Taxation of Cryptocurrency in Canada

published on 18 January 2024

When it comes to cryptocurrency taxation in Canada, most people find themselves confused about the specific rules and best practices to follow.

In this post, you'll get a comprehensive overview of how cryptocurrency is taxed in Canada, covering key concepts like capital gains, income reporting, tax tools, forms, strategies, and more.

You'll learn specifics like how the CRA classifies crypto, tax calculator tools to use, record-keeping requirements, how to calculate gains and losses, tax minimization strategies, and how to handle complex situations like DeFi, forks, mining, and NFTs.

Introduction to the Taxation of Cryptocurrency in Canada

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have seen rapid growth and adoption in Canada in recent years. As digital assets built on blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies have unique properties that make their taxation complex compared to traditional assets.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides guidance on the taxation of cryptocurrency transactions for purposes like business income, capital gains, and barter transactions. The core principles are:

  • Cryptocurrencies are treated as commodities by the CRA, not as money or foreign currency. This means using crypto to pay for goods or services leads to a barter transaction.
  • Buying and selling crypto for investment purposes triggers capital gains taxes. The capital gain/loss is calculated based on the difference between your cost base and the proceeds when you dispose of the coins.
  • Cryptocurrency received through mining, airdrops, hard forks, or salary payments constitutes taxable business income. The fair market value of the coins at the time of acquisition is generally considered business income.
  • Exchanging a cryptocurrency for another digital currency is treated as a taxable disposition by the CRA. Even trading Bitcoin for Ethereum would trigger capital gains.

So in summary, while innovative, cryptocurrencies are viewed as taxable digital commodities by Canadian authorities. Understanding how to properly track and report crypto transactions is key to remaining compliant as usage grows.

How is crypto taxed in Canada?

Crypto tax rates in Canada for 2024 Canada has no short- or long-term capital gains tax rates. Rather, crypto capital gains in Canada are taxed at the same rate as Federal Income Tax and Provincial Income Tax. Note you'll only pay tax on 50% of your total capital gains as an individual crypto holder.

Cryptocurrency is treated as a commodity by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This means that any gains or losses from selling or trading crypto are taxed as capital gains or losses.

Here are some key things to know about crypto taxes in Canada:

  • You need to report all your crypto transactions, including trading, selling, gifting, mining, staking rewards, and more.
  • 50% of your total capital gains are taxable, no matter how long you held the crypto. There are no special long-term capital gains rates.
  • Losses can be used to offset gains in the current or future tax years.
  • Business income tax rules apply if you are actively trading crypto like a business. This includes things like inventory tracking.
  • You may need to pay GST/HST on crypto purchases and sales depending on the type of transaction.

Some tips when dealing with crypto taxes:

  • Keep detailed records of all your crypto transactions.
  • Use a crypto tax calculator to simplify calculations. Popular options include Koinly, CoinTracker, and CryptoTrader.Tax.
  • Consider working with an accountant if you have extensive or complex crypto activity.

Make sure to properly report crypto taxes to avoid penalties and audits from the CRA. The rules can be complex so take the time to understand how crypto is taxed in Canada.

Is cryptocurrency considered a foreign asset in Canada?

Cryptocurrency and other blockchain-based assets are generally considered "specified foreign property" in Canada. This means that Canadian residents who hold cryptocurrency with a total cost basis exceeding CAD $100,000 at any point during the tax year are required to file form T1135 with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The key requirements for an asset to be considered "specified foreign property" are that it must be:

  • Situated, deposited or held outside of Canada
  • Owned by a Canadian resident
  • Have a total cost amount of more than CAD $100,000 at any time during the year

Since cryptocurrencies and NFTs exist on global, decentralized blockchain networks outside of Canada, they meet the "situated, deposited or held outside Canada" criteria.

There is an exemption for "specified foreign property" that is used or held exclusively in an active business. However, the CRA has stated that cryptocurrency is generally considered a form of investment rather than for exclusive business use. Therefore, the business use exemption likely does not apply in most cases.

In summary, Canadian residents who hold over CAD $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency or NFTs during the tax year must file form T1135 with the CRA to declare this specified foreign property. Keeping detailed records of all cryptocurrency transactions is essential in order to accurately report any capital gains or losses for tax purposes.

How do I cash out crypto in Canada?

There are a few options for cashing out cryptocurrency in Canada:


The most common way to cash out crypto is through a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or Kraken. You can sell your crypto for Canadian dollars and then withdraw the funds to your bank account. The advantage is exchanges make it easy to cash out crypto. The downside is exchanges typically charge higher fees compared to other cash out methods.

Crypto Brokers

Using a crypto broker like Netcoins simplifies cashing out Bitcoin into cash. You sell your crypto to the broker and receive the funds directly into your bank account. Brokers tend to offer better exchange rates and lower fees compared to exchanges. The tradeoff is brokers have lower trading volumes so prices can be less competitive.

Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs allow you to convert crypto into cash on the spot. They are located throughout major Canadian cities. Bitcoin ATMs offer convenience but typically charge very high fees around 15-20%. They also enforce low transaction limits unless you provide identifying information.

P2P Marketplaces

Peer-to-peer platforms like LocalBitcoins connect you directly with crypto buyers. This allows you to negotiate more competitive rates. However, P2P transactions come with increased risks as you deal with anonymous strangers. There is potential for fraud or scams.

In summary, crypto exchanges and brokers tend to offer the best experience balancing fees, transaction volumes, and ease-of-use for most Canadian crypto investors looking to cash out into fiat currency. Bitcoin ATMs or P2P platforms may suit investors requiring instant liquidation or willing to take on more risk for better rates.

What is the crypto limit in Canada?

Under the new regulations, cryptocurrency traders in Ontario utilizing Newton and other Canadian crypto platforms will be subject to an annual net buy limit of $30,000 CAD for all cryptocurrencies except Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).

This limit restricts the amount of cryptocurrency individuals can purchase through regulated crypto platforms in Canada each year. The limit is aimed at protecting retail investors from taking on too much risk in the volatile crypto markets.

The $30,000 CAD annual limit applies to all cryptocurrencies besides the major ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum. So altcoins and smaller cap cryptocurrencies fall under this restriction.

Some key points about the crypto purchase limit in Canada:

  • Applies only to regulated crypto trading platforms in Canada that deal with fiat on-ramps and off-ramps. Peer-to-peer platforms may not be affected.
  • The limit is per individual, not per platform. You cannot buy $30k at one exchange and another $30k at a different one.
  • The limit resets every calendar year. It's not a lifetime cap.
  • Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) are exempt from the limit due to their status as more established crypto assets.

The regulation is controversial in the crypto community, with some arguing it infringes on financial freedoms while others believing it necessary to protect less informed retail traders. But for now, the $30k limit is the new reality for most crypto traders in Canada.


Understanding the Canadian Tax Landscape for Cryptocurrency

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) treats cryptocurrency as a commodity for tax purposes. This means that trading or selling cryptocurrency can trigger capital gains taxes.

The Role of the CRA in Cryptocurrency Taxation

The CRA has provided some guidance on the tax treatment of cryptocurrency transactions:

  • Buying and selling cryptocurrency is subject to capital gains tax. The capital gain is calculated as the difference between the sale price and the purchase price.
  • Receiving cryptocurrency for services is treated as barter transactions. The fair market value of the cryptocurrency on the day it is received must be included as business income.
  • Cryptocurrency used to pay for goods and services must be valued in Canadian dollars. This value is included in the business revenue.

Classification of Cryptocurrency for Tax Purposes

The CRA classifies cryptocurrency as a commodity and not a currency. This means that it is subject to the following tax implications:

  • Capital gains tax - Applies when cryptocurrency is sold at a profit. The capital gain is taxed at 50% of your marginal tax rate.
  • Business income tax - Applies if cryptocurrency is received as payment for goods/services provided. The value at the time of transaction is treated as business income.

Crypto Tax Canada Calculator: Tools for Compliance

There are several cryptocurrency tax calculators that can help individuals and businesses stay compliant:

  • Koinly - Automatically generates capital gains/losses reports for the CRA. Syncs exchange accounts and wallets.
  • CoinTracking - Tracks crypto portfolio across exchanges and generates tax reports. Has CRA-friendly reports.
  • ZenLedger - Tax calculator and portfolio tracker. Optimized reports for both personal and business.

Record-Keeping Requirements for Cryptocurrency Transactions

The CRA requires extensive records of all crypto transactions in order to accurately report taxes. Records should include:

  • Date, time, amount, and type of cryptocurrency for each transaction
  • Fiat currency value of the cryptocurrency at the time of transaction
  • Digital wallet records and keys to prove ownership of cryptocurrency
  • Exchange records such as monthly statements

Maintaining detailed records is essential for minimizing taxes owed. Using a cryptocurrency tax calculator can help streamline record-keeping and tax reporting.

Calculating Cryptocurrency Taxes in Canada

Cryptocurrency taxation in Canada can seem complex, but following some key guidelines can simplify the process.

How to Calculate Capital Gains and Income from Cryptocurrency

When calculating cryptocurrency taxes, you need to track:

  • Capital gains from selling or trading crypto assets
  • Income received from cryptocurrency activities like mining, staking, lending, etc.

To determine capital gains, subtract the cost basis (purchase price + fees) from the sale proceeds. Fifty percent of the capital gain gets added to your income.

For income, the fair market value of crypto received from activities like mining or staking gets added to your taxable income.

Keep detailed records of all transactions and the dollar value on those dates. An accounting professional can assist with calculations.

Utilizing a Crypto Tax Calculator for Accurate Reporting

Using a cryptocurrency tax calculator simplifies reporting for individuals. These tools connect to exchanges and wallets to automatically import transaction history. The software can:

  • Track capital gains and losses across platforms
  • Generate necessary tax forms with data pre-populated
  • Identify optimization opportunities to reduce tax obligations

Leading crypto tax solutions also support CRA reporting requirements. Using these tools reduces errors and saves significant time come tax season.

How to Claim Crypto Losses on Taxes in Canada

If you realized net capital losses from cryptocurrency investing, these can be used to offset capital gains from other investments for tax purposes.

To claim losses:

  • Determine the adjusted cost base and fair market value to calculate capital losses
  • Report losses on Schedule 3 of your T1 tax return
  • Carry back capital losses up to 3 years to amend previous tax returns
  • Carry forward indefinitely to offset future capital gains

Consult a tax professional to utilize crypto losses to maximize tax savings.

CRA Cryptocurrency Tax Forms and Filing Process

When filing federal taxes that involve cryptocurrency, include:

  • Form T1135: Tracks holdings of specified foreign property over $100,000
  • Form T1134: Calculates capital gains/losses for property disposed of during the year
  • Form T2124: Reports business income from crypto activities like mining or staking

You must report crypto when filing your T1 General Income Tax form. By maintaining detailed records and utilizing available tax tools, cryptocurrency tax reporting can be straightforward. Check the CRA website for the most up-to-date guidelines.

Strategies for Managing Cryptocurrency Tax Liabilities

Cryptocurrency taxation can be complex, but there are legal strategies Canadian taxpayers can use to responsibly manage tax obligations. Working with a qualified accountant can help navigate changing regulations.

How to Cash Out Crypto Without Paying Taxes in Canada

There are no legal methods to completely avoid taxes when cashing out cryptocurrency in Canada. However, taxpayers can use strategies to optimize tax liability:

  • Offset gains with losses. If you sell at a loss, it can offset capital gains.
  • Use tax-advantaged accounts like TFSAs to shelter gains. But be aware of CRA audit risks.
  • Time sells to stay within lower tax brackets.
  • Donate crypto to registered charities for tax credits.

Always consult a qualified tax professional to ensure full compliance. The CRA treats cryptocurrency as taxable assets.

Tax-Advantaged Crypto Investment Structures

Some options to hold crypto that offer tax optimization benefits:

  • TFSAs: Gains are tax-free. But CRA may see frequent trading or withdrawals as business income.
  • RRSPs: Gains are tax-deferred. But withdrawals are taxed as income.
  • RESPs: Tax benefits for education savings.

Holding periods and contribution limits apply based on account types.

Timing Transactions to Optimize Tax Outcomes

Tax liability on capital gains depends on your total annual income. Consider timing sells to avoid crossing into a higher tax bracket.

For example, if your income is nearing the $100k bracket, delay a large crypto sell until the following tax year to avoid being bumped into the higher bracket.

Always record buy/sell dates and value at the time for accurate tax calculations.

Charitable Donations and Gifting Cryptocurrency

Donating crypto directly to registered charities eliminates capital gains tax and provides tax receipts for the full value at time of donation.

Gifting crypto also avoids capital gains tax, but does not provide a donation receipt. Both need to adhere to CRA regulations to ensure proper valuation and documentation.

Consult a tax specialist to leverage these strategies appropriately.

Tax Treatment of DeFi Activities and Staking Rewards

DeFi activities and staking cryptocurrency to earn rewards create taxable events in Canada. Any profits made are subject to capital gains tax. Specifically:

  • Rewards from staking coins are considered business income. The full value of rewards received must be reported as income.
  • Swapping tokens on a DEX triggers a disposition, where capital gains/losses must be calculated and reported.
  • Earning yield through lending/borrowing protocols creates taxable investment income.

Keep detailed records of all DeFi transactions. Report rewards, swap fees, gains/losses, and earned interest appropriately each tax year.

Use crypto tax software to simplify tracking and reporting DeFi activity across multiple platforms and protocols.

Handling Cryptocurrency Forks and Airdrops for Tax Purposes

Cryptocurrency forks and airdrops can create unclear tax situations. Here is how to handle them properly:

  • Forked coins are considered taxable income based on the fair market value on the day of the fork. The value must be reported.
  • Airdropped coins received are also taxed as regular income, similar to forked coins.
  • If the forked or airdropped coins are later sold, there may be additional capital gains.

Document receipt of new coins from forks/airdrops. Record fair market value on date acquired for tax reporting.

Tax Implications of Cryptocurrency Mining Operations

For individual miners, cryptocurrency mining creates business income:

  • The fair market value of any mined coins must be reported as business income when created.
  • Business expenses like hardware, electricity, etc. can be deducted against mining income.

Mining businesses face additional tax considerations:

  • GST/HST registration may be required if exceeding $30K annual revenues.
  • Business income gets taxed at the full corporate income tax rate.
  • Various tax credits or CCA deductions may be available.

Consult an accountant experienced in crypto taxes for mining tax advice.

Reporting and Taxation of NFT Transactions

Due to their unique nature, NFT tax rules continue to emerge. However, general guidelines include:

  • Minting an NFT likely creates business income if minting for profit or as a business.
  • Income from NFT sales sees 50% taxed as capital gains. The other 50% gets taxed as regular business income.
  • Other activity like lending NFTs can produce taxable investment income.

Document all transactions, including chain analysis details, to support income reports and cost basis calculations.

Conclusion: Navigating Cryptocurrency Taxation in Canada

In closing, it is important for cryptocurrency investors and traders in Canada to understand and comply with CRA guidelines regarding crypto taxation. Some key takeaways:

  • Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are taxed as commodities by the CRA. Any profits made from buying/selling or exchanging crypto are subject to capital gains tax.
  • You must report all your cryptocurrency transactions and pay tax on any capital gains when filing your tax return. Failing to report crypto activity can lead to penalties, interest and even criminal charges.
  • There are crypto tax calculators and software available to help you accurately track, calculate and report your crypto taxes. Using these can save time and ensure full compliance.
  • Crypto taxation rules can be complex. If in doubt, consult a qualified accountant or tax professional who specializes in cryptocurrency.

Accurately reporting and paying taxes on cryptocurrency activity is essential. With proper record-keeping and the right tools, crypto investors can remain compliant and avoid issues with the CRA.

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