India’s Income Tax (IT) department is set to issue notices to up to 500,000 bitcoin adopters trading the cryptocurrency in exchanges across the country.
India’s tax suits are widening their probe into bitcoin investments and trading after last week’s visits to at least 9 bitcoin exchanges in various parts of the country. At the time, it was reported that the tax authority had performed ‘surveys’ to determine the “identity of investors and traders, transactions undertaken by them, identity of counterparties [&] related bank accounts used, among other [details],” under the suspicion of alleged tax evasion.
The coordinated operation eventually saw a spokeswoman for the tax authority admit the information was collected from bitcoin exchanges and “investors, their source of investment” toward the “possibility of collecting tax.”
A little over a week since the ‘surveys’, India’s tax authority is already casting an eye on 400,000 to 500,000 high net-worth individuals (HNIs) across the country who were found to be trading on India’s bitcoin exchanges.
According to the Press Trust of India, the country’s largest news agency, official sources revealed that out of an estimated 2 million individuals registered on the 9 exchanges, about 400,000-5000,000 were “operational” as steady bitcoin traders and investors.
A senior tax official affiliated with the ‘survey’ operation stated:
“Those individuals and entities whose records were recovered by the department are now being probed under tax evasion charges. Notices are being issued and they will have to pay capital gains tax on the bitcoin investments and trade.”
India’s bitcoin exchanges launched a self-regulatory body to standardize KYC and AML (know your customer and anti-money laundering) norms for users as the country’s authorities and regulators remain ambiguous over clear regulations or guidelines for the industry. Earlier this month, India’s central bank issued a [twice-repeated] public caution on investing in or adopting cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In mid-November, India’s Supreme Court pushed the government’s ministries and regulators to “regulate the flow of Bitcoin” following a petition seeking clarity on bitcoin’s legality in the country.