Crypto Tax Guide: DeFi and NFTs Tax in Australia

Crypto Tax Guide: DeFi and NFTs Tax in Australia

The Australian tax season is upon us and if you are a crypto investor, it’s time to get your affairs in order. If you’ve bought cryptocurrency as an Australian resident, it is important that you consider the tax implications of your transactions.

The ATO has estimated that around 800,000 Australians entered the crypto market in 2021 and it’s likely that almost all will have to report their activities to the ATO to remain compliant. This figure doesn’t even include the number of Australians investing in the space prior to 2021 or in 2022, so the number of crypto investors who need to report activities to the ATO is likely much higher.

Cryptocurrencies and existing tax laws are not the most elegant pair. The ATO has released non-binding guidelines to assist investors in reporting their investment activities correctly, however, it is extremely important that you get in contact with a tax professional if you are unsure about your obligations around reporting crypto-related transactions.

This guide aims to outline crypto taxes in Australia and some considerations around more complex crypto transactions, specifically around Decentralised Finance (DeFi) and NFTs. It is important to note that nothing in the guide is specific tax advice but rather general information that crypto investors should take into account in Australia when assessing their tax responsibilities.

A trap that many crypto investors fall into is that ‘crypto is anonymous’ and that taxes are not something that need to be considered. The fact is, this is completely incorrect . Crypto exchanges require users to complete Know-Your-Customer (KYC) documentation at the time of signing up and purchasing crypto. After investors provide this information to an exchange, buy their crypto and then send it to an ‘anonymous’ wallet, it is extremely simple to link their personal information to the (so-called) ‘anonymous’ wallet.

As the vast majority of blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc) are all open source, all of the data is publicly available and linking investors to their wallets is extremely simple. Tax authorities are using this information to crack down on illicit activities and tax evasion as we speak. Even if you haven’t completed KYC with any exchanges, it is still remarkably easy for authorities to track down the location and time at which wallets were accessed. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies, in their very nature, make tracing transactions incredibly easy. This is something to keep in mind if you have not been reporting your crypto activities to the ATO.

As cryptocurrencies are currently treated as a capital asset in Australia, the disposal or sale of cryptocurrencies can create capital gains/losses that need to be reported. The capital gain/loss is calculated by taking the difference between the price the asset was acquired and the price the asset was disposed for. For example, if I bought one Bitcoin for $10,000 and sold it later for $11,000, I would have a capital gain of $1000.

It is important to note that crypto-to-crypto trades involving one crypto being sold for another are considered a disposal event by the ATO, with the capital proceeds of the disposal being used to acquire the new asset. Take this scenario:

An investor buys one ETH at $1000 and later the price has gone up to $1200. The investor trades it for 12 of token X. This results in a capital gain of $200 as the ETH has been sold at a value of $1200 when it was purchased for $1000. The cost basis for each token X is $100, as 12 were purchased for $1200.

It is important to note that, as cryptocurrencies can be used in a variety of different ways, there are potentially many transaction types that could be considered a disposal beyond just a typical ‘sell’. This is especially important for investors who have been involved in any transactions through decentralised protocols such as decentralised swaps, loans, liquidity pools, fees etc.

The good news for crypto investors currently is that just as capital gains events can be triggered through the disposal of crypto, so can capital losses. As all global markets have seen a slump over the last few months, some crypto investors may be able to offset gains with capital losses if their losses were triggered within the tax year. It is important to note that capital losses are only able to offset gains in the current or future tax years, and cannot be used to offset any gains from previous tax years.

There are some transaction types that the ATO has indicated could be taxed as ordinary income. It is especially important to […]

source Crypto Tax Guide: DeFi and NFTs Tax in Australia

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