The Receita Federal, Brazil's tax authority, has established how it will treat the holding and usage of bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The Receita Federal is taking a stance similar to the one announced by the US Internal Revenue Service last month. However, there are some key differences that sets Brazil's stance toward digital currencies apart from those of other governments.
Like the United States, Brazil is treating digital currencies as financial assets, with the Receita Federal imposing a 15% capital gains tax at the time of sale.
However, those who sell less coins with a value of less than 35,000 reals (R$), which is almost $16,000, will not have to pay the tax. This means that bitcoin users in Brazil won't have to calculate capital gains taxes when making small consumer purchases.
The Receita Federal is also requiring annual account declarations from those who possess more than R$1,000 in digital currency holdings.
The rules outlined by the tax authority fit within the current framework established by Brazilian law. Furthermore, the government has said that it does not foresee a need to craft regulations geared specifically toward digital currencies.
Brazilian small business owner and bitcoin supporter José Benchimol saw the news in a positive light, saying that the tax treatment will not impede consumers from adopting digital currencies as a method of payment.
"Considering the circumstances and comparing this decision to other countries' decisions, I consider it good news. Most consumers and investors will not hit the R$35000 in transactions, which tend facilitate its use as a currency and investment tool. For the bigger investors, the government will charge a tax rate of 15% on capital gains, which is in line with capital gains from major investments in the county – stocks, bonds, real estate and so on."
BitWifi co-founder Bernardo Quintão remarked to CoinDesk that, in spite of the government's declaration that bitcoin is not a currency, the tax guidance represents forward progress:
"Personally, for the Brazilian pattern of dealing with novel technology, I think it is a positive approach indeed. It will be a long way before cryptocurrencies are accepted as currency here and this is a good first step."
Other governments worldwide have begun establishing their tax guidance policies regarding bitcoin in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Bulgaria's National Revenue Agency declared that bitcoin sales would trigger a 10% income tax.
In late March, Denmark announced that owing to the "private" nature of bitcoin trading, taxes would not be imposed. Additionally, the Danish National Tax Assessment Board declared that losses on bitcoin holdings are not tax-deductible.
Those interested in learning more about the IRS decision to tax bitcoin in the US as a financial asset can click here.