VAT treatment of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies

HMRC have issued a Brief to confirm the provisional VAT treatment of bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, which is as follows:

 

1.Income received from Bitcoin mining activities will generally be outside the scope of VAT on the basis that the activity does not constitute an economic activity for VAT purposes because there is an insufficient link between any services provided and any consideration received.

 

2.Income received by miners for other activities, such as for the provision of services in connection with the verification of specific transactions for which specific charges are made, will be exempt from VAT under Article 135(1)(d) of the EU VAT Directive as falling within the definition of 'transactions, including negotiation, concerning deposit and current accounts, payments, transfers, debts, cheques and other negotiable instruments’.

 

3. When Bitcoin is exchanged for Sterling or for foreign currencies, such as Euros or Dollars, no VAT will be due on the value of the Bitcoins themselves.

 

4. Charges (in whatever form) made over and above the value of the Bitcoin for arranging or carrying out any transactions in Bitcoin will be exempt from VAT under Article 135(1)(d) as outlined at 2 above.

 

However, in all instances, VAT will be due in the normal way from suppliers of any goods or services sold in exchange for Bitcoin or other similar cryptocurrency.

It is possible for taxpayers to rely on the VAT treatment outlined below unless and until HMRC announce any change of policy in the future.

 

Therefore, if any of your clients deal in or exchange Bitcoins, they should treat the supplies as outlined above. However, please call our free helpline if you wish to discuss the VAT treatment in further detail.

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