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BFH: The trade or sale of cryptocurrencies is taxable

As I recently reported, the German Federal Fiscal Court had to rule on a very relevant circumstance for the crypto industry, namely whether the sale of cryptocurrencies (at a profit) triggers a tax liability.

The BFH has now affirmed this and thus rejected the plaintiff’s argument that cryptocurrencies are not an economic good because they only exist virtually. The IX Senate of the BFH considers virtual currencies to be a “different asset” under the Income Tax Act and, from an economic point of view, a means of payment. The term is to be understood in a broad sense, because it does not only refer to objects and rights, but also to actual conditions as well as concrete possibilities and advantages, the attainment of which costs the taxpayer something. Cryptocurrencies would be traded on trading platforms and exchanges, they would have a market value and would be used for payment transactions. Technical details, on the other hand, are not decisive for the property as an economic good.

The highest tax court also did not want to accept a structural enforcement deficit at the tax administration, that there would be no evidence that tax offices would not record or determine gains and losses from cryptocurrencies.

Anyone who invests in virtual currencies and sells them within the speculation period of one year is therefore liable to tax insofar as the exemption limit of 600 euros is exceeded. Incidentally, this also applies if the exemption limit for other assets has already been exhausted. However, losses may of course also be incurred and would have to be taken into account in the same way as losses in other areas.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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