Australia’s government has introduced a bill that delivers on a long-standing promise to solve a “double taxation” problem for cryptocurrencies.
As it stands today, Australians are potentially liable for goods-and-services tax (GST) when they either purchase or spend a cryptocurrency. This state of affairs has been the target of criticism from the country’s local bitcoin community, and in March 2016, the government announced a plan to resolve the issue by removing the tax at the time of purchase.
Now, months after unveiling a budget that included the tax cut, Australia’s government has introduced legislation that would, if passed, codify the elimination. In a September 14 statement, the Australian Treasury said that the plan would “cement Australia’s reputation as a global fintech centre.”
The government explained:
“The Bill will ensure that Australians are no longer charged GST on purchases of digital currency, allowing it to be treated the same way as physical money for GST purposes. The law change will retrospectively apply from 1 July 2017, in line with the 2017 Budget announcement.”
The measure was framed as part of a wider effort to promote financial technologies in Australia, including its homegrown cryptocurrency ecosystem.
“The Bill will make it easier for new innovative digital currency businesses to operate in Australia, as the government takes action to boost jobs and wages.”
It’s not immediately clear when the bill will be brought up for debate and potential revision. Australia has a bicameral legislature, meaning that both chambers would need to approve the legislation before it could advance and become national law.
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