Sladen Snippet: ATO to begin data matching program on cryptocurrency holdings

The Federal Commissioner of Taxation (Commissioner) has given notice that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will commence a data matching program on cryptocurrency.

Under the program the ATO will collect data from cryptocurrency designated service providers in relation to an estimated 500,000 to 1 million individuals. The program is intended to identify individuals or businesses who have or may be engaged in buying, selling, or transferring cryptocurrency and failed to meet tax compliance obligations in respect of those transactions.

The Commissioner’s notice follows earlier statements made in relation to increasing the transparency of cryptocurrency through new anti-money laundering rules which came into effect in 2018 and international data sharing agreements.

The announcement is an important reminder to taxpayers that the anonymity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions should not, and does not, affect their taxation consequences.

With the program set to start it is critical that taxpayers take this opportunity review their cryptocurrency holdings and consider whether they have met, and continue to meet, their tax obligations.

We have previously provided guidance on the taxation of cryptocurrency here. Taxpayers uncertain as to their position can contact our tax team who have specialist knowledge in this area. We can provide you with help in relation to areas such as:

  • understanding the taxation of cryptocurrency and the application to you;

  • assessing whether you have met your compliance and reporting obligations in relation to cryptocurrency purchases, sales, or transfers;

  • help with voluntary disclosures and applications for the reduction in penalties where you have not been compliant; and

  • preparation of ruling applications where the tax consequences of your situation are uncertain.   

For more information contact:

Laura Spencer
Senior Associate
T +61 3 9611 0110

Neil Brydges
Principal Lawyer | Accredited Specialist in Tax Law
M +61 407 821 157 | T +61 3 9611 0176

Daniel Smedley
Principal | Accredited Specialist in Tax Law
M +61 411 319 327|  T +61 3 9611 0105