New Zealand Rules Receiving Income in Bitcoin Is Legal, Taxable

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world news   12 Aug, 2019   coindesk.com   Views: 118

New Zealand's tax authorities have ruled that income in cryptocurrencies is legal and provided guidance on how exactly it should be taxed.

In a tax information bulletin published on July 4, the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department summarized the provisions of the public ruling, made under s 91D of the country's Tax Administration Act 1994.

Crypto used must be “money-like” to be taxed

Specifically, the guidance on the income tax treatment of crypto assets applies to payments in crypto that form part of the employees’ regular salary and are fixed at a predetermined amount or rate — rather than, for example, payments that form part of an employee share scheme.

Moreover, it applies only to salary and wage earners — not to self-employed taxpayers — covering both remuneration for services and bonuses, commissions and gratuities.

For a crypto asset-denominated salary to be taxable, the ruling determines that the crypto asset paid to employees must not be subject to a lock-up period and must be directly convertible into fiat currency, clarifying that:

“In the current environment where crypto-assets are not readily accepted as payment for goods and services, the Commissioner’s view is that crypto-assets that cannot be converted directly into fiat currency on an exchange [...] are not sufficiently “money-like” to be considered salary or wages.”

“Money-like” crypto assets are further defined as those that provide a general peer-to-peer payment system, rather than assets that function in a similar way to vouchers, shares, or debt securities.

Thus for the wage to be taxable, the agency deems that a significant purpose of the crypto asset in question must be that it functions as a currency, or is otherwise to be pegged to one (or more) fiat currencies.

Tightening the noose

As reported, tax authorities and lawmakers globally are increasingly turning their attention to cryptocurrencies — both clarifying which provisions they fall under and attempting to tighten their grip on evasion.



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