What are Stablecoins?
Stablecoins were developed to tether the price of certain cryptocurrencies to the value of a fiat currency, such as the dollar. Some traders have used a strategy of purchasing stablecoins and then using them to trade for other cryptocurrencies. They are often surprised when they see a capital gain or loss incurred when these coins are traded for other coins or sold based on their price when purchased/sold.
Why are Stablecoin Sells and Trades Taxed?
Stablecoins often equal the value of the U.S. dollar, however they are treated as property by the IRS because they are cryptocurrency assets. That means that sales or exchanges of stablecoins must be reported on your crypto taxes — even if you had no gain or loss. Even if the stablecoin has a 1:1 exchange ratio with the U.S. Dollar, it is not the same as cash. For tax purposes, the IRS treats all cryptocurrencies as property subject to capital gains tax.
Buying stablecoins with cash and holding them is a non-taxable event, but the following are taxable events:
Paying for goods and services with stablecoins.
Receiving stablecoins in exchange for goods and services.
Converting other cryptocurrencies into stablecoins and vice-versa.
More Information on these Stablecoin Taxable Events:
Paying for goods and services with stablecoins:
This is because the IRS treats it like a sale or exchange of an asset, which is subject to capital gains tax. Technically, if the stablecoin is pegged to the dollar at a 1:1 ratio, the capital gain is zero and there is no tax owed. But the transaction must still be recorded and reported, just like if you were buying and selling a stock at zero net gain/loss. Otherwise, you risk attracting an IRS audit to determine whether you underreported taxable income.
Receiving stablecoins in exchange for goods and services:
It is the same principle as receiving payment in fiat currency, which is income subject to tax. The fair market value of the cryptocurrency as of the date of receipt determines its value for income reporting purposes.
With stablecoins, it is easy to calculate because of the 1:1 ratio. Receiving 100 USDT is the equivalent of receiving $100 cash.
Although, spending the 100 USDT is not the same as spending $100 cash – rather, the transaction is considered a liquidation of property (and as such is subject to capital gains). Again, if the value of the stablecoin is pegged to the dollar, you are not going to have capital gains, but the transaction still must be reported.
Converting other cryptocurrencies into stablecoins and vice-versa:
Using stablecoins to purchase other cryptocurrencies is a sale of the stablecoin that must be reported to the IRS, even if the capital gain/loss is $0.
Stablecoins such as USDC and USDT are still considered to be cryptocurrency, and as such, any coin-to-coin trade or sale of these coins would be considered a capital gain/loss that must be reported to the IRS in your tax forms.
When you import your exchanges and wallets into ZenLedger, these will automatically populate for you and calculate with the rest of your cryptocurrency transactions for your reports.
Buying stablecoins with fiat (USD) is NOT a taxable event. Example: USD to USDT is not taxable.
Selling stablecoins into fiat or trading stablecoins for a cryptocurrency are taxable transactions (capital gain or loss) and would appear on your IRS Form 8949. Example: USDC to USD is a taxable transaction based on the difference between the value of the USDC when purchased and the value when it was sold, though the difference will most often be $0.
Trading another cryptocurrency for a stablecoin or vice versa is also a taxable transaction, with capital gains or losses realized on the incoming coin. Example: BTC to USDT would have a taxable event on the value of the BTC when acquired and the value when sold.
This information is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing financial, legal, investment, accounting, or tax advice. You should contact your CPA or other qualified tax professional to obtain advice regarding your particular issue or problem.