The Canada Revenue Agency has clarified its position on bitcoin. It has laid out two different tax rules, covering transactions made for goods or services in bitcoin, and for profits made through speculative trades.
According to a report by Canada’s CBC, the CRA will invoke its barter transaction rules when bitcoins are used to buy goods or services. These are laid out in paragraph 3 of its Interpretation Bulletin. The document says that the value of whatever is received is at least equal to the value of what is given up.
The CRA also has a document called Transactions in Securities, which says that profits made on commodity transactions could be income or capital.
Joseph David, founder of the Calgary-based Virtex bitcoin exchange, advises people to declare capital gains on any transactions made with bitcoins. “We tell anyone that if you have a capital gain on a bitcoin transaction, you’re obligated to report it,” he says.
However, it isn’t clear how the CRA would enforce taxes on bitcoins acquired if they were not converted to dollars. The anonymous nature of the system makes it difficult to track the cryptocurrency if it is acquired and spent without being cashed in.