With the Budget Law 2023, for the first time the government is paying attention to the world of cryptocurrencies by establishing the tax treatment of transactions involving cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets at a legislative level.
Until now, the only available guidance was found only in some interpretative documents from the Internal Revenue Service; today, however, the topic has finally been addressed by the Budget Law 2023 through five articles at least.
With the new regulations introduced by the Budget Law 2023, the taxation of cryptocurrencies finds a place within the Consolidated Income Tax Act, Presidential Decree 917/76 with the addition to Article 67, paragraph 1, of letter c-sexies (dedicated precisely to crypto-assets) after letter c-quinquies.
On the subject of cryptocurrency, the following cases have tax relevance:
- Exchange with cryptocurrencies;
- Exchange with NFTs;
- Exchange for fiat currency.
For that cases, the difference between the value collected and the tax value contributes to the formation of income and will be subject to appropriate taxation prescribed by law.
The normative references on crypto in the Budget Law are:
- Art.31 Taxation of crypto operations:
- Art.32 Valuation crypto-assets.
- Art. 33 Redetermination of the value of crypto-assets.
- Art. 34 Regulation of crypto-assets.
- Art. 35 Stamp tax on crypto-assets.
Taxation of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets
The text of the Law states that:
- Capital gains generated from crypto must be classified under the category of “miscellaneous income” and are subject to a tax rate of 26%;
- Capital gains below €2,000 are exempt from taxation;
- Capital gains are not calculated for operations involving the conversion of similar cryptocurrencies.
In other words, if we exchange Bitcoin for euros and make a capital gain, we would be subject to a 26% tax. However, if we exchange Bitcoin for USDC (a cryptocurrency known as a stablecoin) and make a capital gain, this gain would remain only potential and would not be subject to taxation until the stablecoin (a digital currency anchored to a stable reserve asset such as the US dollar or gold) is converted into legal tender.
A capital gain refers to the difference between the consideration received – which is the normal value of the exchanged crypto-assets – and the cost or value of purchase.
In essence, whenever a gain is obtained from the exchange of cryptocurrencies or crypto assets, it is necessary to proceed with the taxation of the capital gain, except in cases of exchange.
Regarding capital losses, the text states that only the portion of losses exceeding €2,000 can be deducted from any capital gains within the following four years.
Furthermore, cryptocurrencies must be indicated in the RW section of the tax return.
Using a crypto asset to purchase a service, a good, or any type of activity related to virtual assets such as buying an NFT with a digital currency has a tax relevance.
The exchange of cryptocurrencies for NFTs is therefore equated with the classic cash out resulting from the exchange of cryptocurrencies for euros.