22.06.2022: GST Council may defer decision on taxing crypto assets in June 28-29 meet

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is unlikely to take a call on taxing virtual digital assets (VDA) or crypto assets in its upcoming meeting and may ask two states, Haryana and Karnataka, to study the nature and taxability of various activities in the crypto ecosystem.

The Council is set to meet on June 28 and June 29 in Chandigarh.

The GST fitment committee, comprised of central and state officials who are reviewing the issue, has deferred the matter as it felt it requires deeper study, according to people privy to the development.

The move follows the demand from crypto industry players seeking clarity over concerns and scepticism on the VDAs from GST perspective. At present, there is no specific provision for virtual assets in the GST regulations. It is levied at the rate of 18 per cent only on services provided by crypto exchanges, which are categorized as financial services.

“After an extensive discussion on various activities associated with taxability of crypto currencies and non-fungible tokens, the fitment panel felt that the issues involved in the crypto currencies and non-fungible tokens, the fitment panel felt that the issues involved in the ecosystem need deeper study. It was decided that Haryana and Karnataka shall study all aspects and submit a paper before the committee in due course.

The states (Haryana and Karnataka) have been tasked to study and identify all relevant supplies associated with crypto-ecosystem which are under the ambit of GST; their nature whether those activities are goods or services and their applicable rate based on appropriate classification, person cited above said.

The panel noted that crypto assets refer to algorithm based decentralized convertible virtual assets protected by cryptography. Crypto ecosystem involves various activities including mining, exchange services, wallet services, payment processing, barter system, and other different transactions etc.

The Finance Bill has defined VDAs as digital assets generated through cryptographic means. It also imposed 30 per cent tax on income from transfer of such virtual assets effective from April 1. Along with TDS of 1 per cent from July 1.

Industry players are of the view that the VDAs industry has seen astronomical growth despite ambiguities around regulations. Two unicorns have come into existence.

The Finance Bill provision of 1 per cent TDS (Direct Tax) on all VDA transactions and disallowing set off is expected to adversely affect the sector. Any additional tax, such as GST will further pose a challenge to this industry.

The GST panels are learnt to be also working on the valuation at which tax would be levied — that is, whether the GST would apply on margins or on the entire value.

The law committee and the fitment committee of the GST Council are looking into the classification and the tax treatment of crypto assets. The law panel will make suggestions on whether crypto is treated as a good, commodity, or services.

Source: Business Standard
https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/gst-council-may-defer-decision-on-taxing-crypto-assets-in-june-28-29-meet-122062200813_1.html

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