What you need to know if you are donating virtual currency

As we head into the last few months of the year, many people will consider making additional donations to charitable organizations. If you make those donations in the form of virtual currency, the IRS has provided some answers to commonly asked questions on the subject.

Q. If I donate virtual currency to a charity, will I have to recognize income, gain, or loss?

A: Your charitable contribution deduction is generally equal to the fair market value of the virtual currency at the time of the donation if you have held the virtual currency for more than one year.  If you have held the virtual currency for one year or less at the time of the donation, your deduction is the lesser of your basis in the virtual currency or the virtual currency’s fair market value at the time of the contribution. 

Q: When my charitable organization accepts virtual currency donations, what are my donor acknowledgment responsibilities?

A: A charitable organization can assist a donor by providing the contemporaneous written acknowledgment that the donor must obtain if claiming a deduction of $250 or more for the virtual currency donation

A charitable organization is generally required to sign the donor’s Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, acknowledging receipt of charitable deduction property if the donor is claiming a deduction of  more than $5,000 and if the donor presents the Form 8283 to the organization for signature to substantiate the tax deduction. The signature of the donee on Form 8283 does not represent concurrence in the appraised value of the contributed property.  The signature represents acknowledgement of receipt of the property described in Form 8283 on the date specified and that the donee understands the information reporting requirements imposed by section 6050L on dispositions of the donated property (see discussion of Form 8282 in FAQ 36). See Form 8283 instructions for more information.

Q: When my charitable organization accepts virtual currency donations, what are my IRS reporting requirements?

A: A charitable organization that receives virtual currency should treat the donation as a noncash contribution. See Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, for more information. Tax-exempt charity responsibilities include the following:

  • Charities report non-cash contributions on a Form 990-series annual return and its associated Schedule M, if applicable.
  • Charities must file Form 8282, Donee Information Return, if they sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of charitable deduction property (or any portion thereof) – such as the sale of virtual currency for real currency within three years after the date they originally received the property and give the original donor a copy of the form.
Posted in