Finland goes against the grain, considers bitcoin purchase a financial service, exempts exchange commissions from VAT

Finland has gone against the grain of most of the EU, classifying bitcoins as payment instruments, not goods or commodities.

Finland has gone against the grain of most of the EU, classifying bitcoins as payment instruments, not goods or commodities. This means that bitcoin purchases are rendered as financial services, therefore exempting commissions levied by exchanges from VAT.

Richard Asquith, vice president of global tax compliance at Alavara, went as far as to say that Finalnd has pushed Bitcoin “towards being regarded as a formal currency.” While such an assertion can be debated for several reasons, the ruling is nonetheless unique.

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However, the decision may not align with future European Union (EU) action on the matter. The EU has been working to formulate its approach to regulation, but progress has been patchy. The EU as a whole has not made the matter a priority, despite pressure from member states. If regualation ever comes to fruition, it will likely follow the consensus of member states considering Bitcoin a good.

In Australia, recent guidelines by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) point to an opposite extreme from in Finland. GST is chargeable even on bitcoins themselves, much to the chagrin of Bitcoiners using services like CoinJar. CoinJar has indicated, in addition, that such rules add excessive complexity to the buying process.

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