We are CA for Cryptocurrency Taxation located in the heart of Mumbai. We have handled dozen's of client with myriad complexities on Cryptocurrency Taxation. No matter what crypto coin you are trading in - Be it Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash, Ripple etc, we can help you navigate the regulatory path with it.
Crypto investors and traders have been plagued by regulatory uncertainty in India. As the Indian Government authorities continue to struggle in fundamentally differentiating. Bitcoin from Blockchain, the subcontinent's economy is positioned to lose out on, what is possibly, the century's biggest revolution.
Having added to the fear, uncertainty and doubt, is the ring-fencing notification issued by the RBI, restricting banking access to Indian crypto exchanges. Despite the speed-bump, believers of the Blockchain technology remain undeterred, thanks to which trading volumes have picked up on the Indian exchanges.
Although there isn’t any clarity in tax legislation, the Indian Revenue Authorities are breathing down the necks of crypto traders. It is, therefore, imperative to accurately compute and report any income from cryptocurrencies.
Lets understand some basic fundamentals in this area
1. What is bitcoin?Bitcoin is one of the earliest forms of cryptocurrency, forming part of the worldwide peer-to-peer payment system. Cryptocurrency is digital money. It is considered to be more secure that the real money. Cryptocurrency uses something called cryptography to secure its transactions. Cryptography, to put it in simple words is a method of converting comprehensible data into complicated codes which are tough to crack. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies, alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Bitcoin was the first ever cryptocurrency created in the year 2009. Subsequently, there has been a rapid increase in the number of cryptocurrencies that have been created some of which are Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Dash, Ripple etc. Bitcoins, in India, have slowly started gaining popularity, given the efforts of the government to move towards a cashless economy. However, one should know that bitcoins, as of today, are not centrally administered or regulated by any specific body like the RBI which administers physical currency in India. In fact, peer-to-peer transactions with bitcoins are managed using something known as the blockchain technology which serves as a public ledger for all transactions.
2. Where does bitcoin come from or how is it generated?One can obtain bitcoins either by :
Purchasing them from a bitcoin exchange against real currency
Receiving bitcoins in consideration of selling goods and services
3. Is bitcoin legal in India?As earlier discussed, bitcoin, as a medium of payment, has neither been authorized nor been regulated by any central authority in India. Further, no set rules, regulations or guidelines have been laid down for resolving disputes that could arise while dealing with bitcoins. Hence, bitcoin transactions come with their own set of risks. However, given this background, one cannot conclude that bitcoins are illegal as, so far, there has been no ban on bitcoins in India. The Supreme Court of India has in its ruling pronounced on 25 February 2019 required the Government to come up with Cryptocurrency regulation policies. The matter had been adjourned in the hearing on 29 March 2019 and has been rescheduled for hearing in the second week of July 2019.
4. How are bitcoins taxed in India?The concept of bitcoins being quite new to the Indian market, apparently the government has not yet brought taxability of bitcoins into the statute books. At the same time, the levy of tax on bitcoins cannot be ruled out because the Indian income tax laws have always sought to tax income received irrespective of the form in which it is received. Therefore, the possibility of tax on bitcoins can be looked at under the following circumstances:
Scenario A : Bitcoin MiningBitcoins created by mining are self-generated capital assets. Subsequent sale of such bitcoins would, in the ordinary course, give rise to capital gains. However, one may note that the cost of acquisition of a bitcoin cannot be determined as it is a self-generated asset. Furthermore, it does not fall under the provisions of Section 55 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 which specifically defines the cost of acquisition of certain self-generated assets. Therefore, the capital gains computation mechanism fails following the Supreme Court decision in the case of B.C.Srinivasa Shetty. Hence, no capital gains tax would arise on the mining of bitcoins. This position would hold till such time the government thinks of coming up with an amendment to Section 55 of the Act. At this juncture, given that the Indian tax laws are silent on the taxability of bitcoins completely, we thought it right to comment on a probable contrary view by the income tax authorities. There is a possibility that the department may not consider bitcoins as capital assets at all. Hence, the provisions of capital gains would not apply at all. Accordingly, the income tax authorities may choose to tax the value of bitcoins received from mining under the head “Income from other sources”
Scenario B: Bitcoins held as an investment being transferred in exchange for real currencyIf bitcoins, which are capital assets, have been held as an investment and are transferred in exchange for real currency, the appreciation in value would give rise to a long term capital gain or a short term capital gain depending on the period of holding of the bitcoin. Further, long term gains would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% while short term gains would be taxed at the individual slab rate. The cost of acquisition for arriving at long term capital gains will be determined after giving the benefit of indexation. A simple example is given below to understand this :
|Particulars||Value in INR (Only hypothetical)|
|No. of bitcoins purchased||10|
|INR equivalent of 1 bitcoin at the time of purchase||2.72|
|Value of bitcoins (A)||27.2|
|INR equivalent of 1 bitcoin on the date of transfer||8.72|
|Value of bitcoins (B)||87.2|
|Capital gains (B - A)||60.00|