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Bitcoin Taxation in Australia

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Bitcoin Australia

Bitcoin Taxation would be implemented on 2 things in Australia, personal consumption and speculative gain

In Australia if the original cost of Bitcoin purchase is under $10000 (AUD) then gain would be exempted from bitcoin Taxation because that would be considered as personal consumption under threshold level of 10K

Bitcoin price is sky rocketing and with that many countries around the world are trying to bring gains from Bitcoin in Tax net, some of those countries have been successful in this while others are waiting for any clarity from experts to understand this technology in a better way, countries like Japan and South Korea have been way ahead from other countries to acknowledge this technology, Canada and Australia are also on the right track along with United States

Bitcoin Taxation structure in Australia

If you are living in Australia and holding a Bitcoin then bitcoin Taxation would depend upon the purpose of holding Bitcoin, According to Australian Taxation Office, there are broadly two reasons for purchasing Bitcoin: personal consumption and speculative gain.

How you are taxed will depend on which category you fall into and, most importantly, how the ATO will view your activity.

Above all, every single transaction needs to be fully documented, including not only “what”‘ is purchased, but “why” it was purchased.

Here’s the Official announcement by Australian Taxation Office

https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/Tax-treatment-of-crypto-currencies-in-Australia—specifically-bitcoin/

If your intention in purchasing Bitcoin is to use it to buy goods or services for personal consumption, then any profit from resale will be assessable as a capital gain.

Official words by ATO

Transacting with bitcoin is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. Our view is that bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes. Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.

You need to keep the following records for bitcoin transactions:

  • the date of the transactions
  • the amount in Australian dollars (which can be taken from a reputable online exchange)
  • what the transaction was for
  • who the other party was (even if it’s just their bitcoin address).

Using bitcoin for personal transactions

Generally, there will be no income tax or GST implications if you are not in business or carrying on an enterprise and you simply pay for goods or services in bitcoin (for example, acquiring personal goods or services on the internet using bitcoin).

Where you use bitcoin to purchase goods or services for personal use or consumption, any capital gain or loss from disposal of the bitcoin will be disregarded (as a personal use asset) provided the cost of the bitcoin is $10,000 or less.

Using bitcoin for business transactions

If you receive bitcoin for goods or services you provide as part of your business, you will need to record the value in Australian dollars as part of your ordinary income. This is the same process as receiving non-cash consideration under a barter transaction. The value in Australian dollars will be the fair market value which can be obtained from a reputable bitcoin exchange, for example.

When receiving bitcoin in return for goods and services, a business may be charged GST on that bitcoin. If the supply of the goods and services was a taxable supply, the business will be able to claim input tax credits on the GST charged on the bitcoin they received as payment.

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Australian Taxation Office warned against crypto retirement funds

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Regulatory authorities around the world have tighten the grip on crypto projects. Taxation authorities like Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are the latest to join the list with strong initiatives.

Australian Taxation Office recently sent warning letters to the investors who have invested a large part of their retirement savings in crypto related funds. ATO sent these letters in order to warn investors against high risk investments like crypto. One of the key responsibilities of regulatory authorities and taxation authorities is to keep investors away from high risk investment schemes.

A spokesman from ATO told local media that “We have already seen instances in 2018 where investors lost significant amount of their retirement fund in crypto investments, so it’s our duty to make them aware about the kind of risk crypto market posses”. The spokesman further explained that they are also against the huge exposure in any single asset class. “We are not saying that we are all and all against the crypto market or crypto assets, but we are more concerned about the kind of exposure these crypto retirement funds have in single crypto asset like Bitcoin”

“If an investor is putting more than 90% of his retirement savings in crypto then obviously it is at high risk and that’s what we discourage, we have no issues in diversified portfolios but if crypto retirement funds are having 100% exposure in crypto assets then we have to warn investors about the potential losses.

Self-Managed-Super Funds (SMSFs)

SMSFs are type of retirement accounts privately managed by individuals rather than the institutions or regulated financial companies. Australian Securities and Investments Commission also supports ATO’s decision, in a recent statement ASIC said

“Be wary of services offering to establish an SMSF for you in order to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies. Not only does operating an SMSF involve significant time, skills and responsibility, you may also be putting your retirement savings at risk”

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Morning Crypto Roundup: Coinbase, Bakkt, Binance in news

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“Coinbase seeing $200-400 million in new crypto deposits every week”: Armstrong 

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CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong says that “Adoption of crypto by Institutions is no more an uncertainty. The question was valid about 12 months ago, but now everything has changed as we’re seeing $200-400 million a week in new crypto deposits from institutional clients”

In a recent tweet, Armstrong further says that trust and safety means a lot to crypto investors and Coinbase is on a mission to provide safe infrastructure to institutional clients in order to increase adoption.

Coinbase has completed acquisition of Xapo which helped them in institutional business. In a recent blogpost, Coinbase further mentioned that in just one year of launch, Coinbase custody has reached a staggering number of $7 billion of assets under custody, stored on behalf of 120 clients from 14 different countries.

The highlight of today’s tweet from Brian Armstrong was the numbers from Institutional investors. Safety have always been a big issue for investors and that’s why there were lot of discussions regarding adoption of crypto at Institutional level, but with $200 – 400 million coming into Coinbase every week, we can easily say that crypto adoption at institutional level is no more a question, it’s a reality.

The way forward 

We already discussed about the importance of safety of funds in crypto market, but in order to increase adoption, crypto market must create new traders. Traders love leverage, borrowing and lending which allows them to trade the market even with limited resources. Retail forex market is a prime example of such facilities. Coinbase did mentioned in the blogpost that they are excited to explore new ways to monetize and leverage crypto assets like borrowing and lending.

Bitcoin ETF

Decision about the Bitcoin ETF by securities and exchange commission is pending in October. Exchange traded fund approval from SEC can open new doors for crypto adoption at an institutional level.

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