FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has acquired official legal prices after the collapse of his cryptocurrency trade, which is greater than only a ethical victory for the trade’s roughly 1 million particular person buyers. Whereas not locked in but, issues seem like on observe for these buyers to take a extra favorable tax place as SBF’s destiny continues to unravel.What sorts of losses can FTX buyers declare on their taxes?Earlier this fall, it appeared that property misplaced within the FTX collapse could be thought of a capital loss underneath the USA tax code for the tax 12 months 2022. This capital loss can be utilized to offset capital good points. However in a 12 months during which the crypto market took a beating as a complete, most buyers won’t have capital good points to offset in 2022.A capital loss will also be used to offset “abnormal revenue,” comparable to cash earned from a enterprise or job — as much as $3,000 per 12 months. The loss is carried ahead indefinitely, but when your loss within the FTX collapse was substantial, it might take fairly some time to say all of it.Associated: Biden is hiring 87,000 new IRS brokers — and so they’re coming for youA way more favorable situation for a lot of buyers could be to say a theft-loss deduction, which might offset abnormal revenue with none restrict. Claiming a theft loss is generally a reasonably troublesome job that may appeal to scrutiny from the Inner Income Service. However the tax code for theft loss comprises a “protected harbor” for Ponzi schemes. For probably the most half, if an investor is ready to exhibit a loss in a Ponzi scheme, the IRS received’t require extra documentation.Was FTX a Ponzi scheme?As a result of investor property had been illegally diverted to Alameda Analysis, SBF’s hedge fund, it appears probably that the IRS will in the end view FTX as a Ponzi scheme. To activate the protected harbor, FTX or its “lead determine” SBF must be charged with fraud matching this description within the tax steering:“A specified fraudulent association is an association during which a celebration (the lead determine) receives money or property from buyers; purports to earn revenue for the buyers; experiences revenue quantities to the buyers which are partially or wholly fictitious; makes funds, if any, of purported revenue or principal to some buyers from quantities that different buyers invested within the fraudulent association; and appropriates some or the entire buyers’ money or property.”The costs the SEC leveled in opposition to SBF deal with fairness buyers, not retail buyers. However the SEC does particularly point out “the undisclosed diversion of FTX clients’ funds to Alameda Analysis.” Whereas not an official inexperienced mild for the protected harbor, it’s very shut — nearer than we could have anticipated we’d see in 2022.Exterior of legal prices, a legal grievance coupled with a confession prompts the Ponzi scheme protected harbor as effectively. Whereas he has been very vocal following the FTX collapse, SBF has given no indication he plans to admit to something.What ought to FTX buyers and their tax professionals do?With the person tax-filing deadline of April 18, 2023, buyers who misplaced property on FTX have a while to see how this performs out. It appears very potential that the SEC will carry extra prices in opposition to SBF or FTX that may clear up any doubt across the Ponzi scheme protected harbor. The IRS may weigh in on if the present prices are sufficient to set off the protected harbor, and hopefully, 2022 is the 12 months to take it. The theft loss may be claimed in a future 12 months, however most FTX buyers will probably be desperate to recoup a few of their losses by offsetting revenue on their taxes as quickly as potential.Associated: Earlier than ETH drops additional, set some cash apart for shock taxesFor buyers who misplaced property on FTX, planning on claiming the capital loss at this level would probably be unwise. Even when, by some miracle, an investor has capital good points to offset from 2022, the tax fee on abnormal revenue is way increased. The one situation during which this would possibly make sense is that if a person had no abnormal revenue however did have capital good points in 2022.Foundation for comparisonIn each of those eventualities — capital loss or a Ponzi scheme protected harbor — it’s essential to notice that the quantity of allowable loss is the associated fee foundation of the asset. Assuming the worth you had been capable of extract from FTX following the collapse is zero, you possibly can declare the total quantity you initially paid for the asset.From an IRS viewpoint, your theft loss consists of not solely the whole value foundation you paid — you additionally obtain a kicker for revenue you paid taxes on. For those who made trades on the trade or had an revenue stream and had acknowledged revenue for these in earlier tax returns, and hadn’t withdrawn from the trade earlier than the collapse, you’d account for these in determining value foundation. Your licensed public accountant and/or coin buying and selling software program will probably turn out to be useful right here. For some buyers, the premise is more likely to be greater than the asset was price when FTX went down in flames — probably fairly a bit extra. That could be a little bit of a silver lining right here. And whereas it appeared like buyers must anticipate 2023 to see if prices had been introduced on this matter, the SEC seems to have handed them an early Christmas current.Justin Wilcox is a accomplice on the Connecticut accounting and advisory agency Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina. He based the agency’s cryptocurrency observe in 2018, offering tax and advisory providers to Web3 organizations and crypto buyers. He mines and trades cryptocurrencies.This text is for normal info functions and isn’t meant to be and shouldn’t be taken as authorized or funding recommendation. The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed below are the writer’s alone and don’t essentially mirror or signify the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.