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How is Crypto-Lending Taxed in Germany?

What is Bitcoin and crypto-lending?

Crypto-lending is a loan transaction in which cryptocurrencies are lent. This lending transaction is usually processed via special lending platforms. Ultimately, this is nothing more than a crypto-based loan.

On the corresponding platform, the lender, i.e. the person who lends the cryptocurrency, and the borrower, i.e. the person who wants to borrow the crypto currency, are brought together.

How is interest income from crypto-lending taxed in Germany?

If the interest income received through crypto-lending is income from other services pursuant to Section 22 No. 3 EStG, an exemption limit of EUR 256 applies. Amounts above this are taxed at the personal income tax rate of 18 to 45 percent. In addition, the subsequent sale pursuant to Section 23 (1) No. 2 EStG of the cryptocurrency obtained through lending would not be taxable due to the lack of an acquisition transaction.

In Germany, however, the taxation of the interest received through crypto-lending has not been conclusively clarified. On the one hand, it is discussed whether this is capital income pursuant to Section 20 (1) No. 7 EStG, since the surrender of the cryptocurrency is a classic, interest-bearing loan. On the other hand, tax offices repeatedly assume that the interest income generated by lending is income from other services pursuant to Section 22 No. 3 EStG. Henceforth, the tax offices are bound to such administrative practice by the BMF letter dated May 10, 2022.

The cryptocurrency received in the form of interest is to be valued at the time of the inflow. It is therefore not capital income, since the gift of cryptocurrency is not a gift of capital, but rather a payment in kind. This is justified by the fact that a capital claim must refer to a monetary payment, but not to a payment in kind, as is the case with cryptocurrencies.

How does lending work?

With lending, the lender allows other users of the respective platform to use part of his cryptocurrency for a defined period. In return, the lender receives interest in the given or another cryptocurrency. The amount of this interest is based on a predetermined percentage value, which in turn depends on the number of cryptocurrencies provided.

The following are agreed in advance

  • the amount of interest,
  • the amount of coins to be awarded and
  • the duration of the transfer of use.

After expiry of the agreed period of time, the lender receives back the cryptocurrency loaned, including interest.

What is deposited as collateral in lending?

Platform users or borrowers only need to define a cryptocurrency as collateral for lending. Which cryptocurrency the borrower can deposit as collateral depends on the platform in question.

No extension of the holding period for the lending

It was controversially discussed for a long time whether the lending of a cryptocurrency leads to an extension of the holding period according to Section 23 (1) No. 2 Sentence 4 EStG. Crypto investors no longer have to fear this. Although the Federal Ministry of Finance had still advocated a holding period extension in the first draft of the BMF letter, this was deleted from the final BMF letter. The consequence of this administrative instruction for all tax offices in Germany is that they will no longer accept extensions of the holding period in the future.

Our promise


Crypto tax consulting at WINHELLER means:

  • Clarification of all unclear issues
  • Reconstruction of lost trade details
  • Advice on the choice of FiFo or LiFo
  • Timely submission of the income tax return
  • Full communication with the tax office by our experts

You need support and want to avoid tax evasion? We look forward to hearing from you at +49 (0)69 76 75 77 80 or info@winheller.com.

Your attorney for crypto-lending in Germany

Since the taxation of income from crypto-lending is still unresolved, crypto-investors should not declare lending income for tax purposes without advice. We would be happy to provide you with advice and assistance in your income tax return. Your contact persons are

The easiest way to contact us is by e-mail (info@winheller.com), by phone (+49 (0)69 76 75 77 80) or via our contact form for the taxation of cryptocurrencies. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

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Do you need advice on the taxation of cryptocurrencies? Our crypto tax experts will be happy to advise you! Please fill out our contact form for this purpose.

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