19 November 2018

Bitcoin exchange agrees to share customer info with tax

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Bits of Gold, a major Israeli cryptocurrency exchange, has entered an agreement to share customers’ transaction details with the country’s tax authority, Israeli media outlets reported citing sources familiar with the agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Israeli cryptocurrency exchange Bits of Gold will provide information of clients who have made transactions exceeding $50,000 over the last 12 months to the Israel Tax Authority.

While Israeli law dictates that financial brokerages are required to pass on information of large and suspicious transactions to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA), they aren’t necessarily obligated to do the same with the tax authority due to privacy concerns. For precedent, an Israeli court rejected a request by the tax authority to receive a client list from a bankrupt bank since those details are protected under privacy laws.

It is therefore particularly notable that this agreement has come to light wherein Bits of Gold – an exchange with over 50,000 registered users – has agreed to pass on client information to the tax authority. The latter is said to be seeking the data to check for money laundering and tax evasion.

The report also revealed that the tax authority audited the company’s books last month, ‘targeting not the company itself but its large-scale clients’. Bits of Gold is merely the first cryptocurrency exchange approached by the tax authority ‘in such a manner’, the report added, suggesting the agency will also be scrutinizing other domestic exchanges.

As reported by CCN, the Israel Tax Authority first issued tax guidelines for cryptocurrency in early 2017. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been deemed as assets wherein retail investors and even bitcoin miners are levied fixed business tax rates. While individual investors are required to cough up the capital gains tax rate of 25% for profits from crypto trading, cryptocurrency exchanges are also required to levy a 17% VAT on their clients.

Earlier this year, the authority doubled down on its position to confirm crypto investors are subject to capital gains taxes.

The tax authority has also narrowed down on fundraising through initial coin offerings (ICOs) in recent months.

2018.07.06 / 17:14
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