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Cryptocurrency taxation: Here’s what you need to know

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Virtual currencies are taxed as property, or as an investment, when you sell them. To make matters more confusing, using them to buy something technically counts as selling.
If you’re paid in bitcoin or other crypto, on the other hand, that will be treated as taxable income to you.

Indeed, almost every transaction may be taxable and should be reported.

While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be virtual, they have very real-world tax consequences. If you fail to pay the tax you owe, you will be subject to interest and penalties and, in some circumstances, even criminal prosecution.
So if you couldn’t resist getting in on, say, bitcoin’s wild ride — it rose 437% in just the past year, at one point trading north of $60,000 in April and dropping below $43,000 this week – keep good records, because you are responsible for preserving documentation for every one of your transactions.

Do crypto transactions get reported to the IRS?

There is no legally required third-party reporting of crypto trades or many types of crypto payments. But that may soon change if the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is enacted. If it is enacted, then exchanges like Coinbase would have to report your trades. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits a vote in the House this month.

In the meantime — and especially if the bill doesn’t get enacted — there are a variety of ways the IRS will assess whether you have engaged in taxable crypto transactions.

For instance, any business paying more than $600 to a non-employee or paying wages to an employee must report that income to the IRS, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.
Everything you need to know about bitcoin
Plus, every federal tax filer at the top of their 1040 form must truthfully answer a question about whether they received, sold, sent, exchanged, or otherwise acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency during the tax year.

That doesn’t mean the IRS will simply rely on an honor system. “They have the perception that there are many more people engaged in virtual currency transactions than is being reported on returns,” Luscombe said.

So, together with the US Department of Justice, the tax agency is actively seeking compliance in a few ways.

It has started a “virtual currency compliance campaign” that will include public outreach but also “examinations.” That can mean audits.
In addition, the IRS sent letters in the summer of 2019 to 10,000 people alerting them to their tax obligations regarding virtual currencies and urging them to review and amend past returns if they owe back taxes, interest and penalties.

How did it get the names of those 10,000 people? “[T]hrough various ongoing IRS compliance efforts,” the agency noted.

One such effort: The IRS is seeking customer lists from cryptocurrency companies through legal summonses.

“The Department of Justice will continue to work with the IRS to ensure that cryptocurrency owners are paying their fair share of taxes,” the DOJ said in a statement in April.
The IRS also has a Criminal Investigation Cyber Crimes Unit, charged with snuffing out illegal activity in virtual currency transactions.

What tax do I owe on cryptocurrency if I sell it?

You must report any capital gain or capital loss from the sale of your cryptocurrencies. That will be determined by the difference — in US dollars — between how much you paid when buying them and how much you received when you sold them.

2020 taxes: Everything you need to know about filing this year

If you held the investment for a year or less and it had appreciated in value by the time you sold it, your gain will be taxed as ordinary income. If you held it longer than a year, then it would be subject to capital gains tax rates.

If you lost money on the sale, you may use your capital loss to offset any capital gains you incurred in other investments, Luscombe said.

How about if I got paid in a virtual currency for a good or service?

That’s reportable as ordinary income to you. And the amount of income reported should be the value in US dollars of the virtual currency the day you received it.

What if I paid someone else in virtual currency?

That’s like a sale of bitcoin on which you will realize a gain or loss. The IRS notes that the gain or loss is determined by “the difference between the fair market value of the services you received and your adjusted basis in the virtual currency exchanged.”

What should I report if all I did was buy virtual currency?

You don’t have to report it on your tax return, according to the IRS, just as you wouldn’t report an investment you purchased and are holding in a brokerage account, unless it threw off taxable income, such as dividends or interest.

Will my state tax my crypto transactions?

Probably, but you should see what your state revenue department has said on the issue.

“Most states have not specifically addressed virtual currency, which means that the majority of states that have an income tax would follow the federal lead,” Luscombe said.

Any money you earn from your crypto investments or income payments will be factored into your federal adjusted gross income. And most states use your federal AGI as a starting point.

Two states — Nevada and Wyoming, neither of which have an income tax — did specify they would not subject virtual currency transactions to the state property tax, Luscombe said.

(For more information on these and other questions, the IRS has created this FAQ. And if your situation is particularly complex, see a tax professional with experience in this arena.)

Editor’s note: This story is an update of the original version, which ran in April 2021.



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

As Big Tech stocks get slaughtered, Intel rises from the ashes

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The company is taking steps to address the issue, most notably by stepping up production in America. Intel announced plans Friday to invest more than $20 billion on two new semiconductor plants in Ohio. President Biden will discuss the Intel news later Friday.
Intel shares are up 3% in 2022 while rivals Nvidia (NVDA) and AMD (AMD) have each fallen more than 10%. Intel is outperforming the rest of the chip industry, too. The iShares Semiconductor (SOXX) exchange-traded fund is down 8% so far this year.
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Last week, Gelsinger posted a holiday/New Year’s video message on LinkedIn to brag about recent accomplishments. Wearing an ugly Christmas sweater with Intel’s logo on it, Gelsinger said the company’s new Alder Lake chips for PCs have thrust Intel back into a winning position in the chip world.
“All of a sudden, boom! We are back in the game,” he crowed. “AMD in the rear view mirror…and never again will they be in the windshield, we are just leading the market!” he crowed. Gelsinger spent 30 years at Intel as its first chief technology officer and later senior vice president and general manager before leaving in 2009 to take a job at EMC. (EMC has since merged with VMWare and is now owned by Dell (DELL).)

Intel playing catch up to Nvidia and AMD

AMD, under the leadership of CEO Lisa Su, has gained market share primarily in PC chips at the expense of Intel over the past five years. That’s one of the main reasons why AMD’s stock has soared more than 1,200% since January 2017. Intel’s, meanwhile, has gained just 45% while the iShares Semiconductor ETF has surged 300%.

Nvidia’s stock has also been a much better bet than Intel’s during the past five years, so much so that Nvidia’s market valuation of almost $635 billion is nearly three times Intel’s $219 billion.

And Nvidia has been a leading player, along with AMD, in graphics processing chips, a portion of the market that has grown rapidly thanks to gaming and cryptocurrency mining. Intel is now trying to play catch-up in the graphics chip market, and analysts see some hopeful signs for the company’s upcoming Arc family of processors.

New CEOs are benefiting from a long Wall Street honeymoon

Intel’s weak performance compared to AMD, Nvidia and the rest of the sector, is likely a key reason why former CEO Bob Swan stepped down last year to make way for Gelsinger’s return.

Intel now has more momentum. It recently hired a new chief financial officer from memory chip giant Micron (MU), a move that tech investors applauded.
Traders also liked the December announcement that Intel finally plans to spin off self driving tech unit Mobileye, which it bought in 2017 for $15 billion and is expected to go public with a valuation of about $50 billion.

Wall Street analysts are acknowledging the apparent change in the sector’s momentum, too. Piper Sandler’s Harsh Kumar downgraded AMD’s stock Thursday, citing growth concerns and increased competition throughout the chip sector.

And Susquehanna International Group analyst Chris Rolland wrote in a report Thursday that the Arc chips, which will be primarily used for PC gaming, “could heat up” competition with AMD and Nvidia.

“At the right price point,” Rolland noted, Intel may be able to quickly “obtain share in an otherwise supply-constrained market.”

Intel is likely to give investors an update on supply chain issues when it reports earnings for the fourth quarter on Wednesday.



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Bitcoin, ethereum prices tumble as cryptocurrencies continue their downward slide

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And it’s not just Bitcoin, as cryptocurrencies in general have had a dismal start to the year. Bitcoin has fallen over 8% in the last 24 hours, and was trading at $35,479 as of 9:30 am ET, according to CoinDesk. The world’s most valuable cryptocurrency has plummeted over 20% since the beginning of the year. In November it was trading at a record high of $68,990.
Its peers have fared worse. Ethereum, the world’s second most valuable cryptocurency, has fallen more than 12% in the last 24 hour, and was trading at around $2,400 as of mid-morning Saturday, according to CoinDesk. That’s an almost 30% drop since the start of the new year.
Investors are getting jittery about digital currencies and other riskier assets ever since the US Federal Reserve signaled it may unwind economic stimulus more aggressively than expected.
Twitter is rolling out verified NFT profile pictures
Governments are cracking down as well. On Thursday, Reuters reported that Russia’s central bank has proposed a ban on crypto use and mining. Russia is one of the biggest crypto-mining nations in the world, but its central bank said that digital currencies can pose a threat to the country’s financial stability.
The Russian proposal comes just a few months after China launched a full-scale clampdown on cryptocurrency, banning both trading and mining.
Other countries are also flirting with a ban on crypto. In November, India said it was preparing to introduce a bill that would regulate digital currencies, although much is still unknown about that proposal. Earlier this week, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said that global cooperation is needed to tackle problems posed by crytocurrencies.
However, not everyone is pessimistic. Goldman Sachs said that the price of bitcoin could reach more than $100,000 within the next five years. In a report published earlier this month, the bank’s analysts said they saw strong gains ahead because bitcoin would increasingly steal market share from gold.



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Top hedge fund manager warns that market ‘superbubble’ will burst

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Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo (GMO) said in a report called “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin” that stocks are now in the midst of a “superbubble,” that it won’t end well.

Grantham, who has been running the firm’s investments since it was started in 1977, was similarly bearish at market tops in 2000, and during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

“Good luck! We’ll all need it,” said Grantham, whose firm manages about $65 billion in assets.

He noted that US stocks have experienced two such “superbubbles” before: 1929, a market fall that led to the Great Depression, and again in 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst. He also said the US housing market was a “superbubble” in 2006 and that the 1989 Japanese stock and housing markets were both “superbubbles.”
2022 hasn't been good for stocks. But the Biden market is still up 18%

“All five of these superbubbles corrected all the way back to trend with much greater and longer pain than average,” Grantham wrote.

Many investors don’t want to believe that the stock market is overdue for a broader pullback, Grantham argues, especially since the market fell into bear territory — albeit briefly — in March 2020 at the pandemic’s start.

“In a bubble, no one wants to hear the bear case. It is the worst kind of party-pooping,” Grantham wrote. “For bubbles, especially superbubbles where we are now, are often the most exhilarating financial experiences of a lifetime.”

Grantham believes that the Federal Reserve’s moves to cut rates to zero — and then keep them there for nearly two years — is a main cause for the market’s current frothiness. The Fed is widely expected to begin raising rates at its March meeting.

“One of the main reasons I deplore superbubbles — and resent the Fed and other financial authorities for allowing and facilitating them — is the under-recognized damage that bubbles cause as they deflate and mark down our wealth,” he wrote.

Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of hedge fund GMO, is warning that stocks could fall a lot further.

Grantham added that “as bubbles form, they give us a ludicrously overstated view of our real wealth, which encourages us to spend accordingly. Then, as bubbles break, they crush most of those dreams and accelerate the negative economic forces on the way down.”

“To allow bubbles, let alone help them along, is simply bad economic policy,” Grantham wrote, adding that he’s concerned about “the terrible increase in inequality that goes with higher prices of assets, which many simply do not own.”

This isn’t the first time Grantham has issued such a doom and gloom call on the markets. He made a similar proclamation about the end of the bull market in January 2021, calling stocks an “epic bubble.” The market wrapped up 2021 near record highs and with its third straight year of gains.

Rate hikes will deflate a lot of the market’s hot air

Other investing experts share some, but not all, of Grantham’s concerns. Jordan Kahn, president and chief investment officer of ACM Funds, which has a portfolio that both buys stocks and short sells ones that it thinks are overvalued, said there are definitely more opportunities on the short side of the market right now.

Kahn told CNN Business that his long-short fund is only invested about 30% in bullish positions that it expects to go up. He is also worried about what will happen to stocks as rates go up.

Bitcoin tumbles as cryptocurrencies continue their downward slide

“When rates are at zero for a long time, it’s easy to justify almost any valuation, and coming out of 2020 we saw ridiculous prices for stocks,” he said, something he hadn’t seen since 1999. “But as soon as inflation started people question valuations.”

Still, Kahn isn’t as bearish as Grantham. Rather than an epic crash, he foresees a series of what he calls “bubble-ettes,” mini manias in corners of the market such as crytpocurrencies and speculative, unprofitable tech stocks.

“There has been a lot of blind faith,” Kahn said. “There are areas where there has been a lot of speculation and there will be pain there.”



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