How to Claim Crypto Losses on Taxes: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular among investors in recent years, with Bitcoin being the most well-known. While it can offer exciting potential returns, investing in cryptocurrencies can also result in losses. However, did you know that you may be able to claim crypto losses on your taxes? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of claiming crypto losses on your tax return.

What are Crypto Losses?

Crypto losses occur when your cryptocurrency investments decrease in value or if you sell them at a loss compared to what they originally cost. Such a situation could arise due to market fluctuations, frauds or exchange hacks; thus it’s important for crypto holders and traders alike to watch their portfolio closely.

Why Should You Claim Your Crypto Losses

Claiming your cryptocurrency loses helps reduce the overall tax liability and even generate refunds from past gains made – thus reducing any significant amount one might owe the government.

Step 1: Determine If You Have Capital Gains/Losses

The first step is figuring out if you have capital gains or losses related to your cryptocurrency investments over the year. Keep track of purchase and sales activities during all times for smooth tax season transitions.

Substep – Calculate Capital Gains/Losses

You must calculate your capital gains/losses based on each individual asset/crypto transaction by using either FIFO (First-in-first-out), LIFO (Last-in-first-out) method – but remember whichever unique accounting methodology used throughout should always stay consistent.


Say that John bought five Bitcoins at $10,000 per coin last year before selling two coins for $6,000 each this year while still holding onto his remaining three coins purchased last year.

* First Batch: 5 BTC x $10k = $50k
* Second batch(2 BTC sold): 2 BTC sold for $6,000 = ($12,000)
* John's remaining Holding: 3BTC
* Total Losses (capital losses): $38k

Step 2: Understand IRS Rules on Cryptocurrency

The next step is understanding the IRS rules regarding cryptocurrency. The IRS announced that virtual currency holdings are to be treated as capital assets and taxed according to regulations outlined in the tax code.

Step 3: Fill Out Form 8949 and Schedule D

Form 8949 and Schedule D of your tax return have sections dedicated to reporting capital gains or losses made from cryptocurrency investments using information compiled during step one.

Substep – Understanding Forms

  • Form 8949 is intended to report sales earned through cryptocurrencies in details such as a description of the digital asset being sold along with any associated dates or prices paid.

  • Schedule D summarizes all items listed in form 8949. It also lists other financial transactions subject by taxpayers labeling them; “short term” if held less than a year while others regarded as “long-term” after holding more than a year before selling.

Keep track of all related expenses such as trading fees, commissions among others incurred when buying/selling crypto assets for future reference use.


Using our example above where John suffered losses totaling $38k, let us record this on both forms of his final return,

  • Form-8949:
    · Box A Date Acquired | Box C Date Sold Or Disposed Of | Box E Amount Of Gain/Loss
    · Description Of Property (e.g., Bitcoin)
    Same information provided above based on cost basis method FIFO/LIFO


  • Schedule-D:

    Short-Term Capital Gains And Losses — Assets Held One Year or Less
        Totals in column (g) Short-term transactions reported on Form(s) 8949 with Box E checked
        Totals for all short-term transactions reported on Form 8949
    Long-Term Capital Gains and Losses — Assets Held More Than One Year
        Totals in Column (h): Long-term transactions with Box F checked on Form(s) 8949

Step 4: File Your Tax Return

The final step is to submit your tax return by the due date. Be sure that you have included all relevant information, such as form 8949 and schedule D, correctly completed.

Closing Thoughts

Claiming cryptocurrency losses or gains helps offset more taxable income subject when filing taxes. Following these simple steps will ensure a smooth process come tax season while also keeping compliant with the ever-changing regulations from IRS.

Remember to keep records of each investment transaction throughout the year; whether it be purchasing or selling assets/crypto, noting exact dates and amounts every time as well other related expenses incurred during such trading activities.


Sure, here are three popular FAQs regarding claiming crypto losses on taxes with their answers:

Do you have to report cryptocurrency losses on your taxes?
Answer: Yes, if you sold or exchanged cryptocurrency at a loss during the tax year, you should report it on your tax return. This is because the IRS considers cryptocurrency to be property for tax purposes and any gains or losses must be reported accordingly.

How do I calculate my cryptocurrency losses for tax reporting?
Answer: To calculate your cryptocurrency losses for tax reporting purposes, you need to determine the cost basis of each transaction (i.e., purchase price plus any fees) and compare that to the sale price of each transaction (minus any fees). If the sale price is less than the cost basis, this indicates a loss. You can use various online tools and software programs designed specifically for calculating crypto capital gains and losses.

Can I carry forward my crypto losses to future years?
Answer: Yes, if your total capital losses exceed your capital gains in a given year due to crypto investments or other transactions, you can carry over up $3,000 in net capital loss per year ($1,500 if married filing separately) onto future years’ returns until all unused capital loss amounts have been claimed. It’s important to keep track of these carryovers as they accumulate over time since they will reduce taxable income in future years when there may be more profitable investment returns that generate taxable income