Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.
When you sell cryptocurrency, you are subject to the federal capital gains tax. This is the same tax you pay for the sale of other assets, including stocks.
Capital gains taxes are a percentage of your gain, or profit. There is not a single percentage used; instead, the percentage is determined by two factors:
How long you owned the cryptocurrency before selling it. If you own it for more than a year, you’ll generally pay less in taxes than what you’d pay if you sold it sooner.
Your total taxable income for the year in which you sold the cryptocurrency. In general, the higher your taxable income, the higher your rate will be.
You are only taxed on cryptocurrency if you sell it, whether for cash or for another cryptocurrency. So, if you bought $100 of cryptocurrency that is now worth $200 and you still own it, you aren’t taxed.
» Calculate your crypto profit or loss
0% - 3.99%
varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply
Get $200 in crypto
when you sign up. Terms Apply.
no promotion available at this time
no promotion available at this time
Short-term capital gains tax for crypto
If you own cryptocurrency for one year or less before selling, you’ll pay the short-term capital gains tax. Short-term capital gains taxes are higher than long-term capital gains taxes.
Any profits from short-term capital gains are added to all other taxable income for the year, and you calculate your taxes on the entire amount. You'll end up paying a different tax rate for the portion of your income that falls into each tax bracket.
For example, if you’re a single filer, you’d pay 10% on the first $10,275 of income. Then, you’d pay 12% on the next chunk of income, up to $41,775.
2022 tax brackets for taxes due in 2023
Long-term capital gains tax for crypto
If you sell cryptocurrency after owning it for more than a year, you’ll pay long-term capital gains. Long-term capital gains have their own system of tax brackets. While these types of gains aren’t taxed as ordinary income, you still use your taxable income to determine the long-term capital gains bracket you’re in. Depending on your income and filing status, you’ll generally either pay 0%, 15% or 20% on your long-term gains.
» New to crypto investing? Here's our guide to getting started
Married, filing jointly
Married, filing separately
Head of household
0% long-term capital gains tax rate if your taxable income is:
$0 to $41,675.
$0 to $83,350.
$0 to $41,675.
$0 to $55,800.
15% long-term capital gains tax rate if your taxable income is:
$41,676 to $459,750.
$83,351 to $517,200.
$41,676 to $258,600.
$55,801 to $488,500.
20% long-term capital gains tax rate if your taxable income is:
$459,751 or more.
$517,201 or more.
$258,601 or more.
$488,501 or more.
What happens if I lost assets in the FTX.US bankruptcy?
If you're an investor who had funds on FTX found themselves unable to access or withdraw it around the time the company filed for bankruptcy in November, here's what you need to know:
Contact your accountant ASAP. They can give you "a good idea about how this is going to impact you from a tax perspective," says Jason Bass, an attorney and certified public accountant whose firm, Taxing Cryptocurrency, specializes in cryptocurrency. For example, profits you made from trading earlier in the year are still taxable, even if those funds were subsequently unretrievable. If you were planning to use funds on FTX to cover those taxes, you'll need another source.
Don't expect immediate tax relief. There are some IRS provisions that allow you to write off losses, but Bass says he has been advising clients affected by FTX that none cover this situation. There are safe-harbor rules for victims of Ponzi schemes, but many external conditions first need to be met before that exception could be applied to FTX users. Bass says, generally speaking, it isn't wise to treat the lost funds as though the crypto was sold for $0 when in fact access to the funds was lost in bankruptcy.
You might get something back — eventually. Bankruptcy proceedings divvy up remaining assets among those who have a claim to those assets, which likely will include FTX users. Bass says this process will likely take years, and users shouldn't expect to be made whole, but there could be some money in the future.
Storing funds on a centralized exchange carries risk. To reduce the risk that you lose access to your funds in an unforeseeable event in the future, Bass recommends you:
Download your complete transaction history at least once per month. You can do this manually, or you can automate the process using programs that can securely read your account information, similar to a budgeting app. Some crypto tax software has this feature.
Store your funds off the exchange. Crypto you don't plan to sell or trade for the foreseeable future is probably safest in cold storage. Use an online crypto wallet for assets, including stablecoins, that you want quicker access to.
Cryptocurrency tax FAQs
What if I sold cryptocurrency for a loss?
If you sell crypto for less than you bought it for, you can use those losses to offset gains you made elsewhere. The resulting number is sometimes called your net gain. For example:
You buy $100 of Crypto ABC and $100 of Crypto XYZ.
You later sell ABC for $75 (a loss of $25) and XYZ for $200 (a gain of $100).
Your taxable amount would be $75 ($100-$25).
If your losses exceed your gains, you can use the additional amount to reduce your taxable income, up to $3,000 in most cases. You can then use, or “carry over,” any remaining losses to offset gains in future years.
Will I be taxed if I change wallets?
No. Transferring cryptocurrency from one wallet you own to another does not count as selling it. You won’t be taxed.
Do I still pay taxes if I traded cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency?
Yes. The Internal Revenue Service is clear about this: If you trade cryptocurrency for any other asset, including other cryptocurrencies, it’s a taxable event.
What forms do I need?
Is it easy to do this myself?
It depends. It’s easier to manage if your exchange sends you the proper tax forms.
Most of the U.S.-based centralized exchanges have good data management practices, says Bass. Other exchanges have lackluster data, he notes, which means you might need to reach out to customer support.
Compiling the information can be time-consuming work, especially if you’ve made many trades. But crypto-specific tax software that connects to your crypto exchange, compiles the information and generates IRS Form 8949 for you can make this task easier.
Such software programs “are good enough for 95% of crypto users,” Bass says.
Some complex situations probably require professional assistance. According to Bass, you could benefit from professional help if:
You have many hundreds or thousands of transactions.
Your transactions are on-chain or if you used an exchange that isn’t based in the U.S.
The crypto you sold was purchased before 2016.
You just want peace of mind. Bass says some clients just work with him for one year before choosing to file themselves.
Are there any ways to avoid paying taxes on crypto?
Bass says it’s OK to be strategic to minimize your taxes. But that’s also just good advice that applies to all facets of your financial life. When it comes to crypto, being strategic should never mean being stealthy.
“Whatever you do, make a good faith effort to report all of the activity and disclose anything that you think is uncertain,” he says. “Disclosure is key when it comes to the IRS. At the end of the day, potential penalties could be way more than paying the tax on the crypto activity you engaged in.”
Usually if you make a good faith effort to disclose your trading activity, you won’t have any issues, he notes.
» Learn more about cryptocurrencies and taxes
On a similar note...