Tax treatment of digital currencies – bitcoin

Transacting with bitcoin

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.

 

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

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