A Beginner’s Guide to Crypto Taxes in Germany

21 May 2024

With just a few months before the tax deadline, understanding crypto taxes in Germany is crucial for anyone involved in buying, selling, or trading cryptocurrencies. Here’s a starter’s guide to help you navigate the tax implications:

How will the BZSt know that I hold crypto and may be liable to pay tax?

The Bundeszentralamt für Steuern (BZSt) can gather information about your cryptocurrency activities through various channels, such as:


  • Crypto Exchanges: Exchanges operating in Germany are required to report customer data to the tax authorities. This includes information about transactions and account holders.
  • Bank Transfers: If you transfer funds from a crypto exchange to your bank account, these transactions may be monitored and reported to tax authorities.
  • Blockchain Analysis: Blockchain analytics firms can track cryptocurrency transactions on public ledgers like Bitcoin’s blockchain. While these firms don’t typically share individual data directly with tax authorities, their findings can contribute to investigations.
  • Data Sharing Agreements: German tax authorities may collaborate with other countries or international organizations to gather information on cryptocurrency users, especially in cross-border transactions.
  • Audits and Investigations: Tax authorities can conduct audits or investigations into individuals suspected of underreporting or evading cryptocurrency-related taxes.

How is crypto taxed in Germany?

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are classified as private money or units of account rather than as currencies or securities. This classification impacts how they are treated for tax purposes

What constitutes a taxable event?

The following transactions are considered taxable events in Germany: 

  • Selling Cryptocurrency: Converting cryptocurrency into fiat currency (e.g., Euro)
  • Exchanging Cryptocurrency: Trading one cryptocurrency for another (e.g., Bitcoin for Ethereum).
  • Using Cryptocurrency: Paying for goods or services with cryptocurrency.

How will each taxable event be treated?

  • Capital Gains Tax: Profits from selling or exchanging cryptocurrencies are subject to capital gains tax. If you hold the cryptocurrency for over a year, profits are tax-free (long-term capital gains). If held for one year or less, profits are subject to your income tax rate (short-term capital gains). Your capital gains tax rate typically ranges from 0% to 45%, depending on your total income.
  • Mining and Staking: Rewards from cryptocurrency mining or staking are taxable income and subject to income tax.
  • Hard Forks and Airdrops: If new coins received from hard forks or airdrops, as an exchange for a service, these are also subject to income tax based on their market value at the time of receipt. If an airdrop was received that was not an exchange for a service, then it would not be.

Crypto tax breaks and transactions that are not subject to tax

In Germany, there are some scenarios where certain crypto-related activities may not trigger immediate tax obligations. It’s important to note that tax laws and interpretations can vary, so consulting with a tax advisor is recommended for specific guidance. Here are potential situations where crypto transactions might not be taxed:

  • Holding Cryptocurrencies (HODLing)
  • Gifting Cryptocurrencies
  • Transfers Between Own Wallets
  • Non-Taxable Threshold: There might be a minimum threshold for capital gains tax, mining, or staking in some cases. It’s best to consult with a professional.
    • Charitable Donations

    How do I report my crypto taxes?

    • Include cryptocurrency gains and losses in your annual tax return (Einkommensteuererklärung).
    • Use Form “Anlage SO” for reporting investment income (including capital gains) from cryptocurrencies.
    • Calculate gains/losses in Euro using the cost basis (purchase price + fees) and selling price.

    Given the complexity of crypto taxes, consulting with a tax professional or accountant familiar with cryptocurrency regulations in Germany is highly recommended. They can provide personalized advice based on your situation and help optimize your tax obligations. One can also refer to official guidelines and updates at the Federal Ministry of Finance. 

    This guide provides a general overview, but specific circumstances may vary. Stay updated with the latest regulations and seek professional assistance to ensure compliance with German cryptocurrency tax laws.

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