Bitcoin May be Exempted from VAT, says Dutch Minister

John Weru Maina @bitmaina
November 26, 2014

If you are making a purchase using bitcoin in the Netherlands, you may soon be exempt from VAT. Dutch Bitcoin news website reported that Jacob Kamminga, the Dutch Minister of Finance. Speaking at the Free University of Amsterdam, or Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam during a debate, he indicated that the government may exempt bitcoin from VAT.

While this is still not the official position of the Dutch government, Finance Minister Kamminga’s view should be seen to be a harbinger of good news for the Dutch Bitcoin community. Under current Dutch law if you pay by bitcoin, that sale would fall outside the purview of the law on sales tax. This means that the bitcoin purchase is not seen as an exchange. This exemption includes not only the purchased product, but also the bitcoins used in the purchase themselves. This decision, therefore, exempts every Dutch bitcoin user who would otherwise be liable to VAT.

Consensus in Europe

How Mr Kamminga proposes to tax technical and professionals who may prefer to receive payment in bitcoin is less than clear. It seems however that bitcoin exemptions will extend to professional and technical businesses as well. This means that bitcoin exchanges, marketplaces and other professionals based in the Netherlands and who may wish to receive payment in bitcoin will not have to pay VAT as well.

Mr Kamminga’s statements during the debate point to a growing consensus in Europe on the status of bitcoin and taxation. Other countries that have exempted bitcoin from VAT include the UK and Finland. Other governments in Europe such as Sweden and Norway have opted not to treat bitcoin as a currency, a move that has brought bitcoin in those Nordic countries under the ambit of the VAT laws. The EU is yet to pronounce itself on the issue of bitcoin, but it can only be hoped that when it does, it will do so in a manner that will spur growth in the digital currency arena.

What do you think of the possibility that the Dutch government may exempt bitcoin from VAT? Comment below!

Images from Uberprutser and Shutterstock.

Tags: Netherlands
John Weru Maina @bitmaina

John Weru is a Kenya-born writer who has been writing since his teenage years. He believes that digital currencies hold the key to unlocking the potential of e-commerce and m-commerce globally, and powering Africa's participation in international trade.