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What To Expect From An IRS Crypto Audit

Zac McClureUpdated at: Jun 24th, 2020

Should you be worried about crypto tax audits?

We have seen situations where the IRS has audited taxpayers specifically for their crypto taxes.

Do not panic if you receive an audit request. While the audit response may have many questions, transaction history requests, and a quick two week deadline, you likely have all the information available in your crypto tax accounts.

The IRS generally will audit back up to six years, so you should keep your records stored for that long in either a crypto tax program or in your own spreadsheet. When responding to the IRS, the best practice is to answer each request transparently and in an organized manner. 

What we’ve seen the IRS ask for in an audit

While audit requests can vary in content, there are a few typical preliminary questions the IRS will ask about your crypto taxes. You can expect that they will ask you to disclose all of your accounts, including:

  • “All wallet ID’s and blockchain addresses owned or controlled by taxpayer.”

  • “All digital currency exchanges (DCE) and peer-to-peer (P2P) facilitators (e.g., Coinbase, Paxful or Localbitcoins.com) (foreign and domestic) ... with associated user IDs, email addresses, IP addresses, and account numbers relating to those platforms.” 

As answered in the record keeping IRS notice response (Q&A 45), the IRS also requires the following records for every transaction:

  • “The date and time each unit of virtual currency was acquired,”

  • “The basis and FMV of each unit at time of acquisition,”

  • “The date and time each unit was sold, exchanged, of otherwise disposed of,”

  • “The FMV of each unit at the time of sale, exchange, or disposition, and the amount of money or the FMV of property received for each unit.”

  • “Explanation of the method used to compute basis relating to the sale or other disposition of virtual currency.” (Note that this refers to the accounting method).

Other questions we have seen can be very expansive, such as asking for “all correspondence, (e.g., emails, texts, tweets, etc.) with all counterparties to any virtual transactions.” Once you submit your response, the IRS may request follow up information based on your responses.

Tools to help you with a crypto tax audit

The easiest way to prepare for any potential audit is to purchase a crypto tax service with audit support, like our VIP crypto tax plan. You can leverage our audit experience to help you respond quickly to the IRS instead of trying to put together materials on your own. 

The TokenTax dashboard also conveniently stores all your information from previous years so that you can easily share any past tax year with the IRS. All of these features are reason to choose TokenTax to manage your crypto taxes.

For the more complex audit questions, you need to be able to show proof that your tax calculation tracks all cost bases for your audit trail. Having a CPA on hand will help you respond with details about your lending activities and margin trading. It will help immensely to have crypto tax experts who have successfully guided individuals through audits before.

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

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