According to reports, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the government agency and principal revenue collection body for the Australian government, has reportedly created a special task force to help it track and identify all cryptocurrency transactions in the country for tax collecting purposes. It is meant to help tax officials to “explore common queries and practical issues” involving cryptocurrency trading and tackle tax evasion, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Besides this group of tax and law experts, the agency is also assumed to be working closely with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) as well as state revenue offices, especially in relation to real estate deals. Austrac is the government’s financial intelligence agency all the exchanges in the country must be registered with to operate legally. Banks are also part of this effort as they are known to be very concerned about the compliance of AML / KYC (anti-money laundering and know your customer).
Targeting bitcoin traders for tax evasion investigations seems to be a common practice right now for authorities all over the world and not just Australia. A few recent countries where similar efforts are being made include South Korea, India, and South Africa among others. The most famous case is probably the IRS vs Coinbase, where US investigators use the services of companies like Chainalysis to hunt down bitcoin users for evading taxes.
“We are consulting with key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in tax issues relating to cryptocurrencies. We will discuss common queries and scenarios, practical issues and the tax implications for current and anticipated future developments in relation to cryptocurrencies,” an ATO spokesperson commented. The purpose is to “help inform the ATO’s strategy for supporting the community in understanding the tax implications of cryptocurrency arrangements they may enter into, including any additional advice and guidance.”
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