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Spotlight on Crypto Tax Expert Shehan Chandrasekera

June 4, 2021, 3:01 PM

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s spotlight is on Shehan Chandrasekera.

Chandrasekera is the Head of Tax Strategy at CoinTracker where he focuses on cryptocurrency taxation. A published author and sought-after speaker, he was named by Accounting Today as one of the accountants who will be helping shape—and reshape—the accounting field.

Shehan Chandrasekera

What’s your official title and what does it mean? My official title is head of Tax Strategy at CoinTracker. My role involves keeping up to date with virtual currency-related tax developments, being a thought leader in the space, and building software products that help accountants and taxpayers comply with cryptocurrency taxes.

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? YouTube educational videos and documentaries.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Virtual currency and technology startup-related tax issues (ISOs, NSOs, R&D tax credits, QSBS, and etc.)

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? Black Butterfly.

What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended William Paterson University, New Jersey. I studied Accounting.

Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee.

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Increasing your time in the market as opposed to timing the market is the best financial advice I ever received. Timing the market means buying crypto or any other asset at its lowest price and selling it at its highest price. This is an extremely difficult task to do on a consistent basis. It is also a mental distraction that affects your day-to-day work. In many cases, profits made in a handful of successful trades could be lost in one bad trade.

Increasing your time in the market is a better alternative to timing the market. This involves buying assets at fixed intervals —weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly— irrespective of the price. This is also known as dollar-cost averaging. In the long run, this leads to the highest amount of profits with the least amount of distraction and headache in the short run.

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I’d like to be a professional cricket player.

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? Paying taxes in cryptocurrency not subject to capital gains taxes.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season (or other busy time)? Bubble Tea.

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The inclusion of the virtual currency question on the front and center of Form 1040.

If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Invest in bitcoin!

You can find Chandrasekera on Twitter and Linked In.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured, send your suggestion to kerb@bloombergindustry.com with the subject: Spotlight. Please include the following information: tax professional’s name, title, email address, and geographic area (city/state/country).

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at kerb@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bloombergindustry.com; Yuri Nagano at ynagano@bloombergtax.com

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