Tax attorney breaks down the MicroStrategy Bitcoin sale

Business intelligence firm MicroStrategy made headlines ahead of New Year’s Eve as the sale of a portion of its Bitcoin (BTC) holdings drew the attention of industry experts and critics.

A regulatory filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Dec. 28 detailed the first time the firm sold some of its BTC since its high-profile adoption of the preeminent cryptocurrency as its primary treasury asset.

MicroStrategy made waves in the industry in 2021 as it began amassing significant holdings of BTC, with founder Michael Saylor touting the asset as a superior store of value to fiat currency as a primary reason for the move.

Given Saylor’s role as a staunch Bitcoin proponent over the past two years, MicroStrategy’s decision to sell some of its BTC drew attention across the industry. However, the company’s SEC filing outlines clear intent to generate a tax benefit.

MicroStrategy’s subsidiary MacroStrategy bought 2,395 BTC for approximately $42.8 million between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21 at an average price of $17,871 per BTC. It then sold 704 Bitcoins on Dec. 22 at an average price of $16,776 per Bitcoin for $11.8 million, highlighting its intent to reduce its tax bill:

“MicroStrategy plans to carry back the capital losses resulting from this transaction against previous capital gains, to the extent such carrybacks are available under the federal income tax laws currently in effect, which may generate a tax benefit.”

Cointelegraph reached out to international tax attorney and CPA Selva Ozelli to unpack MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin sale and the reasoning behind it. As she explains, selling cryptocurrencies for a profit in America would require the payment of capital gains tax:

“Some investors choose to reduce their capital gains in a given tax year by selling some of their digital assets at a loss. This is called tax-loss harvesting.”

Ozelli said that the practice is common for individuals in the cryptocurrency space, given that assets like BTC are treated as property by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and subject to capital gains and…

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