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Will the IRS Issue Cryptocurrency Tax Regulations in 2024?

Will the IRS Issue Cryptocurrency Tax Regulations in 2024?

By Kelly Hanley, Esq., Chicago Tax Attorney

Cryptocurrency has become a hotbed of complexity and uncertainty in tax law. As the digital currency landscape evolves, so does the IRS’s approach to regulating and taxing these novel assets.

The IRS recently decided to postpone the implementation of the $10,000 crypto transaction reporting rule until it can publish accompanying regulations. This blog post explores this development, offering clarity and insight into what the delay means for taxpayers and the broader crypto community.

1. The IRS’s Stance on Crypto Reporting

a. Background of Crypto Taxation

The story of cryptocurrency taxation in the United States is one of evolving regulatory perspectives and growing recognition of digital assets’ significance. Initially, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum operated largely outside the purview of mainstream financial regulation, thriving in a digital ecosystem that prized anonymity and decentralization. However, as these digital currencies gained in popularity and value, they inevitably attracted the attention of tax authorities, particularly the IRS.

The IRS’s first major step in addressing cryptocurrency taxation came in 2014 with the issuance of Notice 2014-21. This landmark guidance declared that for federal tax purposes, virtual currencies were to be treated as property, not currency. This meant that standard tax principles applicable to property transactions would also apply to transactions using virtual currency. The implications were significant: capital gains and losses had to be reported for crypto transactions, and mining activities were considered taxable events.

This treatment of cryptocurrencies as property set the stage for more detailed tax compliance requirements. Over the years, as the crypto market expanded and diversified, the IRS began to see the need for more robust reporting mechanisms. This was not just to ensure compliance but also to keep pace with the rapidly evolving nature of digital currencies and their use in a variety of financial transactions.

b. The Significance of the Delay in Reporting Regulations

In 2024, the IRS made a pivotal decision to delay the implementation of new cryptocurrency reporting regulations. This delay is significant for several reasons. First, it reflects the complexity and challenges inherent in regulating a technology that is not only new but also rapidly changing. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology present unique challenges in terms of valuation, transaction tracking, and identification of parties involved in transactions.

Second, the delay indicates the IRS’s recognition of the need for a balanced approach that considers the interests and capabilities of all stakeholders, including taxpayers, investors, and the crypto businesses themselves. Rushing into stringent regulations without thorough consideration could stifle innovation and lead to non-compliance due to complexity or misunderstanding.

Further, this pause provides an opportunity for the IRS to gather more input from industry experts, tax professionals, and the public. This collaborative approach can lead to more effective and practical regulatory frameworks that address the unique aspects of crypto transactions while ensuring compliance and fairness in taxation.

c. Potential Impacts on Taxpayers and Investors

The postponement of new crypto reporting rules has several potential impacts on taxpayers and investors. On one hand, it provides temporary relief from what might have been a hurried adaptation to new and possibly complex reporting requirements. Crypto investors and users have more time to understand and prepare for the upcoming changes, and this can lead to better compliance in the long run.

But this delay also extends the period of uncertainty in crypto taxation. Taxpayers and investors may be unsure about how to proceed with reporting their transactions, leading to inadvertent errors or non-compliance. There’s also the possibility that when the new regulations are eventually implemented, they might require retroactive reporting, which can be challenging if adequate records have not been maintained.

For long-term investors and participants in the crypto market, this delay presents a crucial period for strategic planning. It’s a time to get their records in order, seek guidance from tax professionals, and stay informed about potential changes in the regulatory landscape. The key is to be prepared for when the IRS eventually rolls out its new regulations, ensuring compliance and minimizing the risk of penalties or audits.

2. The $10,000 Reporting Rule and Its Suspension

a. Overview of the $10,000 Rule

One of the more anticipated and debated developments in cryptocurrency regulation was the introduction of the $10,000 reporting rule. This rule was akin to the already existing cash reporting requirement, which mandates that cash transactions over $10,000 must be reported to the IRS. The rationale behind this rule was straightforward: to combat tax evasion and money laundering activities often associated with large-scale transactions.

Under this proposed rule, transactions involving cryptocurrencies exceeding the $10,000 threshold would have required detailed reporting. This included not just the transaction amount but also the identification of the parties involved. The rule was poised to bring significant transparency to the world of digital currencies, a space often criticized for its opacity and potential for financial misconduct.

b. Implications of the Suspension for Crypto Transactions

The suspension of the $10,000 reporting rule, however, marked a significant pivot in the IRS’s approach to cryptocurrency oversight. This decision has broad implications for the crypto community and financial institutions alike. One immediate effect is the temporary relief it provides to crypto exchanges and users, who were gearing up for the stringent requirements of this new rule. The suspension alleviates the immediate burden of compliance that many feared would be both costly and technically challenging, especially in verifying identities and transaction details.

For individual taxpayers and investors in cryptocurrency, this suspension also eases the immediate pressure of reporting every substantial transaction. It provides a respite period to understand and prepare for eventual regulations without the immediate worry of non-compliance penalties for large transactions.

However, this suspension is not an indication of the IRS’s reduced interest in cryptocurrency oversight. It rather suggests a reevaluation of the approach, possibly to formulate a more nuanced and technologically feasible regulation that aligns with the unique nature of digital currencies.

c. How This Affects Compliance and Enforcement

The suspension of the $10,000 reporting rule has a dual impact on compliance and enforcement. On the one hand, it reduces the immediate compliance burden on taxpayers and financial institutions. This move may be perceived as the IRS taking a step back to reassess the best methods for effective enforcement in the rapidly changing crypto landscape. It provides an opportunity for the IRS to collaborate with industry experts and stakeholders to develop a more practical and effective approach to monitoring large cryptocurrency transactions.

On the other hand, the absence of this rule leaves a gap in the IRS’s ability to track and regulate high-value transactions. This could potentially lead to challenges in identifying and addressing tax evasion or other illegal activities typically associated with large, unreported financial transfers. The IRS will need to rely on existing regulations and reporting mechanisms while it works on introducing a more refined rule.

In the interim, taxpayers and crypto businesses should maintain diligent records of their transactions. The suspension does not eliminate the possibility of retroactive enforcement once new regulations are established. Staying informed and prepared remains crucial for compliance, as the landscape of cryptocurrency taxation continues to evolve.

3. What This Means for Taxpayers and Crypto Users

a. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Impacts

The IRS’s recent decisions regarding cryptocurrency reporting have both immediate and far-reaching implications for taxpayers and crypto users. In the short term, the delay in implementing new reporting regulations and the suspension of the $10,000 reporting rule offer a reprieve. This interim period is a valuable time for taxpayers to become more familiar with the nuances of cryptocurrency taxation without the pressure of immediate compliance with new rules. It’s a chance to understand the current tax obligations under existing laws and to prepare for future changes.

In the long term, however, the landscape is likely to shift. The eventual introduction of new regulations will require taxpayers to adapt to potentially more stringent reporting requirements. This could include detailed tracking and disclosure of transactions, as well as a deeper understanding of how different types of crypto activities – like trading, staking, or mining – are taxed. The key takeaway for long-term planning is to anticipate more involvement from tax authorities in crypto transactions and to be ready to comply with more comprehensive reporting standards.

b. Strategies for Compliance and Record Keeping

A fundamental strategy for compliance is maintaining meticulous records of all cryptocurrency transactions. This includes dates, values, and the nature of each transaction. Taxpayers should also keep track of the fair market value of the crypto at the time of each transaction, as this is crucial for calculating capital gains or losses.

Using specialized software or apps designed for tracking crypto transactions can be highly beneficial. These tools can automate the process of recording transactions and calculating gains and losses, which is particularly useful given the volatility and complexity of the crypto market.

Another strategy is staying informed about tax law changes. Taxpayers should regularly consult reliable sources, including IRS publications and guidance, to stay updated on the latest tax regulations affecting cryptocurrency. Consulting with tax professionals who specialize in cryptocurrency can also provide valuable insights and help in structuring transactions in a tax-efficient manner.

c. Expert Opinions and Predictions for Future Regulations

Tax experts and industry analysts have varied opinions on what the future holds for cryptocurrency taxation. Many anticipate that as the market matures and cryptocurrencies become more integrated into the financial system, the IRS and other tax authorities worldwide will develop more refined and clear-cut regulations. These could include specific guidelines on different types of crypto transactions, the treatment of decentralized finance (DeFi) activities, and the handling of tokens from hard forks or airdrops.

There is also a consensus that the IRS will continue to enhance its efforts to enforce compliance. This might involve advanced data analytics and cooperation with crypto exchanges and other financial institutions to gain better visibility into crypto transactions.

Predictions also point towards increased global cooperation in cryptocurrency regulation. As digital currencies transcend borders, tax authorities might work together more closely to establish international standards and share information to prevent tax evasion.

4. Tips for Crypto Taxpayers

a. Keeping Abreast of Regulatory Changes

For taxpayers engaged in crypto transactions, keeping abreast of regulatory changes is not just advisable; it’s a necessity. The rapid pace at which the IRS and other regulatory bodies are updating their guidelines means that what was true yesterday may not hold today.

Taxpayers should establish a habit of regularly checking official IRS publications, as these are the primary sources of authoritative information. The IRS website, particularly the section dedicated to virtual currencies, is a valuable resource. Additionally, subscribing to newsletters from reputable tax law firms or tax advisory services that specialize in cryptocurrency can provide timely updates and expert interpretations of new regulations and guidelines.

Engaging with the broader crypto community can also be beneficial. Online forums, social media groups, and crypto-focused news websites often discuss regulatory changes and their implications. However, while these platforms can offer insights and community wisdom, you should verify any information with official sources or professionals.

b. Consulting with Tax Professionals

A qualified tax advisor can help interpret how the latest regulatory changes apply to a taxpayer’s unique situation. They can also assist in strategizing for tax efficiency, ensuring compliance, and even representing taxpayers in dealings with the IRS if necessary. For those with significant or complex crypto transactions, the input of a tax professional is not just helpful but may be essential to avoid costly mistakes and legal pitfalls.

When choosing a tax professional, select someone with proven experience and knowledge in cryptocurrency taxation. As this is a relatively new and specialized field, not all tax advisors may be adequately equipped to provide the best advice in this area.

c. Using Technology for Transaction Tracking

There are several crypto tax software solutions available that cater to different needs. These range from simple tracking tools that integrate with exchanges and wallets to more sophisticated systems that offer detailed tax reporting and analytics. These tools can automatically track transactions, calculate gains and losses, and even generate tax forms in some cases.

The key to effectively using technology for transaction tracking is to ensure that all transactions, no matter how small, are accounted for. This includes not only trades and sales but also transfers between wallets, purchases made with cryptocurrencies, and any crypto received as income.

While technology can greatly aid in managing the complexities of crypto tax reporting, it’s important to remember that these tools are supplementary. Taxpayers should still exercise due diligence in reviewing and verifying the information generated by these tools and consult with a tax professional when necessary.

5. The Bigger Picture: IRS and the Future of Crypto Taxation

Around the world, governments and financial authorities are grappling with similar challenges: how to regulate a rapidly growing digital asset market that defies traditional financial norms. The responses vary, but there is a clear global trend towards more stringent regulation as the size and impact of the crypto market increase.

Some countries have taken a proactive stance, creating comprehensive regulatory frameworks that aim to promote innovation while safeguarding investors and the financial system. Others have been more cautious, enacting strict controls or even outright bans on certain crypto activities. This global patchwork of regulations reflects the diverse perspectives and strategies governments are employing to manage the complexities of digital currencies.

For the IRS and U.S. taxpayers, these global trends are significant. They not only influence international crypto markets but also shape the dialogue around best practices and regulatory standards. As cross-border transactions are inherent in the crypto world, the IRS’s policies may increasingly reflect a need to align with or respond to global regulatory developments.

b. Balancing Innovation and Regulation

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology represent a frontier of financial innovation with the potential for significant economic benefits. Over-regulation could stifle this innovation, potentially hindering the development of new technologies and services that could benefit the economy.

However, the IRS also has a mandate to ensure fair and effective taxation, protect consumers, and prevent financial crimes. This requires a regulatory framework that can adapt to the unique characteristics of cryptocurrencies, such as their decentralization, anonymity, and volatility.

The ideal approach is likely to be one that ensures transparency and compliance in the crypto market while also allowing room for growth and innovation. This could involve collaborative efforts with industry experts and stakeholders to understand the nuances of the technology and its applications, ensuring that regulations are both effective and not overly burdensome.

c. Anticipating the IRS’s Next Moves

Predicting the IRS’s next steps in crypto taxation can be challenging, given the rapid pace of change in both technology and the regulatory landscape. However, several key areas are likely to be the focus of future IRS actions. These include clearer guidance on various types of crypto transactions, increased enforcement efforts, and possibly the introduction of new reporting requirements.

The IRS may also enhance its use of technology to track and audit crypto transactions. This could involve sophisticated data analysis tools to identify unreported or misreported crypto activity. Additionally, there may be greater collaboration between the IRS and other financial regulatory bodies, both domestically and internationally, to share information and tackle challenges such as tax evasion and money laundering.

Taxpayers and crypto users should prepare for a future where crypto taxation is more integrated into the overall tax system. This means not only compliance with current laws but also staying adaptable and informed about potential changes. Engaging with the process, such as through public comment periods on proposed regulations, can also be a way for stakeholders to influence the direction of future IRS policies.


Tax regulation of cryptocurrency is in a state of flux, with the IRS adapting its regulations to keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital asset landscape. For taxpayers, staying informed and prepared is key to navigating these changes effectively. While the current suspension of specific reporting requirements offers some respite, it is a temporary measure. Taxpayers should anticipate and prepare for more definitive regulations in the near future.

Call me for a FREE attorney consultation if you have questions related to cryptocurrency reporting or other tax matters. 312-345-5440.