Australia’s government is pushing ahead with plans to solve the “double taxation” problem of digital currencies in the country.
The government pledged more than a year ago to solve the policy dilemma, wherein Australian businesses are liable for goods-and-services (GST) taxes on any bitcoin sold – as well as taxes should they take them as payment. It’s a point of criticism expressed for years by the country’s bitcoin community, culminating with last year’s commitment.
According to statements published today, the government is consulting with its fintech advisory group on the matter – though it cautioned that any material changes would depend on action on the provincial level.
The policy document, released by Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack, explained:
“Any change to the GST treatment of digital currencies is subject to formal state and territory agreement.”
As for when those changes might be in place, the government didn’t offer a firm deadline.
In the document, the government also reiterated its support for Australia’s digital currency space, declaring that its plans to regulate exchanges under existing AML/KYC statues would help foster development in the sector.
“The Government is committed to facilitating innovation and growth in the digital currency sector and considers that appropriate anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulation will aid that development,” it said.
It’s the latest sign that Australia’s government wants to create an accommodative environment for both bitcoin and blockchain activities.
Indeed, the country has seen a number of key blockchain developments in the past year, including a bid by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to explore the tech (in partnership with blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings) for use as a possible replacement to its existing settlement systems.
ASX told investors this week that the project is “on track”, and it intends to make a decision on whether to adopt it for full-scale use later this year.
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