A couple months ago, I posted about the problems with taxing bitcoins. In short, we didn’t know if bitcoins were currency or property. Largely, of course, the difference is immaterial: receipt of currency or property constitutes the receipt of taxable income, and using property or foreign currency to acquire goods or services constitutes a taxable realization event.[fn1] The most significant difference is that if bitcoins were property, any gain or loss could be capital, whereas if they were a currency, that gain or loss would essentially always be ordinary.
Over at Slate, Matt Yglesias mentions that, in addition to the existential questions surrounding bitcoin, there are a handful of practical questions that need to be worked out. Specifically, he wants to know if bitcoin transactions should be taxed and, if so, how they should be taxed. Continue reading