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Ireland Releases Guidance on Cryptocurrency Taxes

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Ireland Releases Guidance on Cryptocurrency Taxes

Ireland has announced that Irish-based companies handling transactions via digital currency will be faced with the “normal” tax rules according to the country’s tax authorities in an announcement on May 15.

Tax Clarification Required

A lot of concerns and queries by potential cryptocurrency focussed businesses culminated to the announcement by the Irish Revenue Commissioners on May 15, 2018.

According to the tax office, the need for assistive clarification was required, in order to eradicate any confusion and uncertainty among taxpayers.

Ireland is among a number of countries that are trying to get a grasp on the know-how of cryptocurrency. The challenge here is to weave the existing tax structure seamlessly around digital currency and the Group of 20 (G20) are devised to come up with policy options for consideration in June 2018.

Caroline Devlin, a Dublin-based tax partner at law firm Arthur Cox, stated to BloombergLaw on May 18:

“There is a realization that while cryptocurrencies may not be for everyone, they are growing in popularity.”

No Guidance on Initial Coin Offerings

Devlin confirmed that the guidance is solitary from Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) along with the position of the tax structure of the company in question. ICOs come in a number of ways, one of them being utility payment tokens, out of which each will have to deal with tax issues separately.  

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A mindful breakdown of tax will have to be considered in addition to regulatory and securities law aspects by companies aiming at dealing with cryptocurrency, she informed. “There is clear demand in the market to locate ICO issuing companies in reputable jurisdictions, and as such we expect the issues will become clearer over time.”

Salient Features of Irish Tax Rules

According to Devlin the guidance proved to be worthwhile, as every ounce of doubt and confusion was evaded from the domain of trade that was related to digital currency.

The tax authority informed that there were no “special” rules exclusively for crypto related transactions, which confirms our perspective that existing tax rules are to be applied to cryptocurrency transactions.

  1. Income tax (IT): the profits and losses of a non-incorporated business on cryptocurrency transactions must be reflected in their accounts and will be taxable on normal IT rules.
  2. Corporation tax: Normal rules will apply to crypto transactions and the same will be reflected in the accounts. Accountancy isn’t permitted using crypto as it isn’t defined for accounting and tax purposes, yet.
  3. VAT Exemptions: Being a ‘negotiable instrument,’ cryptocurrencies and financial services that are inclusive of crypto to traditional transactions are exempted from VAT (Paragraph 6(1)(c) of the VAT Consolidation Act 2010) by the tax authorities.

Mining is not considered an economic activity and hence, is out of scope for VAT. Based on the euro value of the cryptocurrency at the time of supply, suppliers of goods and services against crypto will be taxed for VAT purposes, according to the tax authorities.

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