💧On Liquidation

Tax position for lender/staker where INCOME REWARDS received and there is NO transfer of beneficial ownership

CGT disposal - collateral tokens

HMRC say in CRYPTO61640 there is a CGT disposal of the collateral that was added at the point of entry, based on the sterling market value of the collateral at the date of liquidation; but it may be arguable the disposal proceeds should be Nil upon liquidation.

HMRC explain at CRYPTO61640 that the DeFi lending platform/protocol is treated as a nominee for the borrower, so any capital gain or loss on a disposal of the tokens held as collateral by the DeFi lending platform/protocol is deemed to be the capital gain or loss of the borrower.

HMRC state that any tokens taken from the borrower as a penalty is not an allowable cost for CGT purposes.

HMRC are clear in CRYPTO61640 and their example in CRYPTO61675 that the tokens disposed of to settle the borrower’s position are treated as disposed of at their market value in sterling. However, this seems to result in an unfair tax position, since nothing is received upon liquidation in return for giving up the collateral, yet the CGT is based on the market value of the collateral which has been lost (which is often significantly more than Nil).

In Example 2A and Example 2C, where this is a transfer of beneficial ownership upon adding the collateral, there is an overall loss on liquidation of £100,000. This seems fair and logical, because the collateral which cost £100,000 has been given up for nothing in return.

The collateralised loan which has been retained upon liquidation is not consideration for the collateral given up; because this is treated as acquired for and sold for market value for tax purposes, with the effect you are only subject to CGT on the appreciation or depreciation in value whilst in your possession.

When following the HMRC guidance, the gain of £100,000 in Example 2B and Example 2D, where there is no transfer of beneficial ownership upon adding the collateral, is £200,000 more than in Example 2A and Example 2C. However nothing was received in exchange for the collateral in either example, and the £100,000 spent on the original purchase of the collateral is now lost in both cases. So it would seem logical that the overall tax position should be the same, regardless of whether or not beneficial ownership is transferred when the collateral is added.

If the HMRC guidance is not followed and alternatively the disposal proceeds upon liquidation in this situation are recorded as Nil (not market value as per the HMRC guidance), it realises a capital loss of £100,000, which is a true reflection of the loss by the taxpayer and seems to more fairly reflect the position.

It is recommended you seek professional tax advice regarding this matter, especially if you are considering taking a position that is not in agreement with HMRC's guidance.


Our Example 2B covers the liquidation of a collateralised loan with an income reward, where there was NO transfer of beneficial ownership upon adding the collateral.

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