Category Archives: Cryptocurrency Tax

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Thailand, Latest Addition to Asian Cryptocurrency Tax and Regulation Movement

Thailand is the latest country in the Asia region to start levying taxes on cryptocurrencies, despite receiving some opposition from the Thai Blockchain associations. The news arrives as other countries in the region and around the world ramp up legal and regulatory efforts.

Value-Added Tax and Capital Gains

In early April 2018, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance released plans to tax cryptocurrency trading and investments. After a cabinet meeting in late March, Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong responded to a letter sent by digital asset associations calling for the Deputy Prime Minister and government to “rethink the enforcement of a royal decree to regulate digital asset transactions — particularly the withholding tax, as it could be an obstacle to startup fund-raising,“ reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

The proposed 15% capital gains tax is considered by digital asset operators in Thailand to be a stifling figure for the industry. It puts financial pressure on startups seeking to break into the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, which could hinder overall innovation in the country.

There is also a 7 percent VAT charged on all cryptocurrency trades in the country, which for would-be blockchain entrepreneurs and companies seeking to have digital money as part of their business model is very off-putting.

Subject to Change

With that said, it’s somewhat important to note that the Thai legislation is still in its infantile stages. Since 2014, France had laws in place that classified cryptocurrency profits as either industrial and commercial profits or non-commercial profits, which made them subject to an eye-watering 45% capital gains tax at the top end for residents in the highest tax bracket.

As of late April 2018, the French Council of State reclassified cryptocurrencies as “movable property.” This makes them akin to transportable assets such as vehicles, precious metals or intellectual property and brings the tax rate down to a flat 19%, which may be high but is still a definite advancement for blockchain industries and investors in France.

Asian Advancements

Other countries in Asia are also beginning to relieve crypto-tax pressures with nations such as the Philippines announcing a special economic zone for ten blockchain and virtual currency companies.

In Abu Dhabi, the Global Market’s Financial Services Authority released proposals for a “fit-for-purpose” regulatory and taxation framework. In a statement, Richard Teng Chief Executive of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA), regulator of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) said:

“The FSRA is seeking to instill proper governance, oversight, and transparency over crypto asset activities,” Adding further, he said, “Our proposed regulatory regime is only possible with our deep understanding and knowledge of the solutions available to address the respective risks and represents the most comprehensive regime proposed by global regulators so far.”

South Korea, Japan, and China are also making similar headlines with regulatory and tax reforms that can only serve positively towards the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

In Thailand, it is still early days and should the new tax laws prove too high for the country; there is a chance that the state will follow up on the original policies with further amendments, just like many other crypto-adopting societies in the world.

 

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US Cryptocurrency Holders Could Owe $25 Billion in Taxes

Tom Lee, former chief equity strategist for JP Morgan Chase, has often provided insights on the cryptocurrency market and Bitcoin; in a recent CNBC interview, he estimated that cryptocurrency holders in the United States owed around USD 25 billion in capital gains taxes.

US tax date impacting market

Lee believes that the present cryptocurrency sell-off is in anticipation of the looming US tax day on 17 April; he also believes that sometime after this date, “market misery” and selling pressure will begin to alleviate, pushing the market back up.

On 23 March, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a notice describing its treatment of cryptocurrency as virtual currency and, therefore, general property taxation principles and laws were applicable. The small reminder from IRS may be partly responsible for the present sell-off which is profoundly impacting the market.

“This is a massive outflow from crypto to USD, and historical estimates are each $1 of USD outflow is $20-$25 impact on crypto market value,” Lee added in the CNBC report.

Wheels spinning in the USA

The US is undergoing a shift of attitude toward Bitcoin and cryptocurrency practices overall. Since February, the state of Arizona has been passing realistic and promising bills through the Arizona House of Representatives which would reshape how the state interacts, regulates and utilizes cryptocurrencies as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The HB2603, HB2602, and HB2601 bill package, if finally voted law, would mean that Arizona would be the first state to accept cryptocurrency as payment for taxes. Providing a legal definition for tokens and amending old legislation would protect individuals who run blockchain nodes, which is primarily an issue of energy costs caused by computing power.

There is an oddly positive tone emanating from the US; BitcoinNews recently reported that Jay Clayton, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had begun to change his tone on ICOs. He aptly identified the need for lawmakers and regulators to tackle fraudulent blockchain activities to prevent the legal frameworks from restricting “the capacity of this new security”.

In another turn of events, cryptocurrency firm Coinbase is reportedly “in talks” with SEC in regards to the trading platform becoming a licensed and regulated virtual money entity.

If Tom Lee is correct, capital gains tax made from cryptocurrency this tax period will account for about 20% of the US total. If these estimations are anywhere near accurate, it could be an indication to the government to seriously consider blockchain technologies and their accompanying cryptocurrencies as a vital fabric in the weave of technological and financial advancements of the future.

 

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SEC Chairman Doesn’t Believe Every ICO is a Scam; Japan and South Korea Charge Ahead Toward Regulation

Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), gave a speech at a Princeton University event that provided fascinating insight into his evolving views on how to approach initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as how to classify and regulate cryptocurrencies.

Not every ICO is a scam

Essential discussions that delve deeper into blockchain technologies, ICOs and cryptocurrencies are taking place all over the world. Perhaps now that the markets are cooling off, the topic of how to legitimize the lucrative technology is finally on the table.

During the event, the SEC chairman disregarded that all ICOs were fraudulent scams, bearing contrast to his position in February. At a Senate hearing, Clayton declared he was “unhappy” with how ICOs were conducted, based on the fact that they did not follow private placement rules, and that there were some fraudulent ICO operators.

Clayton made a potent remark that brought to light a solution for a lesser-mentioned problem: what happens if the technology continues to have fraudulent actors? He said:

“I think if we don’t stop the fraudsters, there is a serious risk that the regulatory pendulum – the regulatory actions will be so severe that they will restrict the capacity of this new security.”

Overseas efforts

The United States isn’t the only country wrestling with the ICO debate; in Japan, a recent government-backed study revealed that it now is looking to bring forth the proper legal and regulatory frameworks to give the go-ahead on the popular capital-raising method.

The report included guidelines that will identify investors, which will prevent money laundering, which acts as a protection for existing shareholders and debt holders, making “unfair” trading practices such as insider trading a thing of the past for cryptocurrencies.

The report also goes on to classify three types of ICOs:

The “venture company type” is the typical fundraising method and is defined as “fund-raising by venture companies through high-risk, high return investments”.

The second is the slightly lesser known “ecosystem type” which is described as “fund-raising for collaborative efforts in which multiple corporations such as companies and local governments are engaged”.

The third and probably least known of them all is the “large company type”, which is for “fund-raising by companies for certain in-house projects with high risk”.

Advancements in the United States and Japan are steering the future of cryptocurrency in the right direction; BitcoinNews recently reported that South Korea is making preparations to tax cryptocurrencies, which may come off as alarming, but can be a vital spoke in the regulatory wheel.

Rallying support

What makes it even less alarming is that the third largest fiat-to-Bitcoin market in the world is also preparing to have a cryptocurrency for its capital city, and in fact, the United States and Japan are above South Korea in the fiat-to-Bitcoin market listing.

It is evident that despite the constant negative press, cryptocurrencies are part of very progressive discussions taking place in the largest markets in the world. It is these serious pioneering efforts that will make blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies validated as part of the economy.

 

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South Korea Regulators Preparing to Announce Cryptocurrency Taxation Laws

Reports indicate the South Korean ministry of strategy and finance is to begin taxing cryptocurrency in a bid to regulate the crypto sector by 2019.

Since the winter of 2018, South Korea has garnered a great deal of attention as a key crypto-battleground; the rumoured ICO bans, exchange shutdowns and misleading negative press coverage has contributed to making South Korea one of the most misunderstood locations when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

But reports, on the contrary, are emerging at a hastening pace, and now South Korean regulators are reportedly planning to announce placing a capital gains tax and other income taxes on virtual money. In a statement made to Financial News, a ministry official said:

“We do not have a specific time frame, but we are thinking about announcing a virtual money tax in the first half of the year”.

The snowball effect

Negative speculation surrounding cryptocurrency in the country began appearing in January and then very slowly, as the clarity around purported crypto bans came to light, it became apparent that things were, in fact, moving in a positive direction.

As February rolled through, discussions of regulation in South Korea were brewing especially when the chief of South Korea’s Finance Supervisory Service (FSS), Choe Heung-Sik made these comments at a press conference:

“The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.”.

Remarks such as these have made for a snowball effect in the global discussion of cryptocurrency. Most recently, BitcoinNews reported that Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul is bringing forth new plans to adopt blockchain technologies with remarkable intentions to create Seoul’s very own cryptocurrency.

Government officials in South Korea have conducted direct investigations in several countries around the world, including Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Officials made conclusions that each country has its own approaches on how to categorize cryptocurrencies for taxation purposes:

“Currently, the US and the UK are taxed with capital gains tax, Japan with miscellaneous income, and Germany with other income. It is because the characteristics of virtual money were different in each country, such as payment means, monetary ability, financial assets, and so on. However, these countries have found that there are few cases where actual tax is imposed, as opposed to taxation based on the principle that there is a tax on income.”.

Pioneering efforts

These are very telling moments for the future of the cryptocurrency industry. South Korea’s efforts over the course of the next year could contribute to those of Switzerland, which at present is home of the Crypto Valley Association. Switzerland is beginning to receive increasing enquiries concerning blockchain technologies and is formally investigating the economic purposes and functions of the tokens.

South Korea, the third largest fiat-to-Bitcoin market in the world, is approaching the creation of positive conditions for regulatory frameworks, preparing for its capital to have its own cryptocurrency and is in now preparing for various taxation laws that would begin to normalize the existence of cryptocurrencies in the country. These are several huge steps in the right direction.

 

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