Australian Parliament

adccaAn inquiry by the Australian Senate into an appropriate framework for digital currencies in Australia is ongoing, ZDNET reports. The inquiry was successfully moved in Parliament on Thursday by the Economics References Committee’s chair, NSW Labor Senator Sam Dastyari.

The inquiry is expected to deliver its final report on March 15 next year.

Also read: US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing on Virtual Currencies Highlights (video)

Ronald Tucker, Chairman of the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA), said:

“I applaud the committee’s foresight in setting up this inquiry, particularly the Chair, Senator Dastyari, who has recognised the need for Australia to get on the front foot in this important area.”

“ADCCA recognises the need to bring digital currencies under the auspices of appropriate regulatory bodies such as the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), to ensure the highest standards of consumer protection and safeguard national security.”

The Taxation Treatment of Bitcoin

Tucker hopes that the inquiry will result in a correction of the current taxation treatment of the cryptocurrency.

“I am pleased the inquiry announced today will look at tax treatment issues, which I hope will lead to a correction of the current interpretation of Bitcoin as taxable supply.”

In August, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recommended that personal Bitcoin transactions should be treated like barter transactions for taxation purposes, with no income tax or Goods and Services Tax (GST) implications for individuals who pay for goods and services in Bitcoin. Tucker replied:

“The ATO’s paper has unfortunately taken the position to treat the supply of bitcoins the same way as an exchange of a commodity; something that would involve the costly and impractical imposition of GST on the supply of Bitcoins. Bitcoin by its very nature is used as a currency and a store of value, and we believe it should be treated by the ATO in the same way as other financial inputs such as foreign exchange.”

Tucker also suggests that Australia is well-positioned to take advantage of the emerging digital economy.

Two weeks ago, Australian company CoinJar unveiled the country’s first Bitcoin debit card, fully integrated with Australia’s leading electronic payment network. Last week, Bitcoin’s first cashless ATM, developed by Diamond Circle, went live in Queensland.

Images from ADCCA and Shutterstock.