ATO Cracks Down on Crypto: 1.2 Million Accounts Under Scrutiny

In a bold move to tackle tax evasion in the booming crypto space, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has set its sights on approximately 1.2 million crypto accounts. As interest in cryptocurrencies skyrockets, so does the ATO’s determination to ensure transparency and compliance within the sector.

The ATO’s latest initiative targets unreported exchanges of crypto assets for currency or goods and services. With the complexity of the crypto landscape often leading to a lack of awareness about tax obligations, the ATO aims not only to regulate but also to educate traders on their fiscal duties.

“Also, the ability to purchase crypto assets using false information may make them attractive to those seeking to avoid their tax obligations,” the ATO stated.

Australia classifies crypto as assets, not foreign currency, necessitating capital gains tax on profits from selling and trading digital assets. By reinforcing its efforts, the ATO underscores its commitment to ensuring all taxable activities are transparent and properly reported.

The popularity of crypto assets in Australia is evident, with over 800,000 taxpayers engaging in digital asset transactions over the past three years, marking a staggering 63% increase in 2021 alone. Statista forecasts a compounded annual growth rate of 10.15% for crypto revenue in Australia, reaching a projected total of $1.6 billion by 2028.

Meanwhile, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Ltd.) is gearing up to broaden its offerings with Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), potentially introducing the first spot Bitcoin ETFs in Australia by the end of 2024. Companies like BetaShares and DigitalX Ltd. are poised to launch their ETF products pending regulatory approval.

VanEck, a seasoned player in the ETF market, has reentered the Australian scene with a fresh application for Bitcoin ETFs, signaling growing institutional interest in crypto investments.

With Australia’s robust $2.3 trillion pension sector in the mix, these new financial instruments could see significant support. Particularly, self-managed superannuation funds present an enticing opportunity for diversification into cryptocurrencies, potentially reshaping the landscape of crypto investments in Australia.