What are the ATO doing with their treatment of cryptocurrencies?
Currently there is not a specific definitive Australian tax rule covering cryptocurrency, other than the Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Measures No.6) Bill 2017, which amends the GST Tax Act to ensure that cryptocurrency is not double taxed for GST purposes.
The ATO have released several guidance documents, such as The Tax Treatment of crypto currencies in Australia - specifically bitcoin and GST and digital currency. There is also a draft legislative determination, DCC 2018/D1 which deals with GST foreign currency exchange conversion.
Because cryptocurrencies are so unique, and so new, it is possible that ATO legislation specifically covering their tax treatment, will be on the horizon in the not to distant future.
In the international arena France and Germany have put forward a proposal to consider regulation of crypto currency at the G20 group Summit in Argentina this month, which could mean Australia will join the call for international cryptocurrency regulation.
Are cryptocurrency transactions really anonymous?
The short answer: No.
From 3rd April 2018, a 100 point identification checks for cryptocurrency investors/traders will be compulsory. This is because Digital currency exchanges operating in Australia will need to sign up to the Digital Currency Exchange register, and comply with AUSTRAC's reporting obligations. This is already a basic requirement to open an account with most exchanges.
This means the ATO and other government departments, such as Centrelink will be able to use data matching technologies to analyse and trace cryptocurrency transactions to their source. This increased transparency means the ATO will have access to personal data such as tax file numbers, and addresses as well as birth date name and transaction records.
It is also likely that international cryptocurrency, transactions will also be captured, as part of the international push to crackdown on cryptocurrency tax evasion.
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