Australians trading in cryptocurrency may soon get a call from the Australian Taxation Office if its new data-matching program flags a problem.
Each year the ATO matches more than 600 million transactions, but to date its focus has been on transactions that pass through major financial institutions.
Now, the ATO says will it begin collecting records from Australian cryptocurrency designated service providers (DSPs), on an ongoing basis, to ensure people trading in cryptocurrency are paying the right amount of tax.
The data, which will include cryptocurrency purchase and sale information, could also help identify serious black economy fraud and evasion.
The ATO said it was estimated there are now between 500,000 to 1 million Australians who have invested in crypto-assets.
While investors have previously made big gains, the value of bitcoin, which is traded on the global cryptocurrency exchange market, has been falling in recent months.
In late 2017 the market boomed, with bitcoin reaching highs of $US19,783 ($28,111).
Inside The Cryptocurrency Revolution - VICE on HBO
But now its price has fallen to $US5,141 ($7,305).
What data the ATO will be checking
Deputy Commissioner Will Day said the ATO’s use of third-party data would better identify taxpayers who fail to disclose their income details correctly.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are considered as property for tax purposes in Australia. This means individuals profiting from its trade may be liable for capital gains tax.
But a cryptocurrency investor — that is, an Australian-resident taxpayer who holds a cryptocurrency for more than 12 months before it is used or sold — may be eligible for the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount.
“We are looking at whether the taxpayer has omitted capital gains on the sale of cryptocurrencies,” Mr Day said.
“We are making contact with a range of cryptocurrency service providers including brokerage services, payment facilitators, exchange services and even bitcoin ATM providers.
“We will be getting a range of sale and contact-related details, as well as transaction dates and times and amount of transfers for individual account holders.”
Mr Day said following the data-matching exercise, people may be contacted by the ATO and will be given at least 28 days to clarify any information that has been obtained from the data provider.
He said penalties may be significantly reduced in circumstances where the agency was voluntarily contacted prior to an audit.
ABC News Report- Deputy Commissioner Will Day
30 April 2019
If you require assistance to complete your tax return, contact your working professional at Coffs Coast Consulting.
- The ATO wants to ensure people trading in cryptocurrency are not underpaying or avoiding tax
- Individuals profiting from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be liable for capital gains tax.
- The ATO said cryptocurrency had been used to move funds within the black economy and hide money offshore