Tag Archives: Australian Taxation

ATO Delays Position On Bitcoin – But Does Offer Some Guidance Via Private Binding Ruling

ATO Delays Position On Bitcoin – But Does Offer Some Guidance Via Private Binding Ruling

This article does not constitute legal, accounting or tax advice. Any tax-related opinions in any part of this article are not tax advice, and were not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties or for promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Everyone should seek the advice of a competent, independent tax professional regarding their particular circumstances.

I make no claims, promises, or warranties about the accuracy of the information provided in this article. Tax advice cannot be provided on a general basis, and must be specifically tailored for each individual by their particular representative. Everything included in this article is the author’s opinion and not a concrete fact.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would be delaying its long awaited position paper on bitcoin until after they’d received advice from the Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson SC.

Understandably, many in the bitcoin community feel that the ATO has been dragging its feet on providing guidance. Further, given that the process of receiving advice from the Solicitor-General can take months, many may end up being caught in limbo come income tax return lodgement time. Which could be a much bigger issue.

Does An ATO View Exist?

There have been murmurings that the ATO has in fact granted private binding rulings to a few taxpayers in relation to the tax treatment of bitcoin. In fact, CoinDesk reported in March that an ‘Australian bitcoin entrepreneur’ had received a ruling from the ATO regarding the taxation treatment of bitcoin. According to the article, the ruling suggested that bitcoin would (i) be subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and (ii) would be taxable on revenue or capital account depending on the activities related to the disposal and acquisition of the bitcoins. In other words, bitcoin would sit squarely in the middle of the Australian tax net (see HERE for the article).

However, this ruling hasn’t been made public via the ATO’s Private Binding Rulings Register (or it may have been removed), which does cast some doubt as to whether it has been finalised. In fact, up until recently there were no rulings which had been published by the ATO on the topic of bitcoin.

However, this changed a few days ago.