Revenue dept to finalise crypto tax details this month

Revenue dept to finalise crypto tax details this month

Government says it's being cautious over crypto investment

A technician on a cherry picker inspects racks of illuminated mining rigs at the Minto cryptocurrency mining centre in Nadvoitsy, Russia. (Bloomberg file photo)
A technician on a cherry picker inspects racks of illuminated mining rigs at the Minto cryptocurrency mining centre in Nadvoitsy, Russia. (Bloomberg file photo)

Clear criteria for calculating withholding tax on profits from cryptocurrency and digital asset trading are expected be finalised this month, the Revenue Department director-general said on Monday.

Ekniti Nitithanprapas said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed the department to brainstorm with all parties in clarifying the issue for investors and the public in general.

Profits earned from cryptocurrency trading, Bitcoin mining and the dividends or interest gained from investment in cryptocurrencies were all subject to a 15% withholding tax, he said.

Mr Ekniti said the department had discussed the matter with the Bank of Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Stock Exchange of Thailand. It would hold a public hearing with private sector representatives and establish guidelines on tax collection. 

He said investment in digital assets had boomed, and it was new to the taxpayer and the department. The department did not take this trend for granted and had kept a close watch on its growth.

The department would give everyone fair treatment, and wanted to promote economic growth based on innovation, he added.

A government spokeswoman said on Monday the government had no intention to hinder new development in any industry, including financial technology (fintech).

Traisuree Taisaranakul said the government must exercise caution when only a limited number of people have a good understanding of the technology that allows them to invest with their own money. 

She said Prime Minister Prayut acknowledged that people had concerns that cryptocurrency taxation could create obstacles to financial market development and may not be conducive to fintech startups.

He had instructed the Revenue Department to provide a clear explanation. 

"If we rush to support [cryptocurrrency trading] without a thorough understanding, there may be a crypto crisis, similar to a financial crisis," Ms Traisuree said.

According to the Finance Ministry's announcement, people who gain from cryptocurrency dealings, investors and crypto miners, are liable to a 15% withholding tax on the profits. 

The ministry recommends investors identify income from cryptocurrencies when filing their income tax return this year, to avoid legal penalties.

Akalarp Yimwilai, co-founder and chief executive of Zipmex Thailand, a digital assets broker,  said many questions remain about how to calculate profits, including whether a gain from a strenghtening of the US dollar is considered a profit.

"Tax methods and calculations should be more concise, clear and easy to understand. Many people I know want to pay their taxes, but don't know how to calculate them," Mr Akalarp said.

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