Australian Senate committee says bitcoin should be recognized as currency
An Australian Senate committee believes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be recognized as currency for Goods and Services Tax (GST) purposes, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review. The Senate Economics References Committee has published its recommendations in a report titled “Digital Currency – game changer or bit player“.
The Committee’s recommendations overturn an earlier Australian Taxation Office (ATO) ruling that claimed virtual currencies were “intangible assets.” This change, according to the Committee’s report, will provide incentive for bitcoin companies to stay in Australia, as the previous ATO ruling meant virtual currency companies had to pay capital gains and fringe benefits taxes in addition to GST.
Senator Sam Dastyari, head of the Committee, said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review that this change would not cause the state to lose a large amount of revenue.
The Australian Financial Review noted that, in December 2014, the largest Australian cryptocurrency platform, Coinjar, moved its headquarters to the U.K. to avoid potentially financially damaging regulations.