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Bitcoin Government The Almighty Buck

Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead 245

Posted by timothy
from the money-need-not-derive-from-the-state dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Norway is the latest country to consider the legal implications of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Norway's director general of taxation has come out and said '[Bitcoin] doesn't fall under the usual definition of money,' which means that it will be considered as assets and charged under capital gains laws. This sentiment was echoed last week by the European banking authority as well, where citizens were warned of using the cyrptocurrency."
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Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead

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  • by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:26AM (#45702055)
    If someone makes a bunch of profit on Bitcoins, how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

    Also, how are capital gains taxed there? In the US, capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most normal income, so if the choice is between normal income and capital gains, I'll take the latter every time (since I'm in the US).

    • by therealkevinkretz (1585825) * on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:34AM (#45702081)

      In the US, To be taxed at the lower rate, it must be classified as "long-term" - I.e. the asset must be held for at least a year before it's sold. Other (short-term) gains are taxed at the same rate as income.

      • by alexander_686 (957440) on Monday December 16, 2013 @08:05AM (#45702439)

        To follow up, and make the point even more explicitly, the same logic holds for foreign currency. if I hold Euros for more than a year and the Euro gets strong, I have to pay cap gains on that profit.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday December 16, 2013 @08:36AM (#45702551)
        In case of bitcoins, does that mean that you have to track them individually to keep yourself informed for how long you had each one of them?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aliquis (678370)

          I don't see why, average price per share is good enough for stocks and would be good enough for bitcoins.

          Keep track of all your purchases and you know what you've paid for them, then inform the right authorities about any sales (of coins, a.k.a. also purchases of other things using them) giving the numbers sold, at what exchange rate and your average price paid for the ones you hold.

          Which of course will get pretty tricky if you buy an item which have no value set in NOK, USD, Euro or such.

          • I don't see how "average price per X" is going to influence someone's impression whether the bitcoins I've just sold are the ones I had for a month or the ones I bought a year ago.
          • For stocks one normally uses costs bases on individual tax lots and not average price.

            The rule of thumb is if you can identify the costs acquiring the asset. For a stock purchase you get a confirm slip – so you can identify. For large projects you should be able to identify your costs. It is when you are running a business with lots of inputs and outputs and it is not worth the effort that one can use average costs.

        • by locofungus (179280) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:11AM (#45702685)

          I don't know about Norway's rules but in the UK, yes.

          In the UK capital gains are calculated on a last in first out basis where the asset is fungible - shares, gold things like that.

          However, I'm not sure exactly how it would work for an asset like bitcoin that you had mined. In theory the electricity costs should be offsetable when you cash in. When you're just buying and selling it would work like any other share or gold.

          Anyone doing serious bitcoin mining now (where electricity costs are going to be a substantial fraction of any notional gain) would be strongly advised to get professional advice - it might make sense to setup a company for the mining.

          • Actually, now I check it's not that simple - I don't know if it has changed recently or I'm just misremembering.

            You match: Same day
            then within 30 days
            then the rest.

            and you work out an average cost for each chunk.

            http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cgt/shares/find-cost.htm [hmrc.gov.uk]

            Tim.

          • I don't see why Bitcoin couldn't be treated exactly like gold for purposes of taxation?

            If you earn it by "mining" that's pure income, and if you trade it, then you've got capital gain/loss.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        In the US, To be taxed at the lower rate, it must be classified as "long-term" - I.e. the asset must be held for at least a year before it's sold. Other (short-term) gains are taxed at the same rate as income.

        Isn't capital gains tax charged on the appreciation of an asset from the moment you acquire it to the moment you sell it?

        If you mine a bitcoin and sell it immediately, then the capital gain on it would be zero. You would only have a gain if you bought the bitcoins from somebody else. That is of course how many bitcoins are acquired.

        • Cap gains start when your purchase something, not when you manufacture it. Normally - there are exceptions. However, if you sell it under 1 year you pay taxes as if it were "ordinary" income.

          And yes, if you mined and sold it immediately, your cap gains would be zero. However, you would have generated income and would have to pay taxes on that. Think of it as manufacturing.

        • If you mine a bitcoin and sell it immediately, then the capital gain on it would be zero. You would only have a gain if you bought the bitcoins from somebody else. That is of course how many bitcoins are acquired.

          Who else would be in a comparable situation? For example, an artist creating paintings. He or she starts with some pots full of colours and an empty canvas, puts the colour on the canvas, and sells the result. How is that treated tax wise? I think if you sell the result for money, that would be treated as taxable income.

    • by cdrnet (1582149)

      Does it need to? It seems tax systems based on self-reporting and trust can work quite well (provided the taxes are reasonably low and people have a say in how the money is spent, as it should be in any democracy). For example, tax fraud is assumed to be low in Switzerland compared to its neighbor states despite the government having no way to know whether people self-report correctly.

      • Very little of the US tax system is based on self-reporting.

        Employers report wages, capital gains are reported by the big wall street firms, and PayPal reports if you do a lot of online sales.

        Beyond that, almost nothing is reported and you can turn in any numbers you want. The IRS does audit some people, but if you keep two sets of books, how are they to know?

        The IRS doesn't have access to bank accounts or other private financial transactions outside of a detailed audit.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          The IRS doesn't have access to bank accounts or other private financial transactions outside of a detailed audit.

          That's what they want you to believe, so you think you're getting away with it.

          They prefer *everybody* to be a criminal in one way or another. That way they'll have something on you when they need a 'favor'.

        • As tax systems go, the US requires one of the highest levels of self-reporting. Think small business and all of those deductions.

          I am not saying a lot of information is not reported - just the ratio.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:53AM (#45702161)

        tax fraud is assumed to be low in Switzerland compared to its neighbor states

        Of course it is. Everything that's considered "tax fraud" in the rest of the world is considered a "business opportunity" in Switzerland.

        • by oobayly (1056050) on Monday December 16, 2013 @08:22AM (#45702495)

          Mod comment:
          Interesting: For some that may not know about the Swiss banking system
          Overrated: For those that do know about the Swiss banking system
          Insightful: Well, it's true
          Funny: Made fun of the Swiss - always good
          Troll: Winding them up about their dodgy banking system

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            Mod comment:

            Interesting: For some that may not know about the Swiss banking system
            Overrated: For those that do know about the Swiss banking system
            Insightful: Well, it's true
            Funny: Made fun of the Swiss - always good
            Troll: Winding them up about their dodgy banking system

            Underrated: Anything that could be put in so many categories must be worth more than that!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:31AM (#45702779)

          Everything that's considered "tax fraud" in the rest of the world *was* considered a "business opportunity" *by certain Swiss banks*.

          FTFY

          As a Swiss citizen I'd like to point out that many (if not most) Swiss people don't agree with those business practices and are fed up with the bad reputation it has earned all of us. Much like not all Americans agree with US foreign policy (i.e. dropping bombs on innocent people)

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            Much like not all Americans agree with US foreign policy (i.e. dropping bombs on innocent people)

            just to be a pedant that's an implementation detail, not policy,

      • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday December 16, 2013 @07:01AM (#45702189)

        For example, tax fraud is assumed to be low in Switzerland compared to its neighbor states.

        Tax fraud committed by Swiss citizens may be low . . . but tax fraud committed by citizens of its neighbor states in Switzerland is very high.

      • It seems tax systems based on self-reporting and trust can work quite well

        History begs to differ. Look at the introduction of withholding tax in the US, done during WWII. I mean, people were all about buying war bonds, rationing, etc. Yet it increased revenues.

        Dishonesty is only one obstacle. Another is planning: Remembering to set aside enough money each year to pay your taxes. It's been shown that not having the cash to pay leads to not/illegitimately filing to avoid embarrassment, which in turn is

    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      Well this applies to anything else. If I aquire a load of highly prized poppies and don't report my acquisitions, how will they know?

      In the end thats what tax investigators are for. Fortunately the lack of anonymity in bitcoin (Just look up the blockchain) , makes it easy enough to work out.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Well this applies to anything else.

        Yes.

        If I aquire a load of highly prized poppies and don't report my acquisitions, how will they know?

        Sooner or later you'll sell them and convert their value to real money.

        Poppies are much safer than Bitcoin in this respect. Poppies are physical so can sell them for cash and keep it under the mattress. Bitcoin can only be exchanged for real money electronically, good luck keeping that a secret from the spies.

    • by bentcd (690786) <bcd@pvv.org> on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:48AM (#45702133) Homepage

      If someone makes a bunch of profit on Bitcoins, how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      They won't, but if they later find out they'll nail you to the wall.

      As an immediate concern, if you're making lots of bitcoins then there's not really that much to spend them on directly and so you'll want to convert them into national currency. At this point the tax man may notice and start asking questions.

      When the time comes that you can easily buy a Ferrari for bitcoins they will also have a chance of noticing, and will ask you how you could afford that Ferrari.

      If you go to any length to avoid the tax man noticing any of those two scenarios, you're probably guilty of some shade of money laundering which will get you nailed that much harder if they do discover you.

      Also, how are capital gains taxed there? In the US, capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most normal income, so if the choice is between normal income and capital gains, I'll take the latter every time (since I'm in the US).

      I think it's much the same thing here. Capital gains is 28% or thereabouts, whereas income tax is progressive from 28% up to 50%, -ish. There may be important nuances I am omitting, being a wage slave rather than a tycoon.

      • When the time comes that you can easily buy a Ferrari for bitcoins they will also have a chance of noticing, and will ask you how you could afford that Ferrari.

        How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

        You're right, if they do catch you cheating, the penalties are harsh... the question to ask is, what are the odds of being caught?

        • by Wootery (1087023)

          Vehicles are registered to individuals, though. Even if the vehicles database and the tax database aren't unified now, they probably will be some day.

          • Vehicles can be, but don't have to be... A business can own a vehicle...

            Even if the IRS had access to the state DMV databases (Ha, they can't get healthcare.gov to work, try making 50 different DMVs talk to the IRS properly!), what would they do with all that info?

            Look for people with a Rolls Royce registered who also claim to earn little money? Then what? Perhaps it was a gift from family, perhaps it was purchased with savings, perhaps the person doesn't report a lot of income because of business lo

            • by Captain Hook (923766) on Monday December 16, 2013 @08:31AM (#45702521)

              Look for people with a Rolls Royce registered who also claim to earn little money? Then what? Perhaps it was a gift from family, perhaps it was purchased with savings.

              The point is, an automated database query is cheap and gives a shorter list of people to investigate compared to everyone in the tax durisdiction.

              If you have a car whose purchase price is $40000 and you withdraw $30000-35000 from savings in the months before I think the database query could reasonably file you under the low priority investigation list. If you have a car whose purchase price is $40000 and no transactions which match up with it, then you get filed under the medium priority investigation list.

              And if you have multiple houses and no income or savings to account for the purchase costs then you get filed under high priority and a human taxman will start an investigation.

              You use the cheapest method available to create ever shorter lists of people with anomalies to pass to the next, slightly more expensive filter.

            • Yeah, it can't possibly work. That's why the Italian equivalent of the IRS didn't do a swoop at some fancy ski resort a few months back and even if they had they wouldn't have caught anyone.

              http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-08/italy-police-pursue-ferraris-to-nab-tax-evaders.html [bloomberg.com]

              Perhaps this, perhaps that. Perhaps you're an imbecile.

        • by mysidia (191772) on Monday December 16, 2013 @07:18AM (#45702251)

          How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

          If you pay cash, or other currency; the dealer is required to file a CTR to report the Large cash transaction.

          If you trade something for the ferrari, the dealer had to fill out a 1099B. If you take out a loan or pay by check, your banks will record a transaction.

          Large transactions in or out of your bank account are covertly reportable in the US behind your back -- your bank is required to report due to the Bank Secrecy Act and forbidden from informing you that they have reported.

          If you bring $100,000 into your bank account, or take out a loan for $250k on a car, or you engage in new unusual spending habits, the tax authorities definitely will almost certainly be made aware that you did that.

          • You need to reread the Bank Secrecy Act... It applies to cash transactions, non-cash transactions don't count unless the bank has a reason to suspect you're committing a crime.

            http://www.ehow.com/about_4672449_transactions-do-banks-report-irs_.html [ehow.com]

            A CTR is required for every deposit, withdrawal or exchange over $10,000 in cash. Wire transfers or transactions by check and non-cash means are not subject to the CTR filing requirement.

            In addition to the above, banks can file for an exception from the CTR for a customer.

            Once you get above a given amount of money in the bank, you move from the tellers to the private banking dept and receive a higher level service rep who handles things for

            • by fnj (64210)

              non-cash transactions don't count unless the bank has a reason to suspect you're committing a crime

              If you are trying to induce me to laugh, you succeeded. Anybody can suspect anybody of anything for any reason. I bet there is no penalty for "false suspicion" either.

        • by teg (97890)

          When the time comes that you can easily buy a Ferrari for bitcoins they will also have a chance of noticing, and will ask you how you could afford that Ferrari.

          How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

          The car must be registered and insured. Also, Norway has a wealth tax and you'd have to list it there. Of course, you could try to find a way around all of these but the harder you try, the more likely they'd get for money laundering etc. instead if they actually caught you.

        • I will point out this was one of the ways that Al Capone was nailed. He declared a very low personal income yet lived a lavish lifestyle. Questions were asked.

        • by bentcd (690786) <bcd@pvv.org> on Monday December 16, 2013 @08:15AM (#45702457) Homepage

          How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

          It would need to be reported one way or the other. The easiest way to try to get around it is possibly not to register it but then you won't have a number plate (unless you fake one) and so couldn't use it on public roads. Maybe you could drive it on foreign plates and hope no one notices/cares that you've been doing so for far too long. You'd still be required to list it as wealth but if you choose not to there may not be any obvious ways for the tax man to find out on his own.

          What will happen from time to time though is that someone you pissed off at some point reports you and then you may be in trouble again.

          You're right, if they do catch you cheating, the penalties are harsh... the question to ask is, what are the odds of being caught?

          If you want to drive the car on public roads it's probably very difficult to avoid registering it. Cheating one's way around this is probably possible but if you ever have an accident or otherwise end up in the spotlight it's game over.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          If it is more than €15,000, then yes it is reportable.

        • How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

          You're not in Kansas anymore, friend! Not only is the Ferrari dealership (I think there is a single one) obliged to report purchases over a certain amount, but how much you're taxed is a matter of public record. They used to print them in the newspaper, even, though there's slightly more restrictions on them these days. Want to know how much I made in 2009? be my guest [www.nrk.no]! (Spoiler alert: I'm not

        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          You have to register it to get your license plate, and you have to pay taxes whaen you get it (100% of the value of the car, to be exact).
        • In Germany, the car dealer will report it to the inland revenue. The car dealer will also want a paper from an insurance company that proves you have provisional insurance (valid for fourteen days). The insurance company will want you to sign an insurance contract within fourteen days, or show an insurance certificate from a different insurance, and if you provide neither, they will inform the police, who will stop you from driving a car without insurance. The inland revenue will have a quick look at the pu
    • by TheLink (130905)

      My advice is if you want to avoid (not evade) tax in a big way you should consult a real pro.

      I don't know much about tax stuff but if I understand correctly the Tax arms of many governments are able to use the "guilty till proven innocent" approach.

      e.g. if one day your undisclosed profits amount to something significant and you have a more lavish lifestyle, more expensive house and car than explainable by your tax filings the Tax Dept may require you to prove yourself innocent or get in big trouble.

      I don't

      • e.g. if one day your undisclosed profits amount to something significant and you have a more lavish lifestyle, more expensive house and car than explainable by your tax filings the Tax Dept may require you to prove yourself innocent or get in big trouble.

        Maybe I should stop complaining about the US government, maybe it isn't so bad if such nonsense happens in Europe.

        How I live is none of the government's business, unless they have cause to investigate, most private financial transactions are out of reach of the IRS.

        The only real exception would be the NSA looking for national security reasons, but frankly the NSA doesn't care about tax cheats, they are concerned with terrorism. Since I have zero intention of ever being a terrorist, I'm not really worr

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          the NSA doesn't care about tax cheats, they are concerned with terrorism. Since I have zero intention of ever being a terrorist, I'm not really worried about the NSA.

          Really?

          The NSA generates (and stores) data.

          The trouble with having mountains of data is that sooner or later a politician will think "I could use that for...XXXX".

          Or some police department will request it. Or the IRS.

          If you build it, they will come.

        • by fnj (64210)

          e.g. if one day your undisclosed profits amount to something significant and you have a more lavish lifestyle, more expensive house and car than explainable by your tax filings the Tax Dept may require you to prove yourself innocent or get in big trouble.

          Maybe I should stop complaining about the US government, maybe it isn't so bad if such nonsense happens in Europe.

          How I live is none of the government's business, unless they have cause to investigate, most private financial transactions are out of reach of

        • How I live is none of the government's business, unless they have cause to investigate

          The have cause to investigate, you've claimed a certain level of income but publically have assets which would be hard to afford at that stated level of income.

    • If someone makes a bunch of profit on Bitcoins, how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      If you spend the money eventually, and it is enough money, they might figure out that there must be income, and then they can ask you what the income is. And you might be in trouble for not telling them without being asked. If you have income that is tax free, you better keep proof of that income.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      If someone makes a bunch of profit on Bitcoins, how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      How they'd do it in the US --- when you cash out your Bitcoins for US Dollars; the exchange or other organization you sell more than $100 Bitcoins to as an individual, has to fill out a 1099B or other 1099 information return, showing the proceeds of the transaction, with what you traded for the money.

      In Norway; you may very well be on your honor to report, at least, until the enforcemen

      • A 1099B is for stock transactions from a broker, I doubt one would be filed for Bitcoin. Even less likely if it is an overseas exchange.

        A 1099 Misc is for paying contractors, and the requirement there is $600.

        A 1099-K is required for accepting payments via credit cards, like with PayPal or a merchant account.

        It is possible that at some point, major US Bitcoin exchanges might start reporting the transactions somehow, but that is just a transaction, it isn't "income" or "profit".

        There is a world of d

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Ever hear of capital gains tax?

        • by mysidia (191772)

          It is possible that at some point, major US Bitcoin exchanges might start reporting the transactions somehow, but that is just a transaction, it isn't "income" or "profit".

          An information return is required by law, based on payments that a Bitcoin "Exchange" or Bank makes to an individual. It is up to the individual to report on their tax return what portion of the proceeds are income.

          A 1099B is for stock transactions from a broker

          A 1099B information return is the form required to be filed by barter e

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      If someone makes a bunch of profit on Bitcoins, how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      Also, how are capital gains taxed there? In the US, capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most normal income, so if the choice is between normal income and capital gains, I'll take the latter every time (since I'm in the US).

      If someone sells Bitcoin for currency there is really nothing different about it from any other asset trading.

      The tax authority will do research, create a list of Bitcoin exchanges and than request information from each exchange about any and all Norwegian citizens that trade and about any and all trades that they have made.

      • The tax authority will do research, create a list of Bitcoin exchanges and than request information from each exchange about any and all Norwegian citizens that trade and about any and all trades that they have made.

        Ok, fair enough... So what do you do with that information? Just trading currency between Bitcoins and another currency does not make any of it income.

        What if you just move the money back and forth, every day, for a year? Each transaction is not "income". Any profit or loss is income, and probably would be reported the same way stock gains and losses are reported (since those are assets as well). But the original money is not income.

        • by fnj (64210)

          Erm, did you miss the part where Norway declared Bitcoins an asset rather than currency? That's the whole point. So you're NOT just trading currency between two different forms. Not in Norway.

          Arbitrary regulations are a bitch.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      Same way as they do for every other exchangeable item - sooner or later you have to turn it into real money to be able to use it.

    • how is Norway going to know if the person doesn't self report?

      They just look in the bitcoin transaction log (and link it to you via stuff you bought)

      You thought bitcoin was anonymous?
      Think again.

      It is the wet dream of the IRS (and NSA, etc.)

    • by rtaylor (70602)

      They'll notice the same way they find out about other hidden income. Bank activity and assets in your possession.

    • by gutnor (872759)
      Considering that bitcoin by design keep the log of all transaction. Once your ID is linked to a wallet anybody will be able to know whatever you did with your money. Obviously not a big problem to workaround but the risk is a lot higher than with cash transaction.
  • So if I am mining bit coin, and it costs me more in electricity than I am getting in return from the bit coin I make, does that mean I get to write off my electric bill?

    Or lets say I am making money, is my electric bill the cost basis for the bit coin? But I also needed a computer to mine, can I factor that into the basis?

    I don't think they realize there are other legal ways to get bit coin besides buying it. Or perhaps then they just figure the basis is $0 and tax you 100% on the actual value.

    • So if I am mining bit coin, and it costs me more in electricity than I am getting in return from the bit coin I make, does that mean I get to write off my electric bill?

      Are you asking seriously?

      If you run it as a business, all profits are taxable, all costs are tax deductible. However, if you claim to run a business and lose money all the time, the tax office will say they believe this is a hobby. Same as someone with a farm raising race horses who loses money every year and probably does it not as a business but as a hobby.

      So you don't get to deduct anything, but you keep all the invoices, and if eventually you make money, you can offset your profits with your losse

      • by mysidia (191772)

        If you run it as a business, all profits are taxable, all costs are tax deductible. However, if you claim to run a business and lose money all the time, the tax office will say they believe this is a hobby. Same as someone with a farm raising race horses who loses money every year and probably does it not as a business but as a hobby.

        That's a bit hard to claim "this is a hobby", if your entity that is losing money is incorporated and has multiple beneficial owners.

        I suspect if you hired good account

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday December 16, 2013 @07:02AM (#45702197)

      So if I am mining bit coin, and it costs me more in electricity than I am getting in return from the bit coin I make, does that mean I get to write off my electric bill?

      Or lets say I am making money, is my electric bill the cost basis for the bit coin? But I also needed a computer to mine, can I factor that into the basis?

      I don't think they realize there are other legal ways to get bit coin besides buying it. Or perhaps then they just figure the basis is $0 and tax you 100% on the actual value.

      If they are treating it as an asset then you would be a manufacturer and presumably would benefit from all the usual tax breaks. Whether this would include making your electric costs tax deductible in Norway I don't know, but it should be the same as if you were manufacturing shoes, ships, or anything else.

    • That is actually the problem with counting them as assets.
      This means that you can't count expenses, notably the power and the card against the profit.

      Basically this means that gross instead of net will be taxed for BC-miners.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        A stock certificate is an asset.

        How much capital gains tax did Facebook pay to the IRS when they created $90B in stock certificates that didn't exist the instant before the IPO? I doubt they had to pay capital gains on issuing stock. Those who bought and sold it, of course, had to do so.

        Why wouldn't bitcoin be any different? The person creating the bitcoin is creating an asset, not buying/selling one.

    • by afxgrin (208686)

      I'd try filing it as a capital expense and see what happens. Just prepare for them to laugh at you.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      If you run a business mining bitcoins, then the sale of bitcoins is your revenue, and electricity is one of your expenses. So yes, you would be able to write off your electric bill. Depending on which tax juristiction you live in, you may be able to claim depreciation, capital allowances, investment allowance or similar on the cost of the computer.

  • taxed as asset? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:34AM (#45702079) Journal
    It's a common error in European fiscal policy that assets can be taxed. In reality only financial savings and income are taxed, and the final percentage applied is variously disguised as "capital gains tax", or other quibbles.
    to clarify further: for an asset to be taxed, in my small world of financial analyst, it must either produce a taxable financial income, which is then taxed, or it must be an acceptable mean of exchange with no or negligible frictional costs. Houses are only an indexation parameter in taxes, since no tax authority whatsoever accepts a lien on 10 square feet as payment: they want hard cash. If the owner-occupier of a house had the opportunity or willingness to put the house in a separate company, it would be clearer still: the company would never make one cent, and it would be taxed on a fictional rent, which by itself is part of the owner's income. Therefore, the owner's income is taxed twice.
    So, on bitcoins, the problem is magnified: if it is a mean of exchange, like banknotes, by itself it should not be taxed. the relevant transactions could be taxable, but not the means of exchange: after all, if I buy a car by bank draft or money transfer I do not pay either X or Y depending on how I paid. the effort of the authorities is to preserve the monopoly on fiat currency, that's it.
    • In reality only financial savings and income are taxed, and the final percentage applied is variously disguised as "capital gains tax", or other quibbles.

      Real-estate is already taxed in most places in America. Most European countries also tax cars based on their engine's size.

      • Real-estate is already taxed in most places in America. Most European countries also tax cars based on their engine's size.

        Same as before:tax authorities do NOT tax the car. they tax the buyer on the transaction, and there's some form of "possession tax". that's not a tax on assets. If it were a tax on the car, a car owned for example by a deceased penniless owner would still pay tax, and above all, it would be economically capable of paying such tax. but it does not: even taxes related on car possession tax the owner, not a car.

        Bear in mind that these kind of stamp duties bear no relation of the use of public resources that

  • by TyFoN (12980) on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:56AM (#45702175)
    What really happened was that the norwegian IRS said that the bitcoin does currently not have any status as a currency in Norway and will be taxed as an asset.

    They very clearly state that bitcoins have not been banned as a currency, only that it's status still has to be decided by Finanstilsynet (almost like SEC, but with a broader mandate).

    The Norwegian IRS does not have the authority to claim it is a currency or not, only Finanstilsynet. All they do is tax what they see as an asset until Finanstilsynet gives other directions.

    Nettvalutaen Bitcoins beskattes [dagensit.no]
    Translated [google.com]
    Quite different heading than the /. heading.
    Translated it just means "Bitcoins are to be taxed".

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      What really happened was that the norwegian IRS said that the bitcoin does currently not have any status as a currency in Norway and will be taxed as an asset.

      They very clearly state that bitcoins have not been banned as a currency, only that it's status still has to be decided by Finanstilsynet (almost like SEC, but with a broader mandate).

      The Norwegian IRS does not have the authority to claim it is a currency or not, only Finanstilsynet. All they do is tax what they see as an asset until Finanstilsynet gives other directions.

      Nettvalutaen Bitcoins beskattes [dagensit.no]

      Translated [google.com]

      Quite different heading than the /. heading.
      Translated it just means "Bitcoins are to be taxed".

      Yup, this is basically good news for Bitcoin since it means it won't be regulated as a currency. And Norway is a tiny, tiny market so it's fairly inconsequential.

      And yet the price of Bitcoin is falling on this news. Talk about a nervous market!

    • It's the rejection by other means; "We are not outlawing it, but it will cost you to have it."

      However I don't know if the tax on savings is less than or more than inventory.

  • If it is not an asset and I were to sell some bitcoin, would I need to charge VAT (I am VAT registered as I am self employed) ? VAT is 20% in the UK at the moment, so it is a large cut. The person buying the bitcoin could reclaim VAT but only if they are VAT registered ... it is getting complicated.

    • by lxs (131946)

      I suppose so. Here in the Netherlands you pay VAT on silver bullion but not on gold bullion. (Silver is treated as a commodity, gold is treated as money.)
      I'm not 100% sure what our tax authorities think about cryptocurrencies, but if there is another price spike like the ones in April and November, I suppose I need to find out soon. And hire an accountant.
      This Monopoly money is quickly turning into serious business.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Unless you can find Bitcoin on one of the lists of things that are exempt from VAT, outside the scope of VAT, or chargeable to VAT at 0% or 5%, then yes, you have to charge 20% VAT on Bitcoin, just like you have to charge VAT on the sale of silver coins.

      However, if you bought the Bitcoins from someone who is not VAT registered, you can use the second hand margin scheme so that you only pay VAT on 20% of the profit. If you do that, then the person buying them can't claim the VAT back even if they are VAT re

  • it will be interesting to see how much pressure inevitabley gets placed on them by citizens using bitcoin to purchase.

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