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What happens if I have over $1,000,000 in Bitcoin and I convert it?

What happens if I have over $1,000,000 in Bitcoin and I convert it? Would I be penalized or taxed?

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June 2019

The IRS considers Bitcoin, and all virtual currency, to be property and will tax the gains in the property whenever you sell or exchange your Bitcoin for another asset (including gold or even other virtual currency). So you will have to pay taxes on the amount the Bitcoin has increased in value since you bought it. Below are additional key tax issues related to virtual currency.

“For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property. General tax principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. ”  — IRS Notification 2014-21


The tax will be on the gains you realized when you traded the virtual for the Gold. You would also owe a tax if you traded the virtual currency for any other asset or exchanged the currency for a good or service. Basically whenever you ‘dispose’ of the virtual currency, the IRS is going to want it’s cut. You would take the Fair Market Value of the virtual currency and subtract your Basis to determine your gain. And then apply the tax rate to the gain. The tax rate you pay depends on a number of different factors based on your personal situation.


Fair Market Value can be determined based on the value (in U.S. Dollars) of the virtual currency or the value of the good or service you exchange it for.  As the fair market value for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies bounce around all day long, this may be more difficult than it sounds. Generally, taking the average of the high and the low values on the date of the sale is a reasonable method in the eyes of the IRS, but you will want to seek professional guidance.


Basis is currently a little difficult to ascertain for virtual currencies, but if this is the only virtual currency you own then you can take the price you paid for the Bitcoin when you bought it. The difficulty becomes if you’ve purchased Bitcoin at multiple periods for differing prices, as there is no clear guidance regarding which price to use. The IRS has announced new regulations are forthcoming on determining the basis for Bitcoin, but they may be a few years away. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a professional tax preparer as there is a lot of grey area surrounding calculating the taxation of your Bitcoin gains.


With such a large amount of Bitcoin, you will want to have professional help. Using a Certified Public Accountant to help file your taxes is likely a good idea. The fees you pay in hiring the accountant will likely be offset in tax savings from a more accurate and favorable calculation. And avoiding potential IRS penalties, of course, can save you significantly more.

Since you have large amounts of money in Bitcoin, you likely want to work with a fiduciary and fee-only financial planner. A professional adviser can help you minimize tax liability, avoid scams and predatory 'advisers' who will come after you, and diversify your investments to include other less risky investments in addition to your Bitcoin holdings. (Although many advisers would try to convince you to get rid of Bitcoin altogether so shop around).

June 2019