Trading cryptocurrencies - how to settle them?

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Investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, litecoin or ethereum arouses strong emotions among entrepreneurs and carries certain risks. The market is growing day by day, and entrepreneurs are increasingly choosing to trade cryptocurrencies. However, there are doubts as to how to account for transactions involving it. In the article below, we explain!

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies do not have a statutory definition. Generally speaking, a cryptocurrency is a distributed accounting system that is based on cryptography and stores information about the state of ownership in contractual units. The ownership status depends on the individual nodes ("wallets") of the system and operates in such a way that only the holder of the corresponding private key has control over a given "wallet" and cannot spend the same unit twice.

How to tax cryptocurrency trading?

Cryptocurrency trading as part of a business activity may be taxed according to the tax scale or with a flat rate tax. The entrepreneur cannot choose a lump sum tax on recorded revenues as a form of taxation. This is due to the fact that the financial and insurance services listed in section K PKWiU are excluded from lump sum taxation, and in accordance with the interpretation provided by the Central Statistical Office, cryptocurrency trading qualifies for PKWiU 64.19.30.0 (section K) "Other financial intermediation, elsewhere not classified ”, and the relevant one in this case is PKD 64.19.Z“ Other financial intermediation ”.

Attention!

A flat-rate fee that will expand its business with cryptocurrency trading will be required to change the form of taxation to general rules or a flat tax.

Cryptocurrency trading and VAT

Until recently, the position of tax authorities (e.g. an individual ruling issued by the Director of the Tax Chamber in Łódź of April 7, 2014, reference number IPTPP2 / 443-52 / 14-6 / IR) on virtual currency trading indicated that the sale of virtual currency should be subject to VAT. However, on October 22, 2015, the CJEU judgment was issued in case C-264/14, stating that the supply of services (...) which involve the conversion of traditional currencies into units of the virtual currency 'bitcoin' and vice versa (...), constitute transactions which are exempt from value added tax within the meaning of that provision.

The passing of the judgment changed the position of the tax authorities on trading in virtual currency. Therefore, ó was exempted from VAT under Art. 43 sec. 1 point 7 of the VAT Act.

The above position is confirmed by the individual interpretation of 17 January 2018, ref. No. 0113-KDIPT1-2.4012.876.2017.1.KT issued by the Director of the National Tax Information, in which we read that: Virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, by accepting the parties to the transaction as alternative means of payment, will in these situations serve as a carrier of money and means of payment, similarly to currencies used as legal tender. Therefore, the sale of virtual currency units (Bitcoin) for remuneration will constitute the provision of services and may be considered a service exempt from VAT pursuant to Art. 43 sec. 1 point 7 of the Act.

Natural inventory and cryptocurrencies

Each physical inventory should include:

  • commercial goods,

  • basic and auxiliary materials (raw materials),

  • semi-finished products,

  • work in progress,

  • finished products,

  • shortages and waste.

As cryptocurrencies do not qualify for any of the above components - they are property rights - they do not need to be included in the inventory.

The confirmation of the above procedure may be the individual ruling issued by the Director of the National Tax Information on January 5, 2018, ref. No. 0113-KDIPT2-3.4011.451.2017.1.AC, where we read that: The cryptocurrency is not a commodity, so it is not included in the physical inventory as of the date of business expansion. In the light of the above regulations, the virtual currency held, which is to be contributed to the activities conducted by the Applicant, is not a commodity, it is not a fixed asset, nor is it an equipment. Virtual currency is a property right, which means that the Applicant is not obliged to include their values ​​in the physical inventory.

Purchase of cryptocurrencies and tax deductible costs

Pursuant to Art. 22 sec. 1 of the Personal Income Tax Act tax deductible costs are costs incurred in order to achieve income or to maintain or secure the source of income, with the exception of the costs referred to in article 1. 23. The expenditure on the purchase of cryptocurrencies may be considered a tax deductible cost provided that it is related to the business, e.g. the purchased cryptocurrencies are intended for further resale. It is also important to properly document the expenditure incurred. information that allows you to clearly verify the purchase made) from your bank account to the "wallet" account of the cryptocurrency exchange.

The confirmation of the above position was the individual interpretation issued by the Director of the National Tax Information on December 21, 2017, ref. No. 0111-KDIB1-1.4011.167.2017.2.BK, pursuant to which:

(...) due to the fact that the specificity of transactions made via Cryptocurrency Exchanges will make it impossible to obtain documents specifying the data of the parties (transactions will be anonymous), and the documents held by the Applicant will clearly confirm the purchase of cryptocurrency (their quantity, purchase price, etc.), these documents will be the basis for including the expenses for the acquisition of cryptocurrency as tax deductible costs, in accordance with art. 22 of the PIT Act. The above documents will also be sufficient to document and record cryptocurrency sale transactions.

The same position was taken by the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw in the judgment with reference number III SA / Wa 3374/14 of September 11, 2015.

However, in the individual ruling issued by the Director of the National Tax Information of 23 January 2018, ref. No. 0113-KDIPT2-1.4011.518.2017.1.AP, we can read that the purchase of cryptocurrencies may be recognized as tax deductible costs based on the accounting evidence listed in the Ordinance of the Minister of Finance of August 26, 2003 on keeping the tax book of revenues and expenses.

Attention!

The purchase of cryptocurrencies cannot be included in tax deductible costs based on confirmation of a bank transfer or a statement of transactions carried out, because these documents do not constitute accounting vouchers.

Trading cryptocurrencies - the presentation of sales

In the case of trading in cryptocurrencies as part of business activity, the date when the income arises is the date of issue of the item, sale of the property right or performance of a service or partial performance of the service, no later than the day:

  • issuing an invoice or

  • payment of receivables.

The confirmation of this procedure is the individual interpretation issued by the Director of the National Tax Information of December 20, 2017, ref. No. 0113-KDIPT2-1.4011.432.2017.1.AP, in which we can read that when cryptocurrency is sold, income is generated (...) not only when there is a sale or conversion of a cryptocurrency into a traditional currency, but also when one cryptocurrency is exchanged for another cryptocurrency. The applicant should recognize the tax income from trading in cryptocurrencies, in accordance with the principles set out in art. 14 sec. 1c of the Personal Income Tax Act, i.e. in the case of the sale of cryptocurrency - at the time of sale of the cryptocurrency, and in the case of the exchange of one cryptocurrency for another - at the time of the exchange of these cryptocurrencies, in the amount of the received monetary values. However, in the case of purchasing goods or services for cryptocurrency units - at the time of purchasing goods or services for cryptocurrency units, in the amount of the price of the purchased goods or services.

Important!

Revenue in foreign currencies (including cryptocurrencies) is converted into Polish zlotys at the average exchange rate of foreign currencies announced by the National Bank of Poland on the last business day preceding the day of obtaining the income (in Article 11a (1) of the PIT Act).

Dangers related to cryptocurrency trading

Cryptocurrencies are not currently recognized as legal tender in Poland. Moreover, they are not guaranteed by the BFG or issued by the NBP. Therefore, cryptocurrency trading can turn out to be an extremely risky investment.

The most common threats include:

  • the possibility of losing all invested money, e.g. as a result of a cyberattack;

  • unconscious participation in the so-called financial pyramid,

  • frequent changes in the price of cryptocurrencies, which may result in a quick loss of money in the "wallet",

  • unknowingly participating in money laundering or terrorist financing (through the anonymity of the issue of a given cryptocurrency).

To sum up, trading in cryptocurrencies can contribute to many financial problems (including the described threats) and tax problems (lack of precise legal regulations). However, although it would seem that the rules for the settlement of cryptocurrency trading are quite clearly presented, there are still many issues that raise doubts among taxpayers, and therefore many of them decide to submit an application for issuing individual interpretations.