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  • ARTICLE - Canada

    Canadian Crypto Tax Insights from CRA’s Recent Roundtable

    28 Nov

    Canada Crypto Tax - Introduction

    In the rapidly evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies, clarity on taxation remains a crucial concern for both users and intermediaries. In a recent roundtable discussion between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF), the CRA offered insights and guidelines on several critical issues related to the taxation of cryptocurrencies.

    Transferring crypto to platform

    A scenario presented to the CRA involved a taxpayer holding bitcoins in a cryptocurrency wallet, transferring these bitcoins to a centralized platform for exchanging and lending crypto assets. The platform offered a variable return of approximately 4% per year in bitcoin in exchange for the deposit. The platform’s terms included rights to pledge, sell, or lend the bitcoins, with profits from these actions belonging to the platform. The depositor had withdrawal rights, and withdrawals were paid from a pooled wallet containing bitcoins from various clients. The crucial query posed was whether this transfer constituted a "disposition" for tax purposes, potentially leading to the realization of a gain, loss, capital gain, or capital loss upon the transfer. The CRA's opinion leaned towards considering the taxpayer's deposit as a disposition, as the platform effectively acquired rights to use, profit from, and dispose of the assets, transferring ownership away from the taxpayer. This stance by the CRA highlights the necessity for tax advisors to scrutinize the terms and conditions of platforms for both the platform operators and their customers. The determination of whether a disposition has occurred relies on assessing possession and economic risk linked to the property, rather than accepting a platform's terms stating otherwise. The discussion also shed light on the changing landscape of crypto asset lending platforms. Over the past 24 months, these platforms offering returns on cryptocurrency deposits have seen a decline. Regulatory bodies such as the U.S. SEC and the Autorité des marchés financiers du Quebec clarified that crypto asset deposit accounts fall under securities, requiring compliance with securities laws. Notably, prominent U.S.-based lending platforms faced insolvency protection in 2022. In Canada, custodial crypto asset trading platforms (CTPs) are regulated as dealers under applicable securities law. They must explicitly state in their terms that crypto assets are held separately for clients. Unlike the terms of crypto asset lending platforms, transfers to CTPs might not generally constitute a disposition, subject to specific circumstances.

    Other scenarios discussed

    Moreover, the CRA addressed two other cryptocurrency taxation scenarios during the roundtable:
    1. Loss due to exchange fraud or theft: The CRA suggested that losses due to centralized exchange fraud or theft should be eligible for tax realization.
    2. Proving business loss upon platform bankruptcy: The CRA outlined evidence, including documentation of fraud/bankruptcy, account activation, contracts, claims filed, recovery proceedings, and evidence of unsold cryptocurrency.

    Canada Crypto Tax - Conclusion

    The insights from the CRA's discussion offer valuable guidance, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of terms and conditions within crypto platforms. Further, it highlights the need to maintain meticulous records for taxation purposes in the evolving cryptocurrency landscape.   If you have any queries on Canada Crypto Tax, or other Canadian tax matters, then please get in touch.

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