No VAT on Bitcoin Transfer

Kerstin Beck-Ulmer

 

Responding to the formal request of some Swiss bitcoin organizations, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) has confirmed to treat Bitcoins the same way as the Swiss Franc or other FIAT, i.e. trading in Bitcoins is neither a delivery nor a service for the purpose of Swiss VAT but rather a mode of payment and as a result VAT-free (cp. art. 21 para. 2 of the Swiss VAT Act).

In case transactions subject to Swiss VAT are paid in Bitcoins (e.g. supply of goods or services), the usage of Bitcoins is considered as a mode of payment. Consequently, the seller must not charge any additional VAT on a per se taxable transaction due to the use of Bitcoins as means of payment.

With this decision the SFTA has ensured the necessary legal certainty for the Bitcoin-business in Switzerland. Within the European Union there is a great deal of uncertainty in this regard. In the UK Bitcoin transactions are VAT-exempt, whereas in Germany the ministry of finance holds the view that the sale of Bitcoins shall be subject to VAT. Clarity will only be provided by the pending preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice on this matter (Case C-264/14).

 

 

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