On September 2, Agenzia delle Entrate, the major Italian tax authority, published a new document titled “Bitcoin and digital currencies buying and selling: clarification on the tax treatment” about the fiscal treatment of Bitcoin and how VAT would be applied to digital currency transactions.

The document states:

“Traditional currency intermediary activities made with virtual currencies held by market participants are exempt from VAT, as they are among the transactions related to banknotes and coins.”

In Italy there are several places where you can use Bitcoin as a method of payment. From tennis clubs to painters, from bed and breakfast to lawyers, you can buy everything you need with Bitcoin, especially in the tourist and computer fields.

Individual Bitcoin users

The document specifies different rules according to the kind of users: individuals and companies. In line with recent guidelines of the EU Court of Justice, the resolution makes it clear that for individual users holding Bitcoin outside of a business activity, these are spot transactions which do not generate taxable income because it lacks speculative purpose.

Business consultant and tax advisor Antonello Gaviraghi explained to Cointelegraph:

“About the gains of individual users, this resolution specifies that they are not taxed because they have no speculative purpose. However, this interpretation is to be applied also to the detention of Bitcoin in relatively small amounts. Incomes from transactions made by individuals on a currency become taxable when the total stock of all the foreign currency deposited in accounts held is greater than 51.645,69 euro for at least 7 days, using for the calculation of the stock the current exchange rate prevailing at the beginning of the reporting period, or January 1st.”

Companies who hold Bitcoins

Instead of individuals, the Agenzia delle Entrate resolution specifies that  revenues - coming from intermediation in the purchase and the sale of Bitcoins - are subject to IRAS and IRAP, net of related costs.

To evaluate the Bitcoins held by the company at end of the year it is necessary to consider the normal value, or their prices at that time. For this reason, Gaviraghi explains that this resolution is a disadvantage for business, because companies will have to pay tax on unrealized capital gains or losses.

He notes:

“Any unrealized capital gains or losses, arising from the difference between the purchase cost and the evaluation at the end of the year will be subject to capital gain taxation. This is is a serious disadvantage for companies who hold Bitcoins for their activities, who will have to pay taxes on profits not yet realized, but only estimated.”