Can Cryptocurrency Investors Who Lost Money in 2022 Take Advantage of a Key Tax Loophole?

Matt Carroll St. Louis Cardinals

January 31, 2023

Cryptocurrency Investors

The crypto market is in a major crash. Many cryptocurrency Investors have lost a ton of money, including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. But the good news is that a key tax loophole allows crypto investors to exploit short-term capital losses, which could help them get out of losses quickly. But the opportunity for this may be ending soon.

Wash-Sale Rule-Cryptocurrency Investors

As the crypto market continues to crash, many investors have suffered significant losses this year. However, some investors may be able to use a key tax loophole to offset those losses.

Investors who sell securities at a loss and buy the same securities within 30 days can claim an artificial loss on their taxes. This is called a wash sale.

The IRS defines a wash sale as an investment that has lost value and is bought back within 30 days. This practice is discouraged because it can result in an artificial loss and unfair tax benefits.

The Wash-Sale Rule does not currently apply to crypto assets because they are not securities. However, legislation that would extend the rule to cryptocurrencies is in limbo. If the legislation does pass, it could open a window of opportunity for crypto investors who have lost money in 2022.

Capital Gains Tax-Cryptocurrency Investors

When you sell a capital asset-like stocks, real estate, or crypto-you pay taxes on the amount of gain you realize. These gains are subject to several tax rates depending on the duration you held the assets.

If you receive crypto through airdrops or chain splits, the IRS treats the additional tokens as taxable income in the year they are received. As a result, you will report the fair market value of the coins at the time of claim.

Unrealized Losses

Unrealized losses are an entirely normal part of investing. There will be days, weeks, or even months when your investments decrease in value.

But if you are a crypto investor who lost money in 2022, there are certain things you can do to avoid the sting of taxes. One key tax loophole is to save your capital losses and carry them forward to offset future gains.

To make this strategy work, you’ll need to understand the difference between unrealized gains and realized losses. Realized gains happen when you dispose of your assets, such as selling them.

However, you can also earn unrealized gains without ever disposing of them. These are known as paper gains and are not subject to tax until you sell them and realize the gain.

This is the primary reason investors often hold on to stocks that have increased in value. They believe they will soon see a return on their investment and don’t want to pay the capital gains taxes on them immediately.

Tax-Loss Harvesting-Cryptocurrency Investors

Can crypto investors who lost money in 2022 take advantage of a key tax loophole? For now. In the United States, investors can offset up to $3,000 in capital losses against their ordinary income to reduce their taxes.

One way to maximize the benefit of this strategy is to sell assets at a loss as they drop in value or at the end of a tax year to lower your overall tax liability.

Crypto tax-loss harvesting can be an effective strategy for investors in the low-income tax bracket or who plan to retire soon. However, it is not for everyone.