U.S. Treasury FinCEN and Related Information


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Treasury Department has issued guidance on banking and other aspects of virtual currency.

  • 5/5/15 - First FinCEN fine against a Virtual Currency Exchanger - Ripple Labs, Inc.
  • 10/27/14 release of two administrative rulings:
    • FIN-2014-R011, Request for Administrative Ruling on the Application fo FinCEN's Regulations to a Virtual Currency Trading Platform (Company with a trading system to match buyers and sellers of convertible virtual currency and real currency found to be a money transmitter.)
    • FIN-2014-R012, Request for Administrative Ruling on the Application of FinCEN's Regulations to a Virtual Currency Payment System (Company that will provide a system to enable merchants to receive payments in bitcoin, found to be a money transmitter. Company's main objective is to serve hotels in four Latin American countries where currency controls and inflation pose foreign exchange risks when the hotels serve foreign customers.)
  • 1/30/14 release about two pieces of guidance
    • FIN-2014-R001 - Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Virtual Currency Mining Operations
    • FIN-2014-R002 - Application of FinCen's Regulations to Virtual Currency Software Development and Certain Investment Activity
  • 3/18/13 release about new guidance
    • FIN-2013-G001 - Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
  • CFTC holds that bitcoins are a commodity (9/17/15 release)
  • Remarks From Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen on "Addressing the Illicit Finance Risks of Virtual Currency" 3/18/14
  • "Treasury's Cohen Warns Unregistered Bitcoin Exchanges," by Michael J. Casey, Wall Street Journal, 3/18/13

Articles and Information about Virtual Currencies & Blockchain Technology

Exchange Rate Information 

These are samples, not an exhaustive list.

This webpage is intended to provide information and links about taxation of virtual currencies in the U.S. and elsewhere, and related information.


U.S. Income Taxation


In March 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21 and Information Release IR-2014-36, on the income tax treatment of virtual, convertible currency, such as bitcoin. The IRS has ruled that virtual currency is treated as property, rather than currency for tax purposes. That means it needs to be valued when used (such as to buy goods or to compensate an employee) to determine tax consequences. For example, assume Jane purchased X bitcoins last year for $100. Today, she uses that X bitcoin amount to buy clothes worth $120. Jane has a $20 gain on this transaction. Assuming she is an investor or trader in bitcoin (rather than a dealer), this is a capital gain which is taxed at a lower rate for federal income tax purposes than other income such as wages (assuming it is a long-term gain). Jane must keep records to track the basis of all virtual currencies she purchases and identify which ones she uses when she buys something. Basically, Jane is bartering.  For more on the tax rules and issues, exchange rates, and other information, see the links below.

21st Century Taxation blog posts and presentations with links to information about taxation of virtual currencies 


Taxation and Regulation in Other Countries


Please note - this is not a complete list

Government Reports, Advisories, Hearings, Etc.


State Information

  • California Dept of Business Oversight, Advisory on virtual currencies, 4/30/14 - press release + text
  • Florida court rules Bitcoin is not money - The State of Florida v Espinoza, F14-2923 (11th Judicial Circuit, 7/22/16) - see ruling in this 7/25/16 Miami Herald article. This is a money services business ruling, not a tax one. The court explained Bitcoin and stated: "This Court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, that Bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money. ... Bitcoins ... are not monetary instruments." Thus, the court found that rather than exchanging money, the person sold property.
  • Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner Guidance Document MT 2014-01 (6/6/14) - in some cases, exchange might be considered money transmission
  • Michigan - Sales tax information in Treasury Dept's Nov. 2015 newsletter
  • Missouri LR 7411 (9/12/14) - no sales tax imposed when customers obtain bitcoin from ATM because the bitcoin is intangible.
  • New Jersey - TAM 2015-1 (4/2/15)
  • New York - sales and income tax treatment of virtual currency - TSB-M-14(5)C, (7)(I, (17)S (12/5/14)
  • New York State, Dept of Financial Services
  • Texas Dept of Banking, Supervisory Memorandum 1037 (4/3/14) - generally finds that exchanging virtual currency for sovereign currency is not a currency exchange under Texas law.
  • Washington Department of Revenue - basic info


Virtual Currency & Blockchain Technology

21st Century Taxation

Tax Reform - Modernizing Tax Systems,      Following Principles of Good Tax Policy ​