The deadline for tax reporting in Canada is April 30th, so it’s time for crypto investors to get their house in order. The CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) has fairly straightforward rules when it comes to cryptocurrencies. However, the Superficial Loss Rule which applies to crypto transactions can complicate things for prolific investors. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Superficial Loss Rule and how it applies to crypto taxes in Canada.
According to the CRA, any disposition of cryptocurrency will be subject to Capital Gains Tax. Disposition here means:
So how do you actually calculate the Capital Gains on any of the above transactions?
The Capital Gain is the difference between the selling price of the crypto (or its market value on the date of the transaction) and the adjusted cost base of the crypto.
The adjusted cost base refers to the cost of acquisition of the crypto plus any reasonable expenses incurred to acquire it (including commissions and legal fees). If the acquisition cost is greater than the selling price, then it results in Capital Losses (which can be written off against Capital Gains to reduce the tax liability).
From the point of view of the CRA, there’s one major problem with the current method of calculating Capital Gains for cryptocurrencies.
Say, for instance, it’s almost the end of the tax season, and an investor has made substantial gains in the course of the year. They are holding some crypto which is currently valued at a very low price. It would be easy for them to sell this crypto at the current low rate and then write off the resulting capital losses against their profits, thereby reducing their tax liability.
If they wanted to keep holding on to their crypto assets, they could simply buy it back a few days later, at a price that would likely be similar to the one they sold it at. To prevent this, the CRA has decided to apply the Superficial Loss Rule.
The Superficial Loss rule kicks in when both of these conditions are met:
John buys 100 ETH on 6th of Jan 2019 for a total price of $5000. In november of the same year he sells them at a loss, for $3000.
To spare you the math here, we will simply enter these transactions into Koinly which will calculate the gains:
So, John made a loss of $2000 (who would have guessed?!)
Now, John thinks he is pretty clever so he decides to buy the ETH back the next day (for the same price) but... you guessed it.
The superficial loss rule zeroes out his loss from the previous day...
Basically what happeend is that, the $2000 loss that John made on the 3rd got added onto the cost of the coins he bought the next day.
From us to your inbox, weekly.