Advertisements

Bitcoin: IRS Takes On The Crooks—And The Good Guys

Image result for bitcoin and IRS

Are cryptocurrencies reportable for FBAR? For Fatca? No and maybe.

Turns out there’s no FBAR mandate on your offshore bitcoin account. Is the government making a tactical retreat in its war on money launderers and tax cheats?

In response to a request for guidance from an accountants’ group, the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has recently decreed that cryptocurrency accounts held by exchanges located outside the country don’t have to be disclosed.

That means you don’t have to confess your Binance assets on the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report, alias FBAR. The report, which is filed on a form called Fincen 114, is required when a taxpayer’s financial assets (cash and securities) held in foreign institutions top $10,000.

Why the leniency? Mostly because the antiquated laws aimed at financial mischief simply can’t cope with crypto.

A rational observer would say that bitcoin, which is both a store of value and a medium of exchange, is money. But the IRS, enforcing legislation written in a pre-internet age, has concluded that cryptocurrencies are “property”—more like Picassos than pesos.

At some point the tax police will get up to speed. They’ll rewrite rules or get legislation including digital assets in the offshore reporting scheme. But they’ll still have a hard time ferreting out hidden wealth. Cryptocurrencies, already somewhat anonymous, are getting more so. There are tumblers that erase bitcoin trails and there are newer currencies designed to offer enhanced privacy.

To investors, crypto is an asset class that might warrant an allocation in a portfolio. Although cryptocurrencies are volatile, they have the virtue of being not very correlated to stocks and bonds that fall, directly or indirectly, under the spell of central banks.

To enforcers, crypto is nothing but trouble. Bitcoin was the common currency of Silk Road, that bazaar of contraband whose manager got a life sentence. Russian hackers used bitcoin in their election meddling. A press release in May from Immigration & Customs Enforcement, crowing about the indictment of an alleged fentanyl vendor, gives bitcoin a prominent mention.

Donald Trump doesn’t like crypto. His Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, complained recently that cryptocurrencies are being used illicitly. He vowed to produce regulations to keep them from turning into a new form of numbered Swiss bank account.

But aren’t bitcoins by their nature numbered accounts? The blockchain—a record of all transactions to date—is a string of integers, with no holders’ names attached. Still, holders can get nailed for doing something wrong.

Chain analysis software traces the history of a bitcoin as it moves from account to account. If at any point that coin passed through an exchange subject to U.S. know-your-customer rules (like Coinbase), the cops can get the name and taxpayer ID of someone who used the coin. That may give them a wedge, via subpoena or a threat of prosecution, to identify other participants in the chain of ownership.

And then there are users who make mistakes. Evidently the fellow accused of selling fentanyl wanted to convert bitcoins to dollars, and in the process of doing that transferred the coins to addresses that were controlled by federal agents. This is reminiscent of the bank robber who hops into what he thinks is a getaway car but turns out to be a police vehicle.

Cryptocurrency users who want their activities to be more cryptic have options. They can use one of the tumbler services that take in possibly dirty coins and replace them with randomly selected coins. They can use Monero or Zcash, currencies explicitly designed to be more private than bitcoin. And how is Secretary Mnuchin going to police Binance, the fast-growing coin repository that hops from jurisdiction to jurisdiction? It is now in Malta, where regulators are proud of their light touch.

Yet another way to keep coins hidden is to keep them in your own wallet instead of in the custody of an exchange. Just don’t lose the key.

Sean Golding, an Irvine, California attorney whose clientele includes global investors, says that you are under no obligation to report coins held in a wallet on your desktop, any more than you are obliged to report gold stored under your bed. You must, though, report and pay tax on profitable sales of either.

What about your account at an offshore exchange? Even with the recent dispensation from the IRS, Golding says, it might be a good idea to file the FBAR anyway. You might, after all, do some trading that temporarily turns bitcoins into dollars or euros. If your total of cash and securities held offshore exceeds $10,000, even for a day, the FBAR is mandatory.

The government takes the Fincen 114 form seriously. It’s trying to collect a $4.7 million fine from someone who forgot to fill it out.

Your account at a U.S. exchange needs no FBAR. The IRS can already see the account. Thus, Coinbase customers who neglect to declare gains from crypto sales can expect to hear from the feds.

What about Fatca? The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is another disclosure regime, overlapping Fincen but with its own set of rules and different thresholds ($50,000 for a single taxpayer, $100,000 for a joint return filer). Play it safe, advises Golding. The recent guidance on FBAR doesn’t apply here. If you’re at or above the cutoff, file the Fatca report.

The FBAR must be filed electronically with Fincen, a Treasury unit separate from the IRS. Start here.

For Fatca, file Form 8938 with the 1040 you send to the IRS. It can be on paper. The form is here and the instructions are here.

A useful comparison between the FBAR and Fatca requirements is here.

This Journal of Accountancy report describes the recent guidance from Fincen.

The FBAR regs are here.

I aim to help you save on taxes and money management costs. I graduated from Harvard in 1973, have been a journalist for 44 years, and was editor of Forbes magazine from 1999 to 2010. Tax law is a frequent subject in my articles. I have been an Enrolled Agent since 1979. Email me at williambaldwinfinance — at — gmail — dot — com.

 

 

Source: Bitcoin: IRS Takes On The Crooks—And The Good Guys

Advertisements

1,000,000,000 XRP: Ripple Unlocks $442 Million in Crypto From Escrow

Ripple has unlocked 1 billion XRP from escrow, worth about $442 million at time of publishing.

The San Francisco startup will sell a portion of the funds to crypto exchanges and institutional participants and return the rest to escrow at the end of the month.

Source: Bithomp

Ripple, which owns more than half of the total supply of XRP, does not reveal the buyers. However, crypto whale watchers are constantly monitoring XRP movements from Ripple’s over-the-counter (OTC) wallets to unknown wallets, which indicate sales of XRP.

Ripple typically sells a fraction of the total amount unlocked each month and releases an overview of the dollar amount of XRP sold each quarter.

According to the company’s last report, Ripple sold $169.42 million worth of XRP in January, February and March.

Source: Ripple

Since 2016, Ripple has sold a total of $890 million in XRP – 34.4% to crypto exchanges and 65.6% to institutions, reports The Block.

Ripple’s sale of XRP recently triggered a lively debate on Reddit on whether it has an impact on the price of the leading digital asset.

Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community

Bitcoin (BTC) Poised to Dump on Crypto Suckers, Says Veteran Stockbroker – Plus Ripple and XRP, Ethereum, Tron, EOS, Litecoin, Augur

 

Image result for Bitcoin (BTC) Poised to Dump on Crypto Suckers

From gold bulls dissing Bitcoin to the new Captain America pledging his allegiance to Litecoin, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the world of crypto.

Bitcoin

Veteran stockbroker and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, says he expects Bitcoin’s 132% rally in 2019 to reverse. In a new debate with Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, Schiff called Bitcoin an elaborate pump-and-dump scheme for suckers.

“The air is already coming out of this bubble, right? The peak of market was at $20,000. And so that was a blow-off speculative mania when they launched the Bitcoin futures and everything rose. So now, we’re in a bear market. And in a bear market, you always have rallies. That’s what bear markets do. They try to sucker in the bulls. You have these false rallies. We’re having one now.

But initially, a lot of people got suckered into this pump-and-dump scheme because they heard all the stories about the young kids who took their bar mitzvah money and now they bought a Lambo. And everybody thinks they’re going to get rich because they think these kids were geniuses when all they did is get lucky because they bought Bitcoin and then the price went up.

So there’s a lot of stories about people who got rich because they got in. Well, pretty soon it’s mostly going to be stories about people who lost their life savings because they put real money instead of play money into Bitcoin. And when you have the horror stories outnumber those positive stories, the brand is going to be tarnished. I don’t think you’re going to have a bunch of young kids rushing to buy Bitcoin because they’re going to know how much money their friends lost because they bought it.”

In response, Silbert points to financial giants like Fidelity that are now joining the industry to sell Bitcoin to institutional investors. Silbert says he believes Bitcoin – and the growth of the cryptocurrency industry at large – is very real, and will push the price of BTC higher in the long run.  

“I think investors are hearing the gold argument and they’re hearing about the scenario where it performs well when things are going not so well in the world. And I would argue, given that Bitcoin has all the same characteristics as gold – scarce, finite, portable, highly divisible – I think it has a lot more utility. Arguably Bitcoin would perform well in that environment that Peter’s describing.

But Bitcoin, and more importantly, the community and the industry that is being built, the thousands of companies that have been launched over the past five year, the tens of thousands of jobs that have been created – the real innovation that’s happening – I assure you, is going to propel the Bitcoin price higher. Because it will generate real innovation in a world of economic growth, where gold will only perform well if the shit hits the fan…

What I think gold bugs don’t appreciate, is there is a generational shift in investor mindset that’s happening. Over the next 25 years, $68 trillion of wealth is going to be handed down from Boomers, Gen X, Gen Ys and Millennials. And I can assure you that the younger generation of investors, many of you here apparently agree with this, don’t view gold the same way that our parents and grandparents did.

We did not grow up under the gold standard. We did not grow up during a time of war, so as that $68 trillion gets handed down, it is not going to stay in gold. Now, is whatever is in gold right now all going to go to Bitcoin? No, of course not. But gold is an $8 trillion market cap asset class. Bitcoin’s $100 billion. So a lot has to go right or frankly, in Peter’s view, a lot has to go wrong for an $8 trillion asset class to jump in price. And $100 billion for Bitcoin, it really does not take a lot for Bitcoin to outperform gold over the next 10 years.”

Ethereum, EOS, Tron

Decentralized apps (DApps) on the EOS network continue to outpace those on Ethereum and Tron. According to DappReview, $25.2 million worth of EOS flowed through DApps on the network in the last 24 hours, with 125,600 active users.

Meanwhile, 48,600 users spent $14.6 million worth of TRX on Tron-based DApps, while 18,700 users spent $9 million ETH on Ethereum-based DApps.

Ripple and XRP 

Ripple continues to hire new employees around the globe. The company is now looking for an operations associate for Xpring, Ripple’s XRP development and fundraising arm. The position is in San Francisco. At time of writing, the start-up has a total of 62 open positions, including eight with Xpring.

Litecoin

In an interview with Vanity Fair, actor Anthony Mackie, who will assume the role of Captain America in future Marvel movies, says he checks his Litecoin app every day.

“I don’t trust Bitcoin. Litecoin forever.”

Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community

Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

The CEO of retail giant Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, noted the potential profitability of the firm’s retail arm in its Q4 2018 earnings conference call on March 18. Byrne’s statements indicate that Overstock may not be divesting from its retail wing as soon as was previously indicated. Last year, Byrne reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that Overstock would sell off its retail wing sometime in early 2019. During the section of the conference call devoted to retail, Byrne said that “this is going to be a year of explosive growth,” and that the retail wing would “spit out cash…..

Source: Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar