Taxes on Bitcoin and co. in Austria

Information on cryptocurrency taxation

Is income from Bitcoin & co. taxable in Austria?

Depending on the type and amount of income, different tax regulations apply. In principle, income from mining, trading, airdrops, master nodes, etc. is taxable with a few exceptions.

On 07/25/2017 the Federal Ministry for Finances first released information about its stance on the fiscal treatment of cryptocurrencies. These clarifications contain basic information on the tax situation and the assessment of processes such as “mining” as well as the valuation of cryptocurrencies and their taxation in private and business assets. Further questions were posed to the Ministry of Finance in a parliamentary inquiry which is expected to be answered by the end of 2018 at the earliest.

What taxes are levied on profits from mining, trading, airdrops and the like?

Income from speculative operations is taxed at the standard rate (depending on the level of income up to 55%). For corporations that focus on trading cryptocurrencies, a 25% corporate income tax applies. The distribution of profits is subject to 27,5% capital gains tax (KEst) (as of September 2018), resulting in a total tax rate of 45.63%.

According to Austrian legislation, “mining” cryptocurrencies is a commercial activity that entails corresponding tax consequences. The mining of cryptocurrencies is therefore treated like the production of other economic goods.

In response to a parliamentary inquiry, the German Federal Government has stated that income from private mining may constitute other income pursuant to § 22 No. 3 EStG. In mining, the threshold to commercialism, a sustainable, self-employed activity with the intention of making a profit, is quickly crossed.

Is there a tax-free limit for gains on cryptocurrencies in Austria?

Income from speculative transactions is currently tax-free in Austria if it does not exceed 440 euros per calendar year.

Tax-free trades do not have to be specified in the tax return, but investors should carefully document both tax-free trades and taxable trades to provide the tax authorities with appropriate and complete evidence of the transactions made.

Die deutsche Bundesregierung hat sich in einer Antwort auf eine parlamentarische Anfrage dahingehend geäußert, dass Einkünfte aus privatem Mining sonstige Einkünfte gemäß § 22 Nr. 3 EStG darstellen können. Beim Mining ist die Schwelle zur Gewerblichkeit, einer nachhaltigen, selbstständigen Tätigkeit mit Gewinnerzielungsabsicht, aber schnell überschritten. Detaillierte Informationen zu dieser Thematik erhalten Sie auch in unserem Kryptosteuer Guide.

Are there trades that remain tax-exempt in Austria?

Trades are tax-free if there is a period of more than one year between the purchase and sale of the respective cryptocurrency. Trades with very small amounts, where the annual income is less than 440 euros, are also not taken into account.

Such trades do not have to be stated in the tax return (however, for documentation purposes, it is recommended that these trades be recorded).

If a transaction is completed within the one-year holding period, an exemption limit of 600 Euros p.a. applies – however, the exemption limit applies to all private sales in the relevant year and therefore does not only apply to the taxpayer’s crypto transactions.

Einkünfte unterhalb dieser Freigrenze müssen nicht angegeben werden. Es empfiehlt sich jedoch diese Transaktionen trotzdem aufzuzeichnen und im Falle (z.B. auch Banken gegenüber als Herkunftsnachweis) vorweisen zu können.

How do I state income from cryptocurrencies in my Austrian tax return?

In the case of natural persons, the income must be listed under the heading “other income” – income from other services or from speculative transactions. In the case of limited liability companies that specialise in cryptocurrency trading, a corporate income tax return must be completed (as a rule, this will involve exchange rate gains and losses or the respective item in the income statement).

The tax return must be submitted electronically via FinanzOnline, the Austrian tax authorities’ online platform, by June 30 of the following year. For example, the submission of the tax return 2017 must be submitted by June 30 2018. In the case of representation by a tax advisor, longer periods apply (max. until March of the second following year).

With the Blockpit platform you can automatically generate a complete report on your transactions, which serves as proof to the tax office and banks.

Which calculation methods are permitted in Austria?

Given that a cryptocurrency was acquired at different times and at different daily rates and is held in a “virtual wallet”: Which of these tranches is sold in a transaction is decisive for the existence of a speculative transaction and for the amount of possible speculative income in the event of a sale. The taxpayer can make any assignment if the inventory of the respective crypto currency acquired is fully documented with regard to the time of acquisition and acquisition costs. If this is not the case, the oldest units of a crypto currency are to be regarded as sold first (first-in-first-out method). Further calculation methods are LIFO (Last in-First out) and HIFO (Highest in-First out).

With Blockpit you can create a tax report where your transactions are automatically arranged according to FIFO.

Can I offset losses from trading with Bitcoin and Co. from my tax liabilities?

Yes, but losses from speculative transactions can only be offset within the same type of income.


What is the tax rate on cryptocurrencies in Austria?

The applicable tax rate is the standard individual income tax. This amounts to between 14 % and 45 % (the solidarity surcharge is 5.5 % of the tax rate).


Is there a way to avoid paying taxes on cryptocurrencies in Austria?

In the private sector, the respective cryptocurrencies can/should be held for longer than one year in order to avoid tax liability. If the trades are carried out by a limited liability company which specialises in trading in cryptocurrencies, every trade is taxable. It is possible to reduce the tax base through trades to realise losses (if possible) shortly before the end of the one-year period.

The tax liability can also be reduced by using a suitable calculation method. Therefore it is necessary to document all trades accurately. In the Blockpit platform you can automatically record all trades and create a tax report in a few minutes, which arranges the trades according to the most favourable calculation method.

Keep in mind that the new observation period of one year automatically begins with the realisation of profits or losses. Detailed information can also be found in our blog article on the issue.

In the Blockpit platform you can automatically record all trades and create a tax report in a few minutes, which arranges the trades according to the most favourable calculation method.

Keep in mind that the new observation period of one year automatically begins with the realisation of profits or losses. Detailed information can also be found in our blog article on the issue.

How do I calculate taxes on Bitcoin, Ether, Dash, Iota and co.?

In order to achieve a favourable tax result, you must be able to present a complete report with all transactions when submitting your tax return. Tools such as Blockpit let you automatically create a full report on your trading history. The tax liability itself is calculated by the tax office and depends on your total income.

If there is a conditional intent to violate the duty to report, disclose or tell the truth under tax law, this falls under tax evasion as per the fiscal criminal code. In case of the reduction of a tax debt, a tax procedure is also initiated in accordance with the federal tax code.

Tax evasion has to be distinguished from frivolous tax reduction, which is merely an administrative offence. Tax authorities might prosecute it, but they are not obliged to. Disciplinary actions for tax offences are mandatory, but tax reductions in which the offender cannot be proven to have acted intentionally can be punished as a frivolous tax reduction if the other conditions for the offence are met.

How can governments and authorities trace back crypto users, since cryptocurrencies are supposed to be anonymous?

Through analysis of the respective blockchain using software or by the pressure of authorities on exchanges (in Austria for example Bitpanda) for the publication of user data, comprehensive user research could be carried out. It is difficult to say how much authorities (especially the tax office) are doing technologically. In any case, a FinTech advisory board (with a focus on cryptocurrencies) and activities of the federal criminal police office (for forensic analysis of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions) show early reactions to developments in the cryptosphere.

The Blockpit platform

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Cryptocurrencies & taxation are complex and hard to grasp issues, therefore our focus is on making the platform easy to use, as well as providing great usability. As clearly shows, filing taxes for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and co. concerns investors and traders just as much as government bodies and corporations. Our partner network consisting of certified tax advisors provides the added value of not having to rely on a black box when calculating crypto tax profits, but instead being able to rely on a certified, compliant report. Correctly file your cryptocurrency taxes and stay on the safe side with officially validated tax documentation.

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