Austrian finance minister calls for crypto regulations and tax changes

  • Austrian finance minister Gernot Blumel wants stricter regulation on cryptocurrencies in the country. 
  • The EU is reportedly discussing amendment to the Money Laundering Directive.

Austria’s finance minister Gernot Blumel has called for stricter regulation on crypto assets in the country. Also, the minister expressed his desire to make tax crypto similar to stocks. Blumel talked explicitly about stronger crypto regulation and taxation while speaking at a German-speaking ministers meeting in Liechtenstein. 

Cryptocurrencies have already become a part of the global economy. Even though crypto assets have been in existence for years, the use of Bitcoin and altcoins surged during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, crypto regulation has been a greater concern for governments. 

Blumel wants proper regulation on crypto 

The finance minister noted that he does not wish for a crypto ban in Austria. However, he wants to establish proper regulations to guide the use of digital assets in the country. 

We need measures here that include greater diligence. We do not want a total ban, but cryptocurrencies must not be regulated significantly less than other payment options.

Before now, the Austrian finance minister had talked about the Money Laundering Directive in Austria. Last month, the finance minister opposed the EU’s plan to include a cash limit of 10,000 euros. At the time, Blumel noted that crypto regulation is more important than setting cash limits.

Austria gave no clear yes to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and an equally clear no to attacks on cash. Cash gives people a feeling of security, independence and freedom. We want to preserve this freedom for people.

The spokesperson for the minister also stated that “issues in the area of money laundering and terrorist financing are fundamentally best to be resolved on a pan-European basis.” On the other hand, the spokesperson continues that the respective member state is rather responsible for tax issues. 

Crypto exchanges to corporate with tax offices

Currently, the European Union is discussing an amendment to the Money Laundering Directive. The commission introduced the proposal to tackle anonymous crypto wallets. The EU suggested a ban on such crypto wallets. Also, there are ongoing processes to make crypto exchanges in the EU work together with tax offices. The joint venture will see whether crypto investors have been correctly taxing their assets.

Furthermore, there are rumours about whether the Ministry of Finance is about to change the taxation of price gains from crypto. Currently, crypto assets are not subject to capital gains tax, and they are not taxed if held for more than a year. However, 27.5 percent gains tax is required on price gains of shares, regardless of how long investors hold them. 

This is currently being negotiated within the coalition; ideally, this regulation also applies to cryptocurrencies. At the moment, there are no explicit legal regulations for the taxation of cryptos in Austria, so tax harmonization is needed here in any case.

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Bio: Ibukun Ogundare is a crypto writer and researcher who uses non-complex words to educate her audience. Ibukun is excited about writing and always looks forward to bringing more information to the world.

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