Tax-Loss Harvesting Explained: Explore Its Role In Cryptocurrency

By Chris Gitonga
17 Min Read

The importance of tax loss harvesting as an intelligent financial strategy in cryptocurrency and other investments. Tax-loss harvesting can be considered one of the most reasonable methods based on classical investment strategies for the unstable and mutable environment of cryptocurrencies. It refers to a process of deliberate sale of crypto assets for loss to reduce taxes for an investor. Tax loss harvesting will play an important function in a constantly changing world of crypto which is fraught with unforeseeable upheavals rather than stable changes.

Crypto investors can minimize taxes and maximize their long-term gains through deliberate timing for selling depreciated assets. Tax-loss harvesting provides investors with an advanced and sophisticated strategy to address cryptocurrency taxes in light of the changing regulations.

What Is Tax-Loss Harvesting?

Cryptocurrency tax-loss harvesting is an investment strategy that seeks to reduce taxes by exploiting digital asset instability. The selling of some cryptocurrency holdings is done at a loss so that they can offset the capital gain to reduce the investor’s taxable income. In contrast to most traditional investment assets, cryptocurrencies are incredibly volatile, enabling intelligent investors to selectively “book” losses on specific holdings.

Tax-loss harvesting involves searching for cryptocurrency assets that become depreciated from purchasing costs before the sale. That leads to the generation of capital loss that can be used by the investor to settle various amounts of taxable gains arising from other investment activities. However, for the tax-loss harvesting strategy to be legitimate and effective, investors should respect the law and specific timeframes. 

This is not a loss-avoiding technique but could be an efficient approach to maneuver through the turbulent cryptocurrency environment as part of a wider trend in financial planning aimed at maximizing the post-tax profit of digital asset investors in light of the constantly changing world of digital assets.

Interested in learning about the increased interest rates in the cryptocurrency markets, here is a guide for you.

How Does Tax-Loss Harvesting Work?

Tax-loss cryptocurrency harvesting involves taking advantage of the volatile nature of the investment. Some cryptocurrency holdings are sold at a loss for capital gain purposes, thereby reducing the investor’s taxable income. Unlike other conventional investment assets, cryptocurrencies are very volatile, and smart investors can choose at liberty whether or not to “book” losses on their particular holdings.

Tax loss harvesting means looking for an undervalued cryptocurrency that one could buy before selling at a premium. Such results in capital loss which the investor can utilize to mitigate for taxable gains generated in other investment opportunities. However, tax-loss harvesting may only yield positive results if there is observance of laws and particular deadlines. 

However, this is not a loss-avoiding method but could also be considered as a means of maneuvering through the challenging atmosphere of the crypto environment which is becoming more popular now as part of a broader trend, seeking to generate maximum after-tax profit for investors of digital assets against the ever-changing conditions.

Interested in learning what flash loans are in decentralized finance, here is a detailed explanation just for you.

How Can I Get Started With Tax-Loss Harvesting?

In the context of cryptocurrencies, tax loss is realized through a deliberate sale of assets at a loss that results in offsetting capital gains and reducing tax bills. To get started, follow these steps:

Understand Tax Rules

Be conversant with national and state taxes on cryptocurrencies. As tax laws differ in different places, you should be aware of the way gains and losses are handled.

Track Transactions

Keep an accurate diary of every single transaction you perform on your crypto wallet; this means noting down dates and prices per coin. This will enable you to accurately measure gains and losses.

Identify Losses

Keep examining your cryptocurrency portfolio on how to spot bad assets that you currently have suffered a loss for. The subsection title It is manual and/or assisted by some portfolio tracking tools.

Sell Strategically

Then sell off the ones showing losses in a well-calculated manner. Ensure you consider the wash-sale rule that does not allow a “substantially identical” asset to be repurchased within 30 days before and following the sale to qualify for the said loss to be deductible.

Offset Gains

Offset those losses against any positive capital gains you might have accrued throughout the year. You may also apply up to a certain limit for the last part of the lost amounts against additional income.

Stay Informed

Ensure you keep abreast with any changes, amendments, or updates in cryptocurrency taxes. You should also think of working with a competent tax expert who will help you stay on the legal side as well as enhance your tax planning endeavors.

It is worthy to remind you that tax law can be quite complicated therefore it’s recommended to involve a professional to ensure that your local legislature is observed and the whole process bears fruits effectively.

Image by

How Do I Handle Short- vs. Long-Term Gains When Tax-Loss Harvesting?

Cryptocurrency tax-loss harvesters need to know that short-term and long-term capital gains are subject to taxes differently.

Short-Term Gains and Losses

The gains and losses made in short terms on assets of not exceeding one year. Short-term gains in most jurisdictions attract relatively higher rates of taxation because they are considered similar to other forms of income earned within that year. Concerning short-term gains, you should utilize short-term losses to compensate for short-term revenues. This can lower the total tax you have to pay from such profits.

Long-Term Gains and Losses

Losses on long-term gains include all assets held longer than one year. Usually, long-term gains attract a lower tax rate than short-term gains. Your long-term losses can also be useful in offsetting your long-term gains if, as is often the case with long-term investments, it so happens that you get long-term capital gains.

Prioritize Offset

In tax-loss harvesting, prioritize short-term losses against short-term gains and long-term losses against long-term ones to benefit oneself maximally. The rules permit one to carry over the excess losses of a certain type in case they are greater than one gain.

Consider Overall Tax Picture

Determine your total tax position and objectives. On some occasions, such strategic realization of gains and losses can play a positive role by giving you a better tax position at the end of the year or even for future tax planning.

It is important to remember that it is always recommended for people who conduct their transactions in cryptocurrencies to seek advice from relevant tax experts or financial advisors to avoid misunderstandings associated with these changes in crypto taxes because they tend to be ever-evolving.

Tax-Loss Harvesting: Long-Term vs. Short-Term Gains

This is known as tax loss harvesting in crypto, where one maximizes their overall outcome by managing both short-term and long-term gains.

Long-Term Gains

Long-term gains are assets held for more than one year. They are usually taxed at a lower rate when compared to short-term gains. For tax-loss harvesting with long-term gains, long-term losses are a better strategy. To this end, a portion of the net long-term gains is not taxable, which reduces their tax liability.

Excess losses can be taken in other years provided they are used to offset any future profits.

Short-Term Gains

Incurred short-term income results due to selling assets you hold for a year at most. Typically, these have high taxes aligned with the ordinary income tax brackets.

Short-term losses become applicable for deductions against short-term gains during tax-loss harvesting. This approach lessens the immediate tax implications of short-term profits.

Just as with long-term losses whose amount exceeds short-term gains, the excess losses may be carried forward for later use.

Wash-Sale Rule Consideration

The wash sale rule should be avoided since it prevents one from deducting the loss if they buy an identical asset within 30 days before or after selling it. This regulation applies in both the short-term and the long-term transactions.

Holistic Tax Planning

Do proper tax-loss harvesting and consider your entire finances and future tax objectives. You could also purposely sell or write off some losses provided it fits into your overall financial strategy.

Professional Guidance

The cryptocurrencies’ tax laws are complicated, and they keep changing. Consider seeking help from a tax expert or a financial consultant to be compliant as well as developing a tax-efficient plan that will work for your situation. They can be consulted to give you proper direction on how you can deal with tax issues that arise from your cryptocurrency deals.

Crypto tax calculators help you save millions, in this guide, you get to learn the six most important ways to do that.

Can I Do Tax-Loss Harvesting With NFTs? 

While tax loss harvesting with NFTs is still a young idea, how it will be treated by tax authorities varies across different jurisdictions and legislation.

Capital Gains and Losses

Mostly; NFTs act like other goods, and selling or exchanging them causes capital gain or capital loss. Similar to the sale of traditional securities or cryptocurrencies, tax-loss harvesting in NFTs is the art of selling losing NFTs to cut the accumulated capital gain losses and pay lower taxes.

Wash-Sale Rule

Just like stocks and any other asset can be subjected to this wash sale rule. The rule states that you cannot claim a loss on the sale of the asset if the repurchased asset is substantially identical to it and was purchased within 30 days preceding or succeeding the transaction.


Ensure that you keep accurate copies of all invoices about the acquisitions or sales of your NFTs – date of sale/purchase, price paid/received, etc. Correct accounting is vital in ascertaining correct gains and losses.

Tax Professional Consultation

Considering the unorthodox characteristics of non-fungible tokens (NFT) coupled with the dynamic tax regulations; seek expert advice from a reputable crypto and NFT tax expert. They would guide using the current rules, explaining to you how much trickier tax-loss harvesting would be using NFTs.

Jurisdictional Differences

The tax regulations related to NFTs usually differ across jurisdictions. Ensure that you are updated on any changes in NFT tax law to enable you to keep yourselves covered in your area.

However, as regulations on cryptocurrencies and NFTs are dynamic, one should always follow up on current changes and consult experts to remain within tax law.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tax-Loss Harvesting

Advantages of Tax-Loss Harvesting

Reduced Tax Liability

One of the key advantages of a tax-loss harvesting strategy is decreasing one’s taxable income. You have more options for reducing taxes when you sell some of your assets at a loss and thereby offset capital gains.

Enhanced Returns

Tax-loss harvesting can help you produce better returns that beat taxes. Such tax savings may be re-invested thereby creating further earnings that accumulate over time.

Portfolio Optimization

You can either rebalance your investment portfolio by shifting assets or selling poor-performing assets to maintain a position in the market.

Flexibility in Timing

Timing is a flexible feature of tax-loss harvesting. It enables you to decide on the timing of loss realization and could prove quite important for tax management in boom periods.

Use of Excess Losses

The excess loss from a given year may be used to offset ordinary income within certain limitations. Any remaining losses may also be carried back into the profits to be paid in the subsequent tax period.

Disadvantages of Tax-Loss Harvesting

Transaction Costs

Transaction fees are another cost issue associated with harvesting losses from selling assets. These costs also need to be considered, and weighing them against the expected tax benefits is crucial.

Market Timing Risks

The strategy of tax-loss harvesting entails selecting a time for selling assets so that such loss can be recognized. Timing the market also comes with risk since it is hard to predict how well the market will perform in the future.

Wash-Sale Rule Limitations

Wash sales under the IRS are defined as “substantially identical” assets purchased within thirty (30) days before/after the sale disqualifies the claim on the loss for deductions purposes. This might restrict you from immediately redeeming the same or nearly similar investment.

Opportunity Cost

Harvesting losses by selling the asset may result in missing additional profits should the markets recover. Rather it is an exchange between accepting loss for purposes of tax advantage and possible appreciation in the future.

Tax Law Changes

There are no guarantees that tax laws will remain as they stand today since this activity is based on the current law. However, this uncertainty makes it more difficult to include long-term tax planning strategies.

Interested in learning about crypto tax calculators and how to select one, here is a guide for you.


Tax-loss harvesting refers to tax management concerning the profit. Although it provides benefits that include lower tax burden, portfolio optimization, and flexibility, these must be weighed against transaction costs, uncertainty in the market time, and regulatory environment. This involves proper planning, keeping accurate records, and adhering to tax regulations for successful implementation. Cryptocurrency investors need to constantly track regulation changes and seek professional advice on how one needs to navigate through the maze, as this is a fast-developing environment.

A passionate and seasoned content writer with a focus on the dynamic realms of Web3 and Blockchain technology. With a keen interest in the intersection of decentralized systems and digital content, I embark on a journey to demystify complex concepts and communicate the transformative power of these technologies.My content is rooted in thorough research, ensuring accuracy and relevance. I go beyond surface-level information, diving into whitepapers, research papers, and reputable sources to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topics at hand. Each project is unique, and so is the approach. Whether it's creating blog posts, whitepapers, explainer articles, or social media content, I tailor my writing to meet the specific needs and objectives of the client. Beyond merely informing, I strive to educate. My goal is to empower readers with the knowledge to navigate the Web3 and Blockchain landscape confidently.