German Federal Fiscal Court announces crypto profits are taxable

Friday 3 March 2023 10:37 CET | News

The German Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) has declared that profits from cryptocurrency transactions are now subject to taxation in Germany.

On 28 February 2023, the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) made the decision that profits derived from buying and selling cryptocurrencies are now liable to income tax. The court not only confirmed a speculation period of one year but also asserted that virtual currencies, recognised as economic goods with market value, traded as a means of payment on various platforms, fall under the purview of the Income Tax Act as "private sales transactions".

The judges dismissed the assertion of an unnamed plaintiff who contended that virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Monero are merely algorithms and not genuine economic assets. As reported by Tagesschau, the plaintiff had declared a profit of EUR 3.4 million from private crypto transactions to the tax office in 2017 but resisted complying with taxation requirements.


German Federal Fiscal Court announces crypto profits are taxable

Classification as an economic good

As per the Senate of the Federal Fiscal Court, cryptocurrencies are considered a distinct economic commodity for tax purposes, comparable to items like vintage cars or event tickets. If these assets are exchanged or sold within 365 days, they are subject to a profit tax. The judges emphasize a broad interpretation of the concept of an economic good, deeming technical details of virtual currencies irrelevant to their classification. The key criterion is that these goods can be acquired and are "accessible to a separate independent evaluation," a condition aptly met by cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency transactions controllability

The BFH rejected the notion that transactions involving cryptocurrencies are challenging to control, and therefore, income tax cannot be universally applied. The financial administration has long sought to subject these transactions to income tax, and in the interim, extensive information obligations and control measures have been implemented.

UK offering crypto tax exemption

In contrast, January 2023 saw the UK introduce a tax exemption for foreign investors who acquire crypto through local investment managers or brokers. Simultaneously, the Financial Services and Markets Bill, undergoing parliamentary debate, proposes to empower local financial regulators with increased authority over cryptocurrencies if it becomes law. Moreover, the UK Treasury plans to initiate consultations in the coming weeks to explore regulatory measures for the cryptocurrency industry.

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Keywords: cryptocurrency, crypto, crypto asset, cryptocurrency exchange
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
Countries: Germany
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DeFi & Crypto & Web3

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