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Austria: Bitcoin's financial status between 'yes' and 'no'

Wednesday 30 July 2014 | 02:50 PM CET

In Austria, 2 cabinet ministers have given guidance on Bitcoin’s status as a financial instrument and tax treatment, whereas Michael Spindelegger, federal minister for finance and vice chancellor, reiterated that the crypto-currency is not a financial instrument, coindesk.com reports. Both parties issued their respective arguments as replies to parliamentary questions submitted by a member of the legislature.

The federal minister for finance has also reiterated the position of the country’s markets regulator, the Financial Market Authority. Moreover, the finance minister has explained that citizens who sell Bitcoin holdings within a year of purchasing them would be subject to capital gains tax, but if the digital currency assets are held beyond a year, proceeds from a sale are not subject to taxation.

Spindelegger claims that digital currency assets have to be declared as either fixed assets or working capital and classifies bitcoin mining profits subject to value-added tax (VAT) because the activity is comparable to industry labour.

The federal minister for science, research and economy Reinhold Mitterlehner also responded to parliamentary questions. Mitterlehner’s ministry holds a broad portfolio and oversees economic policy and technology and innovation, among other areas.

Reinhold Mitterlehnermade reference to a German policy recognising the crypto-currency as a ‘unit of account’ and requiring commercial Bitcoin transactions to gain permission from the German financial markets regulator.

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