HMRC Guidelines For Lost, Stolen, And Defrauded Crypto Assets

HMRC Guidelines For Lost, Stolen, And Defrauded Crypto Assets
Want to learn how stolen, lost or defrauded cryptos are taxed in the UK? Read everything in detail in this guide.

As the cryptocurrency market expands, it has become increasingly vital for investors to grasp the intricacies surrounding lost crypto assets. In this informative blog post, we will delve into a critical aspect of this landscape. 

We’ll focus on the guidelines established by HMRC for effectively navigating the complexities surrounding lost, stolen, and defrauded crypto assets. By understanding these guidelines, investors can protect their investments and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

Misplacing Your Private Key/Lost Crypto

Navigating HMRC’s stance on lost private keys and misplaced crypto assets is essential. HMRC’s perspective firmly establishes that losing access to crypto assets does not equate to a disposal event. This means that despite your inability to access the assets, ownership remains intact since there is no disposal and no taxable event. 

Furthermore, it’s important to note that the private key, a fundamental element of cryptographic security, remains in existence with the owner even in cases of lost access. However, it’s important to note that the loss of the private key results in the compromised security of ownership. This distinction reinforces the continuous ownership of the assets, regardless of immediate accessibility.

The existence of the tokens on the distributed ledger is a cornerstone of HMRC’s

perspective. This recognition corresponds harmoniously with the fundamental principles of blockchain technology. Essentially, blockchain ensures that the presence and ownership of assets can be reliably confirmed, even in situations where practical limitations might prevent immediate access to those assets. 

This underscores the core tenet that the ownership of these assets remains provable and intact through the technology’s inherent transparency and verifiability, aligning closely with HMRC’s perspective regarding situations involving lost private keys and inaccessible crypto assets.

In situations where prospects of recovery are remote, HMRC’s concept of a negligible value claim becomes advantageous. This avenue is especially relevant when assets become worthless due to loss or inaccessible private keys. It provides a practical solution for cases where recovery is impossible, allowing for tax deduction of losses.
It’s important to note that the negligible value claim extends beyond just the scenario of losing private keys, including various circumstances where asset recovery is uncertain. 

Theft/Stolen/Hacked Crypto

When it comes to stolen crypto assets, understanding HMRC’s standpoint is pivotal. HMRC firmly asserts that theft, even involving cryptocurrencies, does not translate into a disposal event. It means that while the assets may have been illicitly taken, they remain under the victim’s ownership. Consequently, the victim cannot claim capital loss solely due to the theft.

A noteworthy facet of HMRC’s perspective is the recognition of the victim’s entitlement to regain the stolen assets. This acknowledgment hinges on the criminal nature of the theft. While a capital loss claim isn’t automatic in theft cases, making a negligible value claim becomes essential to crystallise losses in this unfortunate scenario.

Being Defrauded/Scammed

HMRC handles fraud and scams involving crypto assets with these critical considerations:

  1. Capital loss claim: A claim for capital loss is possible if the victim holds the tokens, proving genuine ownership.
  2. Holding requirement: Holding the tokens is crucial for a valid claim, ensuring a real financial stake.
  3. Negligible value claim: Victims can file for negligible value, asserting token worthlessness if conditions don’t allow a capital loss claim.
  4.  Capital loss crystallisation: This process acknowledges the financial harm suffered and provides a tax advantage in unfortunate circumstances.

What Is A Negligible Value Claim?

A negligible value claim is a significant avenue within HMRC’s framework for addressing crypto losses. In the context of crypto losses, it involves acknowledging that the value of tokens has diminished to the point of insignificance or worthlessness. 

This claim offers investors relief by allowing them to offset their capital loss against the gains incurred due to the reduced value of their crypto assets.

Treatment Of Tokens:

Under a negligible value claim, the treatment of tokens aligns with the recognition that their value has significantly decreased or vanished entirely. This acknowledgement permits individuals to account for these losses in their tax calculations, potentially reducing their overall tax liability.

The following are the necessary details to include when claiming negligible value:

  • Identify the tokens for which the claim is being made.
  • Describe the circumstances that led to the tokens’ negligible value or worthlessness.
  • Provide any relevant supporting documentation, such as evidence of market trends, security breaches, or other pertinent events.

Claim For The Entire Pool:

It’s essential to note that a negligible value claim needs to encompass the entirety of the affected tokens. Filing for the entire pool of tokens ensures that the claim accurately reflects the extent of the loss suffered due to diminished token value.

By understanding the concept of a negligible value claim, considering token treatment, including necessary details, and making comprehensive claims for the entire token pool, investors can effectively utilise this avenue to manage their crypto losses within HMRC’s guidelines.

Reporting And Making Claims

  1. Importance of reporting losses: Reporting timely losses to HMRC is crucial for accurate tax assessment and compliance. Adequate reporting ensures your financial situation is accurately reflected and helps prevent potential issues with tax obligations.
  2. Negligible value claims: You can concurrently file negligible value claims when reporting losses. This process acknowledges the reduced value of assets, potentially providing relief. It’s a strategic way to account for losses and manage tax implications.
  3. Involuntary transfers/disposals note: Be aware of automatic transfers and disposals, which might result from events beyond your control. These could have tax implications. Reporting these events to HMRC helps maintain a complete record of your crypto asset activity.

By understanding the significance of reporting losses, utilising negligible value claims, and accounting for involuntary events, you can ensure that your crypto asset portfolio complies with HMRC guidelines.


Understanding HMRC’s crypto loss guidelines is paramount in the cryptocurrency landscape. Take proactive steps—report losses, initiate claims—to safeguard your financial interests. 

Consider using platforms like KoinX that offer tailored tools and insights on crypto tax to help you file your taxes accurately. Embark on your informed journey today and use KoinX for effective crypto asset management.