Bitcoin Sales Are Currency Transactions, Russia's Tax Office Says

Russia’s tax agency wants its citizens to report the purchase or sale of digital currencies as currency transactions.

AccessTimeIconAug 10, 2016 at 11:47 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:26 p.m. UTC

Russia's tax agency is encouraging its citizens to report the purchase or sale of digital currencies as currency transactions.

In a tax letter obtained by CoinDesk dated this May, the Ministry of Finance's Federal Tax Service responded to an electronic query on the subject in which it issued new guidance. The statements come amid larger debates domestically about whether bitcoin and other digital currencies should be banned entirely or allowed for specific uses.

The letter includes language describing how the agency treats the purchase and sale of digital currencies between Russia citizens and non-citizens as currency transactions.

A translated copy of the letter states:

"Consequently, the transactions of purchase and sale of cryptocurrency (virtual currency) between residents and non-residents, with the utilization of currency valuables and (or) currency of the Russian Federation, are, in fact, currency transactions."

The letter is notable given how the exact definition of a digital currency remains largely in flux globally.

While in some countries units of blockchain-based code are considered a form of payment instrument, some US agencies consider it a commodity or form of property.

The letter goes on to stipulate that Russian citizens are required to report any currency movements to or from a bank outside of the country to local tax agencies.

It further predates comments from deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev, who in an interview last month said that the Russian Ministry of Finance is becoming supportive of the idea of amending proposed legislation to allow for the use of digital currency as a kind of foreign currency.

"We are formulating the law in such a way in order to allow buying cryptocurrencies for foreign operations and allow Russian citizens to sell bitcoins for profit reasons in foreign countries," he told state-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

A copy of the letter can be found below:

Rubles image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

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. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.