Crypto Tax UK: How to Work Out What You Need to Pay

Jan 16, 2024

Updated on: Feb 19, 2024

Questions around paying tax on crypto assets tend to rise and fall with the value of underlying crypto assets, and with the rise in Bitcoin over the past year or so, I thought now was a good time to prepare a blog article about crypto and taxes.

Recently the HMRC published guidance discussing how you can make voluntary disclosures of any unpaid tax if you have income or gains from crypto assets which indicates to me they are making a bit more effort to ensure the correct amount of tax is paid on crypto gains.

In the UK, engaging in the buying, selling, trading, or gifting of cryptocurrencies may have tax implications. This article sheds light on the ‘crypto tax UK’ by dissecting your responsibilities as dictated by HMRC’s existing guidelines, outlining possible tax responsibilities, and guiding you through the process of precise reporting for your cryptocurrency transactions to circumvent any fines.

Key Takeaways

  • Crypto transactions in the UK, such as selling, exchanging, or gifting cryptocurrencies, are subject to capital gains tax if profits exceed the annual exempt amount, and may also attract income tax in certain instances, as specified by HMRC.
  • Crypto investors in the UK are required to meticulously document their earnings and report them through a Self Assessment tax return. It is essential to maintain detailed records of all cryptocurrency transactions. Be aware that neglecting to report, or inaccurately reporting, can lead to significant fines.
  • The calculation of crypto gains and losses involves understanding the cost basis, utilizing appropriate rules for basis calculation (Same-Day, Bed and Breakfasting, Section 104), and being aware of allowable deductions to properly assess tax obligations.

Understanding Crypto Tax in the UK

Cryptocurrency coins and financial chart

Cryptoassets in the UK, similar to other assets, are subject to taxation. Bear in mind that your transactions involving cryptocurrencies may attract capital gains tax. Whether you’re selling crypto for fiat currency, exchanging one crypto for another, or using crypto to purchase goods and services, these transactions are taxable events. Remember, gifting crypto can also spark a taxable event.

The tax implications depend on the nature of the transaction and the profits made. If these profits exceed the annual exempt amount, you may need to pay capital gains tax. In some cases, investors may also need to pay income tax. This underpins the significance of understanding the tax consequences of engaging in different transactions involving cryptoassets.

The UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has laid out specific regulations pertaining to crypto tax. As an investor, understanding and complying with these regulations is vital, helping you steer clear of penalties and potentially reduce your tax liability.

Types of Crypto Taxes

In your crypto dealings, you’ll predominantly encounter Capital Gains Tax, which is charged on the profit realized from selling or disposing of crypto assets that have increased in value. For the tax year 2023/24, individuals and personal representatives have a tax-free allowance of £6,000 for capital gains. Aside from Capital Gains Tax, some individuals might also be subject to Income Tax on their crypto activities, depending on the nature and frequency of their transactions. Knowledge of these tax rates is crucial for effectively managing your cryptocurrency tax obligations.

Inheritance Tax is another tax that may be relevant if you hold cryptoassets. In the unfortunate event of the death of a cryptoasset holder, their estate, which includes their cryptocurrency holdings, may be subject to Inheritance Tax. The estate has a tax threshold of £325,000, beyond which Inheritance Tax is due.

Crypto Tax Regulations

Understanding the UK’s crypto tax rules is a multifaceted task, encompassing not only the identification of applicable taxes but also the adherence to HMRC’s detailed guidelines on the calculation and declaration of these taxes. HMRC defines transactions involving cryptoassets as taxable events, particularly for capital gains tax purposes, and explicitly states these are not to be considered as gambling wins or traditional currency trading activities.

HMRC categorizes cryptoassets as a form of taxable property rather than as currency, and they have mechanisms in place to track cryptocurrency transactions. This includes collaborating with various crypto exchanges through a data-sharing initiative to ensure tax compliance. As a result, UK crypto investors are obliged to document and report their dealings with cryptocurrencies to prevent potential legal issues.

The tax ramifications of different crypto transactions can vary. While acquiring cryptoassets through mining may not attract VAT, the resulting capital gains and income from other transactions remain taxable. UK residents involved in crypto must remain vigilant in understanding and meeting their tax obligations associated with different types of crypto activities.

Crypto Tax Obligations for UK Investors

Person organizing financial documents

Understanding your tax obligations is key as a crypto investor in the UK. These involve declaring your income and keeping accurate records of your transactions. Ensuring that you meet these obligations can help you avoid penalties and ensure that you pay the correct amount of tax.

When it comes to reporting your gains, you are required to complete a Self Assessment tax return. This is a document that gives HMRC information about your income, including national insurance contributions, so that they can work out your tax bill. It is also important to report and register capital losses with HMRC as these can be used to offset future gains.

Keeping reliable records of your transactions is also a crucial part of meeting your tax obligations. These records can help you calculate your capital gains and losses accurately and ensure that you comply with tax regulations.

Reporting Crypto Gains and Income

Reporting gains from your crypto investments to HMRC is an important step. This can also include income from mining activities, payments for services, or engage-to-earn activities. The reporting process involves declaring these gains through a Self Assessment tax return.

Determining crypto income/gains involves calculating the fair market value in GBP on the day the coins or tokens were received. This helps accurately determine the taxable value of the income. It is important to remember that if the cumulative proceeds from disposals exceed £49,200 (for disposals before 6 April 2023), you are obligated to report your crypto gains to HMRC, regardless of whether your gains are below the Capital Gains Tax Allowance (and therefore taxable) or not.

Failure to disclose gains can result in substantial penalties, interest charges, and potential criminal consequences. Hence, accurate reporting of all necessary information is essential to steer clear of any complications.

Record-Keeping Requirements

Maintaining detailed records of your crypto transactions goes beyond simple organization. It’s a really important part of ensuring that you can accurately calculate your capital gains and losses and comply with tax regulations. The records should contain the transaction history and the market values of the cryptoassets in pounds sterling at relevant dates, as well as any relevant calculations.

In the world of crypto, transaction data can be complex and difficult to track. This makes it even more important to maintain a comprehensive record of your transactions. Utilizing platforms that track and retain trading information over extended periods can greatly facilitate robust record-keeping and ensure convenient access to data during tax return preparation.

Moreover, maintaining records of your transactions when purchasing with fiat currency can also help you keep track of your cost basis. Accurately calculating your crypto gains and losses is important for your financial records and future planning. It can help you make informed decisions and stay aware of your overall financial standing.

Calculating Crypto Gains and Losses

crypto currency financial charts

Computing the gains and losses from your crypto transactions plays a key role in managing your tax obligations. A capital gain or loss refers to the difference in value between the time of acquisition and the disposal of a crypto asset. This is calculated by subtracting the cost basis from the sale price.

The cost basis of a cryptoasset is determined by its acquisition cost along with any associated transaction fees. When pooling cryptoassets, similar to share pooling, the UK follows the Share Pooling Cost Basis Method, including the Section 104 Rule, which calculates an average cost basis for a pool of identical assets.

It’s also important to be aware of the deductions that you can make when calculating your gains and losses. These can include transaction fees and mining costs. By understanding these deductions, you can ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.

Cost Basis Calculation

The cost basis of your cryptoassets is key in determining your capital gains or losses. This can be calculated using several methods, including the Same-Day Rule, Bed and Breakfasting Rule, and Section 104 Rule.

The Same-Day Rule is used when an investor buys and sells the same cryptocurrency within the same day. This is considered as two separate transactions – the disposal of one asset and the acquisition of another. The Bed and Breakfasting Rule is applied when an investor both sells and buys the same cryptocurrency within a 30-day period. This rule has implications for calculating capital gains or losses.

In addition to these rules, the UK also uses the Share Pooling Cost Basis Method to calculate the cost basis. This involves calculating an average cost basis for a pool of identical assets. This method can help you accurately calculate your capital gains and losses when you sell or exchange your cryptocurrency.

Allowable Deductions

In addition to calculating your gains and losses, it’s also important to consider the deductions that you can make. One of the deductions that you can make is for transaction fees. These can be deducted from your crypto gains.

However, not all expenses associated with crypto transactions can be deducted. For instance, the cost of electricity used for mining is not considered as an allowable deduction for tax purposes in the UK.

Understanding these deductions can help you optimize your tax liability. By taking these deductions into account, you can ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax on your crypto transactions.

Common Crypto Tax Scenarios

Person analyzing cryptocurrency market trends

As a crypto investor, your diverse activities may carry different tax implications. These can include:

  • Trading
  • Mining
  • Staking
  • NFT transactions

It’s important to understand the tax implications of each of these activities to ensure that you pay tax in the correct amount.

Trading Cryptocurrencies

Trading one cryptocurrency for another is a common activity for many crypto investors. Nevertheless, be aware that such activity is viewed as a disposal of the initial asset, which may then attract Capital Gains Tax. This means that you need to calculate the capital gain or loss for each trade that you make.

The calculation involves:

  1. Determining the fair market value of the currency being disposed of in pounds sterling at the time of the trade.
  2. Subtracting the original cost of the disposed asset from this value.
  3. The resulting difference signifies either a taxable capital gain or a capital loss which can be used to offset other capital gains.

The tax treatment for crypto traders may differ depending on their status. Private investors usually incur Capital Gains Tax on profits from their closed positions, whereas self-employed individuals trading cryptocurrencies may be subject to taxation as business income under Income Tax regulations.

NFT Transactions

The crypto world has been swept by Non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Understanding the tax implications is just as important whether you’re buying, selling, or minting NFTs. Purchasing an NFT does not create an immediate tax liability. Taxes may be applicable at a later time. However, subsequent transactions, such as the sale or exchange of the NFT, may have tax implications.

NFTs have unique tax implications, and each one is considered separately for tax purposes. Here are some key points to consider:

  • You need to consider the tax implications for each NFT that you own.
  • Private individuals are typically not required to apply VAT when selling an NFT, but this can change when conducting business transactions.

Understanding the tax implications of NFT transactions can help you plan your activities and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax. By keeping detailed records and understanding the tax rules, you can minimize your tax liability and avoid potential penalties.

Tax Planning Strategies for Crypto Investors

Person planning financial strategy

As a crypto investor, understanding your tax obligations is only half the battle; knowing how to optimize your taxes is equally important. By utilizing tax allowances, timing sales, and gifting cryptoassets, you can potentially reduce your tax liability.

Utilizing Tax Allowances

In the UK, the Capital Gains Tax allowance allows you to earn a certain amount of gain tax-free each year. For crypto investors, this allowance stands at £6,000 (for the 2023/24 tax year). By ensuring that your total gains from crypto investments do not exceed this annual allowance, you can reduce or even eliminate your capital gains tax liability.

However, if your total gains exceed this allowance, you will be required to pay Capital Gains Tax on the excess amount. Therefore, it’s important to keep track of your gains and losses throughout the year to ensure that you stay within the allowance.

Timing of Sales

The timing of your sales can significantly impact your tax liability. Selling assets in a year with lower income can potentially reduce your overall tax rate. It may also help you stay within a lower tax bracket.

In addition, you can also consider tax loss harvesting. This involves selling cryptocurrency at a loss to offset gains from other assets. This strategy can help minimize your capital gains tax.

It’s also important to consider market conditions when timing your sales. Selling assets when prices are stable and less influenced by stressed market conditions can help reduce the potential negative impact on the sale value.

Seeking Professional Help

Despite this guide offering a comprehensive overview of UK crypto tax, the complexities of this field can be overwhelming.

While we do not specialise in the tax implications of buying and selling crypto assets, we do have significant experience with the hundreds of personal tax returns that we filed for our clients every year, some of which inevitably include for buying and selling crypto assets.


In this guide, we have explored the essential aspects of crypto tax in the UK. From understanding the basics of crypto tax regulations to calculating gains and losses, we have delved into the complexities of this field. We have also discussed the obligations of UK investors, including the importance of accurate reporting and record-keeping.

We have explored various tax implications of crypto-related activities, including trading, mining, and NFT transactions. We have also discussed strategies for optimizing crypto taxes, including utilizing tax allowances, timing sales, and gifting cryptoassets.

Navigating the world of crypto tax can be complex and overwhelming. With the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure that you are meeting your obligations and optimizing your tax liability. And remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I avoid paying tax on cryptocurrency UK?

To legally avoid paying tax on cryptocurrency in the UK, you can consider using your crypto to invest in government schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), which can provide tax-free gains if held for at least three years. Additionally, you can explore options such as utilizing tax-free thresholds, pooling thresholds with a spouse, investing in a pension, or donating cryptocurrency to charity.

Do crypto exchanges report to HMRC?

Yes, crypto exchanges report to HMRC, so it’s important to accurately report profits from cryptocurrency transactions to avoid penalties.

How is crypto taxed in the UK?

In the UK, capital gains tax is typically applied to profits from crypto investments. Individuals have a tax-free allowance of £6,000 (as of the tax year 2023/24), and any gains above this threshold are subject to capital gains tax, with rates varying depending on your income tax band.

What are the obligations of UK crypto investors?

As a UK crypto investor, you must accurately report gains and losses to HMRC and keep detailed transaction records, in accordance with tax regulations.

What are the implications of mining and staking for taxes?

Mining and staking activities may result in disposals or be categorized as income. Staking crypto and receiving rewards could involve disposals, while regular rewards from mining or staking are likely to be considered as income and subject to Income Tax.

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