Indonesia’s Crypto Watchdog Pushes for Friendlier Taxes as Regulatory Overhaul Looms

Local exchanges have previously blamed falling trading volumes on commodities taxes on crypto.

AccessTimeIconMar 1, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:29 p.m. UTC
  • Indonesia’s crypto regulator wants the government to reconsider taxes on the sector.
  • The country currently taxes crypto as commodities, but that classification may change next year when oversight falls under the financial services authority OJK.

An official at Indonesia’s crypto regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Supervisory Agency (Bappebti), has called on the Finance Minister to reconsider tax rates for digital assets.

Crypto is treated as commodities in the Southeast Asian nation, and is therefore subject to value-added tax (VAT) and income tax. But this is set to change when crypto oversight switches over to the country’s broader financial services regulator OJK in 2025.

"As crypto is expected to join the financial sector by January 2025, we urge the Tax Director General to review these taxes. It's been over a year since these rules were put in place, and taxes usually get checked every year," Tirta Karma Senjaya from Bappebti said during an event on Tuesday.

Tirta also said that the digital asset industry is still in its infancy and needs space to grow before making significant tax contributions to national revenue.

Existing taxes have been called out by the industry as burdensome for users and service providers. Indonesian crypto exchanges blamed a dramatic 60% drop in trading volumes last year from 2022 on taxes, which they fear could drive users away to foreign exchanges.

While Bappebti has not specified how it wants the Finance Ministry to revise the taxes, it is likely that it seeks the removal of VAT, to match how stocks are treated. The industry expects the shift in oversight to OJK – which oversees all financial services in Indonesia, including banking, capital markets, insurance and pensions – could mean crypto will be treated as securities in the country.

Dwi Astuti, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said on Wednesday that they "welcome input from Bappebti and the public" and that the issue of taxes "will certainly be discussed internally."

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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Shenna Peter

Shenna Peter is a Senior Editor at CoinDesk Indonesia.