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When Virtual Currency Positions Are Subject to the Wash Sales Rule

Under the wash sales rule, taxpayers cannot deduct a loss on the sale of stock or securities if the taxpayer purchases the same or substantially similar assets a short time before or after the sale that triggered the loss. This article examines possible application of the wash sales rule to virtual currencies.

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Can a Virtual Currency Position Be Treated as a Security for Tax Purposes?

Some virtual currency units and positions are treated as securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and US courts. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), however, has told taxpayers that it views convertible virtual currency as property, not foreign currency, for federal tax purposes. Lacking clear guidance from the IRS or the Department of the Treasury, this article addresses issues that may help determine whether Internal Revenue Code provisions that apply to securities might also apply to transactions involving virtual currencies and positions.

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