Traders of cryptocurrencies may be taking some shortcuts when it comes to reporting capital gains from like-kind exchanges. The IRS believes far fewer traders are declaring capital gains than actually have earned increases in income.
It doesn’t sound like cryptocurrency investors, and traders are duly complying with Section 1031′s elaborate requirements. Few disclose Section 1031 transactions on the required Form 8824. A failed Section 1031 transaction bars tax deferral, and it generates current taxable income. Recently, the IRS served a “John Doe” summons (the toughest kind) to the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, to obtain its customer list for investors and traders with cryptocurrency transactions worth over $20,000. The IRS calculated that less than 900 taxpayers reported capital gain or losses on cryptocurrency transactions in 2015, an alarmingly small number. It’s feasible that many taxpayers inappropriately tried to use Section 1031 like-kind exchanges on cryptocurrency exchanges, and did not disclose it to the IRS on Form 8824, or otherwise.