On 15 May 2018, the Revenue Commissioners of Ireland issued an eBrief containing clarification as to how the normal tax rules apply to transactions involving cryptocurrencies.
As with any other activity, the treatment of income received from or charges made in connection with activities involving cryptocurrencies will depend on the activities and the parties involved. Each case must be considered on the basis of its own individual facts and circumstances. For businesses which accept payment for goods or services in cryptocurrencies there is no change to when revenue is recognised or how taxable profits are calculated.
Valuation of cryptocurrencies
There is not always a single “exchange rate” for cryptocurrencies, therefore a reasonable effort should be made to use an appropriate valuation for the transaction in question.
A high-level comment on the tax treatment of cyptocurrencies as per the eBrief is set out below.
The profits and losses of a company entering into transactions involving cryptocurrency would be reflected in accounts and taxable under normal corporation tax rules.
The profits and losses of a person that is not a company undertaking cryptocurrency transactions in the course of carrying on as a business must be reflected in their accounts and will be taxable under normal income tax rules.
Capital gains tax
Gains and losses incurred on disposals of cryptocurrencies are chargeable or allowable for capital gains tax purposes if they accrue to an individual or, for corporation tax on chargeable gains if they accrue to a company.
It is Revenue’s view that Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are ‘negotiable instruments’ for VAT purposes and therefore exchanges for other currencies are regarded as VAT exempt.
To the extent that you are impacted by the content of this eBrief, please feel free to contact Eleanor MacDonagh, Alan Heuston, Michael Ryan or another member of our Tax Department.
You may access the eBrief here.