Taxes and NFTs: Your simplified guide to filing in 2023

Tax season is here and so are we to help guide you through if and how to file your taxes with NFTs involved. Learn the ins and outs of filing taxes in 2023 with NFTs.
Taxes and NFTs: Your simplified guide to filing in 2023

The following content is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. 

Merry tax season! 

That’s right. Just when you thought you had time to chill and not think about filing, you walk straight through that red tape into that brick wall of taxation. 

And when you filter out all of the raucous accounting parties and CPAs experiencing their yearly busy season, there’s still a thought in the back of your mind that needs addressing.

How do you file taxes for your NFTs? Do you even need to?

The short answer is, yes. The long… well, that’s why we’re here. 

NFTs have taken the world by storm, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, with some high-profile collectibles selling for tens of millions of dollars.

However, as with any new asset class, there are specific tax implications that NFT owners should know before they buy and take note of before filing taxes. NFTs and taxes can be complex. Therefore, understanding how owning and selling NFTs can impact your tax liability is essential for anyone participating in this emergent ecosystem.

Let’s get filing.

Complicated, sure. But RECUR has your back.

We know NFTs and how they’re taxed can be confusing, but we're here to help you navigate this new landscape with confidence.

The following information will help provide an overview of the tax implications of owning and selling NFTs, discuss the factors that affect their taxation, and provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your NFT transactions. As always, please consult a tax advisor for your specific situation or holdings.

Tax implications of owning and selling NFTs

NFTs are an increasingly hot topic as assets for art and technology. And while mass adoption has yet to gain enough traction to carry the world into NFT ubiquity, increasing trading volume and popularity has caught the eye of governments worldwide.

As the market for NFTs continues to grow, so does the complexity of their tax implications.

When you purchase an NFT, you essentially buy a unique digital asset verified on a blockchain. This creates a digital certificate that can be used to prove ownership and authenticate the asset's value. The IRS treats NFTs as property, which means they are subject to capital gains tax when sold.

Capital gains tax and how it applies to NFTs

Capital gains tax is a tax on the profit made from selling an asset, such as an NFT, that has increased in value since it was purchased. The tax rate varies depending on how long the NFT was held before being sold. If the NFT was held for more than a year, it is subject to long-term capital gains tax rates, typically lower than short-term capital gains tax rates.

It's important to note that if an NFT is sold at a loss, that loss can be used to offset gains from other assets up to a specific limit.

NFT buyers and sellers must keep accurate records of their transactions, including the purchase price, date, and any associated expenses. This information will be necessary to calculate capital gains or losses and determine the tax owed.

As the market for NFTs continues to evolve, buyers and sellers must stay up-to-date on the latest tax regulations and reporting requirements to avoid potential penalties or legal issues.

Tax reporting requirements for NFT transactions

In addition to understanding the tax implications of owning and selling NFTs, users should be aware of the tax reporting requirements for these transactions. Anytime you buy, sell, or exchange an NFT, it's considered a taxable event and must be reported on your tax return. Failure to do so can result in penalties and interest.

If you sell an NFT for a profit, the amount of the gain must be reported as either a short-term or long-term capital gain, depending on how long you hold the NFT before selling it. The IRS requires that you report the sale of NFTs on Schedule D of your tax return.

If you receive an NFT as payment for goods or services, the fair market value of the NFT at the time of receipt must be reported as ordinary income on your tax return. As stated above, if you hold the NFT for a period before selling it, any gain on the sale will be treated as either short-term or long-term capital gain, depending on the holding period.

Keeping detailed records of your NFT transactions, including the purchase price, sale price, and dates of acquisition and sale, will create much less friction when eventually filing taxes. This information is essential to accurately report your gains and losses on your tax return. 

As you can see, tax reporting requirements for NFT transactions can be complex, and it's essential to consult with a tax professional to ensure that you're correctly reporting your NFT activity on your tax return.

Factors affecting taxation of NFTs

When it comes to the taxation of NFTs, several factors can affect how much you owe. Here are some key considerations to remember:

  • Time Held - If you sell an NFT within a year of purchasing it, you'll be subject to short-term capital gains tax rates, which are typically higher than long-term rates.
  • Purchase Price - If you sell an NFT for more than you paid, you'll owe taxes on the capital gains. The higher the purchase price, the more you'll owe in taxes.
  • Selling Price - If you sell an NFT for a profit, you'll owe taxes on the capital gains. If you sell it for a loss, you may be able to deduct that loss from your taxes.
  • Type of seller -If you’re in the business of buying and selling NFTs, that is considered part of the normal course of business and is therefore treated as an ordinary gain as opposed to a capital gain. 

It's important to consider these factors when buying, selling, or holding NFTs. By understanding the tax implications of your NFT transactions, you can better manage your tax liabilities and avoid any surprises come tax time.

If you walk away with anything from this post,

Let it be these key points. NFTs are digital assets that have gained immense popularity in recent years, and they come with tax implications that NFT owners and creators should be aware of. Regarding taxation, NFTs are subject to capital gains tax and ordinary income tax, depending on factors such as time held, purchase price, and selling price. 

While NFTs can offer exciting opportunities for collectors, it is essential to be aware of the tax implications that come with them. The classification of NFTs by the IRS is not yet clearly defined, as they are an emergent asset class. 

Currently, the IRS defines collectibles as: 

  • Any work of art
  • Any rug or antique
  • Any metal or gem (with limited exceptions)
  • Any stamp or coin (with limited exceptions)
  • Any alcoholic beverage
  • Any other tangible personal property that the IRS determines is a "collectible" under IRC Section 408(m).

It is possible that NFTs may be categorized as collectibles in the future. If that happens, they would be subject to the higher 28% capital gains tax rate, which is also applied to other collectible assets such as artwork and stamps. In contrast, non-collectible items are taxed at a maximum capital gains rate of 20%.

By staying informed and seeking professional guidance when necessary, NFT owners and creators can confidently navigate taxation. Readers are encouraged to do their own research to ensure they comply with tax laws to the fullest extent. 

NFT tax resources and support software

Here’s a list of helpful links and services to get you started. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and other resources may be available. Again, be sure to do your own research and consult a tax professional if you have any specific questions or concerns. 

  • IRS Virtual Currency Guidance - The IRS has guidance on virtual currency transactions, which include NFTs. 
  • ZenLedger - This website offers free and paid options and specializes in tax services for cryptocurrency traders and investors, including those with NFTs.
  • CoinTracker - Try their free or paid service, CoinTracker helps you determine the tax impact of your NFTs with a simple tax calculator.
  • CoinLedger - Generate simple tax reports by entering your Ethereum wallet address.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The predictions in this article are not recommendations from our team and should not be misconstrued as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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