Crypto Swap Tax: Exchanging one Crypto for Another [HMRC]

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrencies, transactions are not just limited to buying and selling. Swapping one cryptocurrency for another, known as a ‘crypto swap’, has become commonplace.

While this offers a great deal of flexibility for investors, it also brings with it a complex web of tax implications. For those in the UK, understanding the HMRC’s stance on crypto swap taxation is crucial. Failure to navigate these rules correctly can result in significant financial penalties.

In this article, we’ll shed light on the HMRC’s crypto guidelines and highlight the importance of staying compliant.


What is a crypto swap?

A crypto swap refers to the direct exchange of one cryptocurrency for another, without using traditional fiat currency as an intermediary. Typically, this activity is driven by the desire to diversify one’s crypto holdings or capitalize on the potential growth of another digital coin. 

For instance, an individual might swap Bitcoin (BTC) for Ethereum (ETH) based on market predictions or personal strategies.

In the UK, with the ever-growing interest in digital currencies, several platforms offer crypto swap services.

These platforms facilitate the quick and seamless exchange of various cryptocurrencies, taking away the complexities of dealing with multiple exchange processes. 

Popular platforms such as Binance, Kraken, and Bitstamp, among others, have made their mark in the UK market, providing both novice and seasoned traders with tools to effectively manage and exchange their digital assets.

Basics of UK taxation on cryptocurrencies

The legal and tax landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies has been evolving in the United Kingdom, but one foundational stance remains clear: cryptocurrencies are considered “property” rather than “currency”.

This distinction is not just semantic; it carries with it a host of tax implications for individuals and businesses dealing with crypto assets.

For taxation purposes, any gains made from the sale or disposal of cryptocurrency are primarily subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). In simple terms, if you sell your crypto assets for a higher value than what you paid for them, the resulting profit is taxable. 

However, there’s a twist: if you earn cryptocurrency as a form of income, such as from mining, staking, or even certain rewards from liquidity pools, it might be treated as income rather than a capital gain.

The distinction between income and capital gains in the crypto realm can be nuanced, depending on various factors.

Learn more about the topic here: UK Crypto Tax Rates

Taxation of crypto to crypto swaps

In the UK, crypto-to-crypto swaps are viewed as taxable events under the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) regime. The HMRC considers it as ‘selling’ one cryptocurrency and ‘buying’ another. Taxation is determined by comparing the sterling value at disposal to its original cost, minus allowable expenses.

It’s vital to maintain accurate records of every transaction, including the date, amount, value in GBP, and incurred costs. Such detailed records will aid in calculating your tax liability at the end of the financial year.

Here’s how Blockpit represents the process of a crypto swap:

A "crypto swap" as seen in the Blockpit transaction report
A “crypto swap” as seen in the Blockpit transaction report

File your crypto tax return with Blockpit!

Blockpit creates the most comprehensive crypto tax reports in PDF format. The report provides information about all your balances and transactions and can be used as proof of origin with banks or tax advisors. It contains all relevant transactions of your account in the selected tax year and shows details such as timestamp, amount, asset, costs and fees of the individual transactions.

Using Blockpit couldn’t be easier:

1. Import your transactions

Blockpit offers direct integrations for crypto exchanges, wallets and DeFi protocols. Automatically import your transactions via API integration, wallet address synchronization, or by manually uploading an Excel file. 

Discover all crypto integrations

2. Validate & Optimize

Blockpit offers smart insights and suggestions to optimize your tax report, fix issues, add missing values and to validate your transactions.

3. Generate your tax report

Generate your compliant tax report with the click of a button. Our tax engine calculates your tax report on the basis of the UK tax framework.


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To all Italian crypto owners: use Blockpit – your crypto tax tool & be on the safe side in 2023

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general information purposes only. The information was completed to the best of our knowledge and does not claim either correctness or accuracy. For detailed information on crypto regulations, we recommend contacting a certified legal advisor in the respective country. If any questions occur, feel free to contact us on our social media channels.

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