Australian Tax Office Hunts for Crypto Tax Evaders

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you are a holder of crypto and a citizen of Australia or are currently residing in the country you had better be on the good books of the national tax agency. The Australian Tax Office through an April 30 press release announced that it has started collecting bulk record from Australian-designated service providers such as digital currency exchanges and other firms that are dealing in crypto.

As it stands the tax office is working with a wide estimate of 500,000 to one million Australians who have been trading in crypto-related activities and ignoring their tax obligations. The number of crypto users on Australia has been growing at a rather rapid rate and this has caught the attention of the authorities who are hopeful that the industry might help in filling some of the existing tax gaps.

Unsurprisingly, the authority’s aim is to carry on a data matching program that will help them to determine whether the taxpayer’s declarations are correct or if the crypto holders are deliberately dodging their fiscal responsibilities.

“The ATO uses third-party data to improve the integrity of the tax system by identifying taxpayers who fail to disclose their income details correctly. We also use third-party data to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations through pre-filling of tax returns. This data will be collected under notice from the DSPs on an ongoing basis,” Will Day, deputy commissioner of the ATO said about the strategy.

Some of the information that the tax authority will be obtaining from the crypto-related business in the country will include purchase and sale records. Fortunately for them, Australian required businesses to keep certain critical records that include digital wallet records and keys, receipts of transfer or purchase of crypto assets as well as exchange records.

All of the taxpayers who will be found to have violated the law will first be contacted by the tax agency once the exercise is complete after which the necessary compliance action will be taken.

Crypto Tax Laws in Australia

Under Australian law, all capital gains that may be obtained from crypto trading are supposed to be taxed. The only exception is where the capital gains or the losses made are in a situation where the digital currency is a “personal use asset”. As such, in cases where digital currencies are disposed as a normal business operation, the profits that are yielded from it are considered to be ordinary income instead of capital gains. Moreover, in such a case the cost of purchasing the cryptocurrencies is considered to be trading stock and is therefore deductible – this kind of businesses are mostly trading firms and exchanges.