In November, 2013, the Canada Revenue Agency issued a statement clarifying the tax treatment of Bitcoin. The statement is a brief outline which states that tax rules apply when Bitcoin is used to pay for goods and services in the same way the rules apply for barter transactions.
On 5 December 2013, China Central Bank barred financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions, moving to regulate the virtual currency. The People’s Bank of China said financial institutions and payment companies can’t give pricing in Bitcoin, buy and sell the virtual currency or insure Bitcoin-linked products, according to a statement on the central bank’s website. On 16 December it was speculated that the People’s Bank of China had issued a new ban on third-party payment processors from doing business with Bitcoin exchanges, however a statement from BTC China suggests this isn’t accurate, and rather payment processors had voluntarily withdrawn their services.
In December 2013, Denmark’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has issued a statement that echoes EBA’s warning. In addition, FSA says that doing business with Bitcoin does not fall under its regulatory authority and therefore FSA does not currently prevent anyone from opening such businesses.FSA’s chief legal adviser says that Denmark might consider amending existing financial legislation to cover virtual currencies.
In December 2013, the European Banking Authority warned that bitcoin lacks consumer protections .
Finland issued a regulatory guide to Bitcoin in September 2013, which imposed capital gains tax on bitcoins, and taxes bitcoins produced by mining as earned income.
On 19 August 2013, the German Finance Ministry announced that Bitcoin is now essentially a “Unit of account” and can be used for the purpose of tax and trading in the country. It is not classified as a foreign currency or e–money but stands as “private money” which can be used in “multilateral clearing circles”, according to the ministry.
Due to the capital controls put in place in 2008 to stop money flight on the króna buying and selling Bitcoin in Iceland, which appears to consider Bitcoin as a foreign currency, is Illegal. The Icelandic Central Bank confirmed “It is prohibited to engage in foreign exchange trading with the electronic currency Bitcoin, according to the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act.”,however commentators suggest bit coins mined within Iceland could be freely traded.
In June 2013, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a notice acknowledging that virtual currencies posed legal, regulatory and operational challenges. In August 2013, a spokesperson wrote in an email that Bitcoin was under observation.
On 24 December 2013, the Reserve Bank of India issued an advisory to the Indian public not to indulge in buying or selling of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins. Following the announcement Bitcoin operators in the country began suspending operations.
The first raid in India was undertaken a couple of days later in Ahmedabad by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the office of the website, buysellbit.co.in, that provided a platform to trade in this virtual currency. The preliminary investigations found it to be in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
On 28 December 2013, the Deputy Governor of the RBI, K. C. Chakrabarty, made a statement that RBI had no plans to regulate Bitcoins.
The Israeli Tax Authority is said to be considering a tax on bitcoin, but no statements have been made until today. However, the Israel Bar Association considers the virtual currency an appropriate form of payment for attorneys.
The Norwegian Tax Administration stated in December 2013 that they don’t define Bitcoin as money but regard it as an asset. Profits are subjected to wealth tax. In business, use of Bitcoin falls under the sales tax regulation.
Poland made a first official announcement on the legality of Bitcoin on 18 December 2013 stating Bitcoin is “not illegal”. The announcement was made by Szymon Woźniak of the Ministry of Finance but further also clarified that while not Illegal, bitcoin cannot be considered legal as a form of tender, as yet.
On December 23rd 2013 the Slovenian Ministry of Finance made an announcement stating that Bitcoin is not a currency nor an Asset. There is no capital gains tax chargeable on Bitcoin however Bitcoin mining is taxed and business selling goods/services in Bitcoin are also taxed.
On September 22nd 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) warned users of the risks associated with using Bitcoin stating “If bitcoin ceases to operate, there may not be an identifiable party responsible for refunding their monies or for them to seek recourse” and in December 2013 made a followup statement regarding Bitcoin stating “Whether or not businesses accept Bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene”
On 5 December 2013 a proposal was put forth by 45 members of the Swiss Parliament for digital sustainability (Pardigli), that calls on the Swiss government to evaluate the opportunities for utilization of Bitcoin by the country’s financial sector. It also seeks clarification on the Bitcoin’s legal standing with respect to VAT, securities and anti-money laundering laws.
In July 2013, Bitcoin Company Limited said it had given a presentation to the Bank of Thailand about how the currency works in a bid to operate in the country. However, at the end of the meeting, “senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets… Bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand”. The ruling means it is illegal to buy and sell bitcoins, buy or sell any goods or services in exchange for bitcoins, send any bitcoins to anyone outside of Thailand, or receive bitcoins from anyone outside the country.
Meetings with policymakers in the UK in September suggested that bitcoin-based businesses would not have to register with regulators, at least for the time being, while they consider their regulatory position. The most recent message from the UK suggests that bit coins won’t be treated as money, but will instead be classified as single-purpose vouchers, which could carry a value-added tax (sales tax) liability on any bit coins that are sold.
On 18 November 2013, the United States Senate held a committee hearing titled Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats and Promises of Virtual Currencies to discuss virtual currencies. At this hearing, held by senator Tom Carper, Bitcoin and other currencies were received generally positively, with it being stated that Bitcoin was a “legal means of exchange” and that “online payment systems, both centralized and decentralized, offer legitimate financial services” by US officials such as Peter Kadzik and Mythili Raman. It was noted, however, that the Justice Department’s Criminal Division has seen an increased use of virtual currencies for illegal purposes such as drugs and child pornography.
The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Internal Revenue Service make its position clear on the Bitcoin, but as of November 2013 the IRS has not commented on the matter. Nevertheless, US regulatory authorities subject Bitcoin to money transmitter regulations, which imposes fairly high regulatory burden on any entity that would envisage, for instance, to operate an ATM for Bitcoin. In March 2013, FinCEN issued an advisory that their rules for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as the state-by-state licensing as money transmitters apply to virtual currency businesses, which must collect and report relevant data.
The FEC deadlocked on Nov 21, 2013 on whether to allow Bitcoin in political campaigns. Their decision was split across party lines (three members Democrat voting nay, three Republicans voting yay). While their decision covered group donations, political Bitcoin pioneers US House member Mark Warden and Southern California politician Michael B. Glenn continue to accept Bitcoin donations.