CoinTracking recently interviewed CPA Laura Walter, Crypto Tax Girl, to find out why she decided to become a CoinTracking affiliate partner.
CoinTracking.info affiliates earn 20% of each sale they generate and customers that use the link to sign up receive a 10% discount on any subscription purchase. Learn more here.
Tell us about the origin of Crypto Tax Girl. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the early days?
I started my career as a CPA like many do, working for one of the big-four public accounting firms. I learned a lot and liked the work, but the hours were really long and it was taking over my life, so I decided to quit my job and take six months off to travel the world with my husband. It was really fun, but about two months into traveling I started to miss doing taxes.
It was February, so I had to do my own taxes, and I realized that I needed to report my crypto sales for the year, but didn’t know how to do it. I then spent the next few days reading all about crypto taxation and realized that it was a lot more complicated than I realized. I figured that if I was having a hard time figuring it out, and I’m a CPA, that the average person must be even more confused.
So I started my Crypto Tax Girl twitter account to help share free tax crypto tips, and within a few days I had people messaging me asking me to do their taxes for them. Because I was missing doing taxes I said yes to a few of them, and then more and more requests kept coming in, and then within a few months I had hundred of clients and my own full-fledged crypto tax firm. There was a lot of learning over that first year, and I’m so lucky to have had such awesome clients who trusted me and had patience with me as we figured out their complex tax issues together.
How did you get involved in cryptocurrency?
When I was in college, I had a professor who was obsessed with Bitcoin. It was only 2012, but he talked about it all the time and even made us write a paper about it. I thought it was fascinating, but I was also a broke college student, so I didn’t buy any. I then met my husband in 2014 and he is a programmer, so he loved the technology behind crypto. He would always update me on Bitcoin news and he talked about it so much that for my birthday he gave me a coupon that said “redeem to not hear about bitcoin for 24 hours.” Little did he know that a few years later, I would now be the one who couldn’t stop talking about it with Crypto Tax Girl.
What motivated Crypto Tax Girl to create a series of courses that explain how to get the most out of CoinTracking?
For all of 2018 I operated my tax firm all by myself. I went from not even having Crypto Tax Girl as an idea at the beginning of the year, to having over 15,000 followers on Twitter by the end of the year, and about 100 new emails in my inbox a day.
There was so much confusion around crypto taxation, and a lot of people needed help. I wanted to help all of them, but I just didn’t have the time to do so, so I created the CoinTracking course that essentially walks you step-by-step through my entire process and easily explains how to take all of your data and consolidate it, reconcile it, and then report it on your tax return.
It has received amazing reviews and so many people have been able to complete their crypto tax calculations quickly all on their own without having to waste time learning a whole new system or spinning their wheels when they got stuck during the reconciliation process.
How does CoinTracking compare to other crypto tax calculators that you’ve tried?
It has way more features than any other calculators out there! There are some that are way more simple, but not near as powerful. As a CPA, I love the tools it has to help me during the reconciliation process to identify holes in my clients’ data, double check that all data has been accounted for, etc. It also supports almost all exchanges and wallets, which is really helpful since I have such a diverse set of clients.
Are most of your clients local? Or do you mostly work with people around the world via the internet?
I am based in Utah, but I actually only have a handful of Utah clients. My clients are scattered all across the US, and I even have a few international clients. I think at this point Crypto Tax Girl has a client in almost every single state!
Is there anything unique about the way that Utah views cryptocurrency?
There have been bills passed in Utah regarding crypto, but nothing that has transpired into official law yet. A large Utah-based company, Overstock.com, has been accepting crypto as a form of payment since 2014 though, and so the state is currently looking at the benefits of the expanded use of crypto state-wide.
Is there anything that US-based crypto traders should know about how the IRS views cryptocurrency?
Crypto is treated as property in the US, not currency, which means that any time you sell, trade, or spend your crypto you create a taxable event. If your crypto goes up or down in value from the time you acquire it until the time that you create a taxable event, then you will create a capital gain or loss, which is reportable on your tax return.
What are some of the most common mistakes that crypto traders make when they submit their tax returns?
A lot of people skip the reconciliation process. They just upload all of their data into one or more crypto tax calculators and then skip straight to the tax report without reviewing their data, confirming that nothing is missing, and reclassifying their transactions, where needed. Because they skip this step, they are usually surprised by the final number, which is usually when they will reach out to me or take my course to figure out how to fix it.
Do you think that the IRS will ever change the way that it views cryptocurrency, or will existing legislation remain the same?
This is a tricky question because I know the current way isn’t perfect, but I also don’t have a perfect solution on how to fix it. I would love for it to be treated more like foreign currency in the way that if you use crypto to buy things under a certain dollar threshold that you won’t be taxed on the gains from that sale. It’s no fun to use your crypto to buy a cup of coffee knowing that you will have to calculate and report the ~$1.00 taxable gain on that transaction. I especially love paying with crypto, so I think implementing some sort of de minimis tax law would really encourage a more wide-spread adoption of crypto.
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What can you do with CoinTracking?
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12 accounting methods (e.g., FIFO, LIFO, HMRC, ACB).
Generate fully compliant Tax Reports worldwide.
Disclaimer: All the information provided above is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional investment, legal, or tax advice. You should conduct your own research or consult with a professional financial advisor when investing.