Australian tax office targets 1.2M crypto investors for tax compliance

  • Australian Tax Office seeks data from 1.2M crypto users for tax compliance.
  • Cryptocurrencies are classified as taxable assets in Australia and capital gains tax applies.
  • Global crackdown on crypto tax evasion has gained momentum, especially in Canada, Turkey, and the U.S.

In a move aimed at enforcing tax compliance within the burgeoning crypto market, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reportedly seeking data from up to 1.2 million cryptocurrency exchange users.

The initiative, detailed in a notice seen by Reuters, underscores the ATO’s efforts to identify individuals who may have neglected their tax obligations related to crypto trading.

ATO going after tax evaders

The sought-after data includes a range of personal information such as users’ dates of birth, social media account details, and phone numbers, alongside transaction-related specifics like wallet addresses, types of coins traded, and bank account information.

This comprehensive approach aims to facilitate the identification of traders who have potentially failed to report their crypto-related income and pay the required capital gains tax on profits accrued from cryptocurrency transactions.

Unlike other foreign currencies, cryptocurrencies are classified as taxable assets in Australia, necessitating individuals engaged in crypto trading to fulfil their tax obligations.

According to the ATO, the complex and evolving nature of the cryptocurrency landscape often leads to challenges in tax compliance awareness. The agency noted in its notice that the ease of purchasing crypto assets using falsified information could attract individuals seeking to evade their tax obligations.

Crypto tax compliance across the globe

Australia is not alone in its pursuit of tax compliance within the crypto space. Across the globe, jurisdictions are stepping up efforts to collect unpaid taxes arising from digital asset gains. In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is reportedly conducting over 400 audits related to cryptocurrency and investigating numerous crypto investors to recover unpaid taxes.

Similarly, Turkey is expected to introduce crypto-related legislation to establish a legal framework for crypto taxes later this year, reflecting the growing recognition of cryptocurrencies in economies worldwide.

In the United States, regulatory proposals aim to raise long-term capital gains tax rates, particularly targeting high-income investors. The Biden administration’s Federal Budget proposal includes plans for a 44.6% tax rate on long-term capital gains for individuals earning over $1 million annually. Additionally, there is a proposal for a 25% tax on unrealized gains for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, though its implementation remains uncertain.

While these regulatory measures signal a tightening of oversight in the cryptocurrency realm, the extent of their impact on market dynamics and investor behaviour remains to be seen.

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