Israeli gov’t seeks to track crypto holdings above $61K

The Israeli government announced its plan to implement a policy to monitor cryptocurrency holdings above 61,000 shekel. – The plan will concentrate on a subset of Israelis who hold large amounts of cryptocurrency, with the objective of preventing illegal activity and money laundering.

A proposal by Israel’s Ministry of Finance, which was published by Israeli media outlets on Tuesday, has accused crypto exchanges of evading taxes by hiding the amount of taxable incomes their customers make. The ministry’s proposal suggests that crypto exchanges should use a digital ID, reachable via mobile devices, to track the amount of taxable incomes from crypto trading activity. The Ministry’s proposal is the first of its kind in the world.

Israel’s Financial Supervision and Insurance Commission (the “FSC”) has discussed a plan to track more than 5,000 individuals with a net worth exceeding $61,000 (NIS 1.9 million) with an eye towards preventing crimes involving cryptocurrencies. The plan, which includes applying a 30% tax on crypto holdings above the $61K limit, was reportedly first proposed during a meeting between members of the FSC and Bank of Israel (BoI) officials.

 

As part of a “war against black capital,” the Israeli government is stepping its efforts to prevent tax fraud and eliminate loopholes for would-be money launderers. A new legislative obligation to put cryptocurrency users under greater inspection is one of the measures detailed in a new draft law released by the Ministry of Finance this week.

The proposed legislation would require cryptocurrency users who have bought 200,000 NIS ($61,000) in cryptocurrencies or who have crypto assets of the same amount or more to submit a report with the Israeli tax authorities.

This reporting requirement would apply to any Israeli citizen who owned cryptocurrency worth this amount or more on one or more days during the tax year, either individually or on behalf of a kid under the age of 18. According to the bill,

“Virtual currencies have been widely accepted by the general public, and they are now exchanged on exchanges as an asset. Digital currencies may be split into tiny pieces, transmitted quickly through electronic methods, and are not susceptible to examination or monitoring. Virtual currency is a simple and efficient method of hiding income, amassing undeclared assets, and money laundering under certain circumstances.”

The adoption of this proposal, if authorized, will increase state income by 30 million NIS ($9.2 million) in 2022 via extra taxation.

Meni Rosenfeld, the leader of the Israeli Bitcoin Association, sent a letter to Israeli Tax Authority director Eran Yaakov earlier this week, according to Israeli business publication TheMarker. He said that the stringent reporting requirements would result in the creation of a database of Bitcoin owners, which would be unparalleled in comparison to any other asset.

Due to the price fluctuation of virtual assets, Rosenfeld claims that crypto investors may be subject to a reporting requirement one month and then fall below the threshold the next. He stated that the choice to make this change to the law without any discussion or understanding of its consequences severely limits investors’ rights to a hearing and jeopardizes the proposed legislation’s efficacy. 

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Rosenfeld’s concern that the legislation will unfairly discriminate against Bitcoin holders, portraying them as “possible criminals,” was also reported by the Israeli newspaper Globes. The proposed restrictions, in his opinion, run against the grain of facilitating access to the digital economy in general, a sector that already confronts considerable regulatory difficulties.

Itai Bracha, a tax lawyer, told Globes that the legislation was unclear “The authorities have taken yet another aggressive step toward becoming a ‘Big Brother.’ The ruling makes it apparent that the state does not trust taxpayers to adequately disclose and pay their debts.” Despite the classificational similarity between stocks and other assets and cryptocurrencies, Bracha pointed out that in Israel, investors who trade stocks or other assets are not required to file reports.

Facing criticism over its lack of regulation of virtual currencies, the Israeli government has moved to bolster its oversight of the growing cryptocurrency industry, proposing it track users above a certain threshold of holdings.. Read more about crypto taxes israel and let us know what you think.

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