Is Crypto Subject to New IRS §6050I Reporting?

Zac McClure
ByZac McClure, MBAReviewed byAlex MilesUpdated on April 23, 2024 · minute read
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  • IRS §6050I now mandates the reporting of certain cryptocurrency transactions over $10,000. This rule applies to those involved in "trade or business," requiring detailed transaction reporting within 15 days. This could affect crypto, although how exactly remains uncertain.

  • Extending §6050I to digital assets introduces significant compliance challenges for the crypto industry. It underscores the need for meticulous record-keeping and understanding what constitutes a reportable transaction under IRS guidelines.

Understanding the IRS §6050I reporting requirement

The recent updates to IRS §6050I have stirred the crypto community, with a focus on the new requirements for reporting transactions involving $10,000 or more in cryptocurrency.

Let’s delve into what these changes entail, who they might affect, and the implications for various stakeholders in the crypto space.

What is §6050I?

Section 6050I of the Internal Revenue Code, originally enacted in 1984 as part of anti-money-laundering legislation, requires reporting of certain cash transactions exceeding $10,000. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this provision now encompasses digital assets, fundamentally altering the reporting landscape for cryptocurrency transactions.

Who needs to report under §6050I?

The rule targets individuals and businesses engaged in what the IRS defines as "trade or business" activities. This broad definition means that many within the crypto ecosystem, from miners to professional traders, might need to navigate these waters carefully to remain compliant.

Requirements for reporting

Reporting under §6050I is comprehensive, requiring the disclosure of transaction details such as the parties' identities, transaction amounts, and dates, all within 15 days of the transaction. This level of detail poses significant challenges, particularly within decentralized networks.

Specific scenarios and their tax implications for crypto

As the IRS extends its reach into digital assets with the revised §6050I reporting requirements, a range of potential scenarios emerge, each with unique tax implications. Here are a few examples:

Decentralized finance (DeFi) and anonymity issues

The anonymous nature of many DeFi platforms complicates compliance, as identifying transaction parties can often be impractical or impossible. This ambiguity significantly burdens users and platforms striving to align with IRS expectations.

DAO contributors and airdrop farmers

Whether contributing to a DAO or farming airdrops constitutes a trade or business can hinge on factors like engagement level and profit motive. These activities require reporting if they form the primary source of income and are pursued continuously and systematically. Learn more about crypto taxes for DAOs.

Stakers and yield farmers

Stakers, particularly those involved with professional staking pools and yield farmers who operate through business entities, may need to report their earnings if these exceed the $10,000 threshold. This requirement underscores the need for clarity and careful record-keeping.

Legal challenges and industry reactions

The broad application of §6050I to crypto transactions has not gone unchallenged. Legal experts and industry stakeholders argue that the rule’s expansion to digital assets was implemented without sufficient guidance on compliance, particularly for decentralized and pseudonymous transactions.

Coin Center's challenge to IRS §6050I

On constitutional grounds, the crypto think tank Coin Center has challenged the expansion of §6050I to digital assets, arguing that the rule's vagueness and impractical compliance in many crypto transactions make it untenable and unjust.

Community and expert opinions

Both crypto tax experts and crypto community members have voiced concerns over the rule's broad application and the IRS's sparse guidance on compliance. These concerns highlight the ongoing uncertainty and the need for more detailed regulatory clarifications.

“The current version of form 8300 does not include any provision to report digital assets. If this form is updated, it may require an explanation of what constitutes a digital asset for the purpose of this form. Furthermore, clients who usually do not disclose personal information to someone they pay in cryptocurrency during their business transactions may need to prepare for this change”
- Tynisa (Ty) Gaines, EA Tax Expert, TokenTax

Navigating compliance and avoiding penalties

Crypto entities and individuals should seek legal advice to understand their obligations under §6050I fully. Proactive compliance, such as maintaining thorough transaction records and staying abreast of IRS communications, is advisable to avoid the severe penalties associated with non-compliance.

Crypto IRS §6050I reporting FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about crypto IRS §6050I and how the new reporting requirement might affect the industry and individual users.

What is IRS §6050I and how does it apply to cryptocurrency transactions?

IRS §6050I mandates reporting for business transactions over $10,000, now including cryptocurrencies. It requires detailed information on the transaction and its parties.

Who needs to report under the new IRS §6050I regulations for cryptocurrency?

Entities in "trade or business" engaging in significant crypto transactions must comply with these reporting requirements.

What are the requirements for reporting cryptocurrency transactions under §6050I?

Detailed information about the transaction, including parties' identities, amounts, and nature, must be reported within 15 days.

How do decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols affect compliance with §6050I?

The anonymity of DeFi complicates compliance, raising significant challenges in identifying parties in transactions.

What penalties might I face for failing to comply with §6050I reporting requirements?

Non-compliance can lead to felony charges, highlighting the importance of understanding and adhering to these reporting obligations.

The expansion of IRS §6050I to include cryptocurrency transactions introduces significant compliance challenges and legal uncertainties. As the industry seeks clarification and navigates these new requirements, staying informed and prepared is more crucial than ever. When in doubt, consult with a crypto tax professional for further guidance.

To stay up to date on the latest, follow TokenTax on Twitter @tokentax.

Zac McClure
Zac McClureCo-Founder & CEO at TokenTax
Zac co-founded TokenTax after his career in international finance and accounting at JPMorgan, Imprint Capital and Bain. He has worked in more than half-dozen countries and received his MBA from the UPenn Wharton School.
Alex Miles
Reviewed byAlex MilesCo-Founder at TokenTax
Prior to TokenTax, Alex worked as a Product Designer at Dropbox and before that Readmill (acquired by Dropbox). He holds a BS in Digital Information Design - Interactive Media from Winthrop University.

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