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What are the FinCEN Guidelines Surrounding Cryptocurrency?

FinCEN is an agency of the Treasury Department responsible for preventing financial crimes, and they have taken a few steps toward creative effective regulations for cryptocurrency transactions. FinCEN is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an office of the Treasury Department, primarily concerned with money laundering and other forms of financial fraud domestically and internationally. It is because of FinCEN’s far=reaching authority that major cryptocurrency exchanges who do business with US citizens will generally require identity and bank account verification, and will impose limits on transaction amounts. In 2013, FinCEN issued guidance that anyone engaged in the transmission or exchange of cryptocurrencies may fall under their jurisdiction to regulate Money Service Businesses (MSBs), meaning you may potentially have to register as a Money Transmitter on the Federal and state level if you frequently engage in cryptocurrency transactions. Continue reading...

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Bitcoins?

The IRS currently requires that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies be reported as personal property and capital assets. The IRS has published guidance that, yes, you do have to report gains/losses/income in the form of bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies.” Generally, the IRS treats bitcoin as property, instructing taxpayers to follow the existing IRS guidelines for personal property taxation. You can claim them as a capital asset, allowing you to treat them as stocks, essentially, with the ability to only pay long-term capital gains taxes on them if you hold them for a while. You can get paid in bitcoin by your employer, but employers must still withhold the usual amount of taxes, and you must report your bitcoin income the same way you would your regular income. Continue reading...

Can I Hold Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies in an IRA?

It is becoming increasingly popular today to have an IRA just for bitcoin. If you create a Self-Directed IRA, you can hold almost anything you want within it, if you can find a custodian and trustee willing to facilitate it. This isn’t overly difficult to do since many new companies are jumping at the opportunity to facilitate bitcoin and cryptocurrency IRAs. Examples of assets that can be held within a self-directed IRA include real estate, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, intellectual property, private businesses, hedge funds, private equity, tax lien certificates, livestock, and more. Continue reading...

Can My Employer Pay Me In Bitcoin?

The IRS has already paved the way for employers to pay wages using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and more services to facilitate this activity are being established. If your employer is willing to facilitate it, you can indeed receive your paycheck, or part of it, in bitcoins. Several financial services companies that deal in bitcoins exist that can help you accomplish this, and there will likely be more of them in the future. One such company, Bitwage, acts as an intermediary between your payroll service and Bitcoin exchanges, such as Coinbase, before sending the balance to your Bitcoin Wallet. The IRS has already established guidance on the subject. As an employer, you are free to pay employees in bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies” as long as you adhere to the same withholding and reporting requirements that would pertain to employee remunerations in US dollars, including FICA taxes and the rest of it. Continue reading...

What is a BitLicense?

A BitLicense is an informal name for the New York state license required of cryptocurrency businesses to operate within the state. While a lot of cryptocurrency transactions can and do happen “off the grid,” many companies working in cryptocurrency choose to register for licenses to do business and to comply with relevant state and federal regulations and reporting requirements. Different states have different requirements for the businesses that operate within them. In New York state, the applicable license has come to be called the BitLicense. Continue reading...

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