Loralie SA

TAX TREATMENT OF CRYPTO MONEY IN SWITZERLAND

For the private, but also in general, the importance of cryptocurrencies has increased over the course of the digitalization push caused by the COVID 19 pandemic and following the achievement of record prices of these new instruments payment, for example Bitcoin or Ether.

However, the proliferation of cryptocurrencies raises various tax issues for both natural and legal persons.

Cryptocurrencies are making their way onto the market of means of payment would simply be absurd, even if their principles and evolution in terms of prices are no less so.  When we talk about income or wealth, the Tax administration is not far away. It’s worth following, since the situation is changing, so as not to be caught up in it when it is too late.

What can we say, when two laws clash and the company is caught between a rock and a hard place: two visions are torn apart by the requirements in terms of depreciation, revaluation, and provisions.

Fortunately, the internal and external services specializing in this subject know about it all.

Speaking of the VAT, when and under what conditions should one join it?

Read on and you will be informed.

Tax treatment of individuals

Tax on wealth

From a tax point of view, crypto currencies are in principle a movable object that can be valued. Nevertheless, it is advisable to declare them in the list of securities and assets and not, for example, in the heading ‘other assets’. This makes it possible to obtain a better understanding and conversion of values as well as to eliminate sources of error.

As a purely digital means of payment, cryptocurrencies are subject to the cantonal tax on the assets and must be valued at market value at the end of the period.

In this case, the ‘official’ market values determine by the Federal tax administration,  must be used on the basis of the average of various trading platforms or the end-of-year prices of the trading platform through which the transaction (purchase or sale) was carried out. If such a rate cannot be determined, the initial purchase price converted into Swiss francs may be used.

Tax on income

The mere holding of cryptocurrencies does not give rise to any consequence on the tax in terms of income tax, tax at source, i.e.

Capital gains resulting from the rise in prices represent what is attributed to capital gains on movable private property which is generally exempt from tax. On the other hand, losses are not deductible.

On the other hand, the receipt of cryptocurrencies in the form of salary or, for example, during processing (so-called mining) and making available the use of computing power is to be taken as  taxable income from a pending business. The latter case arises if an individual trades crypto currency on a commercial basis.

In principle, the criteria of professional securities brokerage should be applied, including, for example, the frequency of transactions or a short period of ownership. Whether brokering is carried out on a commercial basis, it must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If crypto currencies are considered commercial assets, the principle of book value applies

Treatment as in commercial assets

Up to now, Swiss commercial law does not apply to cryptocurrency assets. There are no official qualifications issued by the legislator. In a publication, Expert Suisse has issued corresponding recommendations for the accounting of Bitcoin.

With a view to standardization. these should also be applicable to other cryptocurrencies provided that the conditions for characterizing the assets on the balance sheet are met.

Classification

According to the recommendation of Expert Suisse, the classification as cash as a possible balance sheet item is opposed to the fact that crypto currencies are very volatile and do not represent a generally accepted means of payment. The second objection could soon become obsolete, as crypto currencies are increasingly accepted as a means of payment in various fields.

However, crypto currencies should still be classified as assets

accounting purposes, with the hands in the current perspective. What is decisive for the classification as an asset is whether the brokerage of specific crypto money is part of the ordinary commercial activities of a company or not.

If transactions in this specific currency are important, it is possible and, according to current knowledge, appropriate to include them in stocks. If this is not the case, if the cryptocurrency is held for a short period, it can be carried under the paste “Securities” in current assets.

If the crypto currency is held for a longer period, it can be accounted for as a financial investment in fixed assets. An alternative for crypto currency holdings on the balance sheet is intangible investments, but this is not recommended by Expert Suisse.

This alternative is supported by international information standards.

The financial commission of the European Union is committed to the need for swiss IFRS users to recognize cryptocurrencies as intangible assets.

Evaluation

As per the art. 960a of the Code of Obligations, assets must be entered in the balance sheet at cost price at the time of entry or at the production coot. Line higher valuation of cryptocurrency assets beyond their nominal value or acquired is only possible if there is an observable higher stock price or other market price.

In this sense, value adjustments and the establishment and dissolution of fluctuation reserves are also possible because of price fluctuations up to the Art.  960b para.  1 CO.

The value of the  crypto currencies held by companies that are required to hold an account under Art. 957 CO must always be kept in the national currency or in the currency required for the management of the trade balance sheet for tax purposes.

For companies, the principle of determination applies in principle to the calculation of taxes. This means that the annual accounts in accordance with commercial law are decisive for the assessment of the taxable benefit or capital. As there are still various uncertainties concerning the evaluation in commercial law it requires companies with large amounts of crypto currencies to obtain a binding anticipated tax decision from the competent tax authorities.

Conclusion

Despite their high volatility, crypto currencies are becoming increasingly important as alternative forms of investment. In the private sector, this will increasingly give rise to an issue of delimitation between private or commercial exploitation of assets. From the point of view of tax and social insurance law, this distinction has considerable financial consequences, not only in the event of profit, but also in the event of losses.

In the field of commercial assets, the qualification of crypto money for accounting purposes is part of

a process that will continue to occupy us and spark discussion in the near future. There are still many open questions related to crypto currencies that need to be clarified for their classification into accounting. Thus, obtaining a binding tax decision is always recommends at the moment.

 

Source : Weka TVA newsletter no 6, June 2021