The French Ministry of Economy and Finance has said that, while bitcoin is not officially recognized by the state, revenues generated from digital currency transactions are subject to taxation.
However, under French law, there exists a certain margin of tolerance for minor and irregular revenues for those who do not make their living from bitcoin trading, according to the ministry.
"For the time being, there is no declarative obligation in what concerns bitcoin,” a spokesperson for the French ministry told local daily Le Monde, explaining:
Disputed legal status of bitcoin
The unclear legal status of bitcoin in France makes imposing taxes on bitcoin-related revenues wired to personal bank accounts a controversial issue, according to the French Banking Federation (Fédération bancaire française or FBF):
In addition to this, the bank could also ask its clients whether bitcoin trading is their main professional activity, said the FBF.
The statement by the Ministry of Economy and Finance comes as a confirmation of the stance presented by the Bank of France in a paper published in December 2013.
In it the bank said:
As previously reported, in late 2013, French central bankers joined their many international counterparts in issuing a warning against the risks of bitcoin trading. The bank warned that the price of bitcoin is inherently volatile, and that cryptocurrency users could have difficulties with converting their bitcoins into real money.
Moreover, the bank said that, under French law, bitcoin cannot be considered as a legal currency in line with the country’s monetary and financial code.
While the document recognizes electronic currency, it also specifies that all currency has to be fitted with a legal guarantee of reimbursement at its nominal value.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.