurrency and taxation: http://www.taxtips.ca/personaltax/barter.htm
Why report Bitcoin/cryptocurrency gains?1) It's easy. Any accountant should be able to handle this, and getting a handle yourself on capital gains/business income taxation is not super challenging.
2) The CRA is going nuts about this lately. The CRA loves to watch something for a while, plan an approach, and then a few years later audit the living hell out of anyone according to some sort of scope. Just because you haven't been caught yet doesn't mean it's out of scope. See the PayPal order where suddenly people who filed with no issue from 2014 to late 2017 thought they were fine, and then now they all need to panic and adjust their misfiled returns: https://www.paypal.com/ca/selfhelp/article/cra-information-request-faq3755
The same thing could happen on a larger scale for, say, any person who has sent money to certain exchanges or received money from them, or has a username at a certain exchange that receives a similar order. These people could be scoped in for a full audit if they have no Bitcoin/cryptocurrency income reported.
3) Penalties and interest are harsh. Failure to report income will result in penalties over 10% of the amount failed to be reported, plus interest. Don't wipe out your cryptocurrency gains with massive penalties. Furthermore you'll be at a higher risk of audit for life.
If you already reported your tax return but forgot about cryptocurrency it's not too late! So long as the CRA has not already chosen you for audit or found your mistake you can file a Voluntary Disclosure to report the income and avoid penalties!
T1135 and "Specified Foreign Property"Canadian taxpayers that hold cryptocurrency directly or through funds should consider their filing obligations under the foreign reporting rules in section 233.3 of the ITA where such cryptocurrency is situated, deposited or held outside of Canada. The CRA considers that cryptocurrency is funds or intangible property and therefore, “specified foreign property”. Further the CRA is of the view that the interest in a foreign partnership which in turn invests in cryptocurrency (to the extent the partnership is not a “specified Canadian entity”) would also be “specified foreign property”.https://gowlingwlg.com/en/canada/insights-resources/canadian-taxation-of-cryptocurrency-so-far
Therefore, where the cost amount of such cryptocurrency exceeds CDN$100,000 at any time in the year and the cryptocurrency is not used or held exclusively in the course of carrying on an active business, the taxpayer must file form T1135 to report the property. These reporting obligations must be carefully considered given the CRA’s automatic application of the late filing penalty in subsection 162(7) of $2,500 (after 100 days) and the six-year normal reassessment period under paragraph 152(4)(b.2) of the ITA.
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