Advanced

Beskattning av Bitcoin i ljuset av likformighetsprincipen

Nermark Hjelm, Erik LU (2018) JURM02 20182
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
This paper examines how financial products are classified within the capital gains bracket and which tax differences follow from such classification. Based on practice and the methodology of the Income tax act, the paper describes how a divestment of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin should be classified and taxed. The result is thereafter analyzed from the perspective of the principle of uniformity and other objectives of the tax system, such as simplicity and predictability.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the traditional Fiat currencies, with the purpose of decreasing transactional costs and increase payment security. Although the primary goal of Bitcoin is to function as money, cryptocurrencies are... (More)
This paper examines how financial products are classified within the capital gains bracket and which tax differences follow from such classification. Based on practice and the methodology of the Income tax act, the paper describes how a divestment of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin should be classified and taxed. The result is thereafter analyzed from the perspective of the principle of uniformity and other objectives of the tax system, such as simplicity and predictability.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the traditional Fiat currencies, with the purpose of decreasing transactional costs and increase payment security. Although the primary goal of Bitcoin is to function as money, cryptocurrencies are also the subject of speculation for investors. For many, the last years’ rapid value increase has led to large economic gains. For others, the equally rapid decreases have led to large losses. Hence, the question of how capital gains and losses from trading with Bitcoin should be taxed has been brought to light.

The regulation for the Swedish capital gains taxation were established together with the tax reform of 1990. Some of the overarching goals of the reform were to make the taxation system simpler and fairer, as well as making taxation uniform across the same levels of income. As a mean of reaching this goal, all capital gains were gathered under the income type “capital”, with a uniform tax rate of 30 percent. Since the realization principle enables the creation of so-called interest-free tax credits, the legislator diverted from the principle of uniformity by creating differences in the taxation of same assets; such as tax deductions for shares, bonds and “other assets”. The differentiation was founded on the basis of risk, and the difficulty with which the product is controlled in terms of trade. Least favorable is the taxation of “other assets” in chapter 52 of the Income tax act. Assets that may not be classified as shares or bonds are taxed in that category.

Ultimately, for a product to be classified as a share, value fluctuations have to be based on the economic performance of the issuing company. Since Bitcoin is not issued by a company, and the value is solely based on market supply and demand, Bitcoin should not be classified as a share for the sake of taxation. Neither can Bitcoin be classified as a foreign currency which is taxed according to the rules of bonds, since the cryptocurrency does not meet any of the main definitions of legal tender according to economic theory nor legislation. Hence, a divestment should be taxed according to the rules of “other assets” in chapter 52.

Lastly, my interpretation is taxation of Bitcoin and other financial products does not meet the requirements of uniformity. The different treatment of financial products could, according to me, not be justified through reasons of tax credit, nor based on the difficulty of controlling the trade of Bitcoin. The valuation of Bitcoin cannot be deemed predictable, and the creation of tax credits should not be seen as more likely through investments in Bitcoin in comparison to other investments in currency products. Neither should control difficulties for the Swedish tax agency create the basis for an argument of limited right of deduction of capital losses. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna uppsats utreder hur finansiella produkter klassificeras i inkomstslaget kapital, och vilka skatterättsliga skillnader som finns mellan de olika kategorierna i inkomstslaget. Utifrån praxis och inkomstskattelagens systematik redogörs för hur en avyttring av kryptovalutan Bitcoin ska klassificeras och beskattas. Gällande rätt analyseras sedan mot bakgrund av principen om likformighet och skatterättens övriga mål om bland annat enkelhet och förutsebarhet.

Kryptovalutan Bitcoin lanserades 2008 som ett alternativ till de traditionella valutorna, i syfte att bland annat minska transaktionskostnader och öka säkerheten vid betalningar. Även om Bitcoins primära syfte är att fungera som pengar, utgör kryptovalutan i hög grad ett... (More)
Denna uppsats utreder hur finansiella produkter klassificeras i inkomstslaget kapital, och vilka skatterättsliga skillnader som finns mellan de olika kategorierna i inkomstslaget. Utifrån praxis och inkomstskattelagens systematik redogörs för hur en avyttring av kryptovalutan Bitcoin ska klassificeras och beskattas. Gällande rätt analyseras sedan mot bakgrund av principen om likformighet och skatterättens övriga mål om bland annat enkelhet och förutsebarhet.

Kryptovalutan Bitcoin lanserades 2008 som ett alternativ till de traditionella valutorna, i syfte att bland annat minska transaktionskostnader och öka säkerheten vid betalningar. Även om Bitcoins primära syfte är att fungera som pengar, utgör kryptovalutan i hög grad ett spekulationsobjekt för investerare. För många har de senaste årens skenande kryptovalutakurser inneburit stora ekonomiska vinster. För andra har de snabba nedgångarna inneburit minst lika stora förluster. Frågan om hur kapitalvinster och kapitalförluster från handel med Bitcoin ska beskattas har därför satts på sin spets.

Reglerna för den svenska kapitalvinstbeskattningen lades fast i och med 1990-års inkomstskattereform. Några av de uttalade målen i reformarbetet var att göra skattesystemet enklare och mer rättvist, samt att beskattningen skulle vara likformig så att personer med samma beskattningsbara inkomst träffas av lika hög skatt. I syfte att uppnå detta samlades i stort sett alla kapitalinkomster i ett nytt inkomstslag kapital, med en likformig skattesats på 30 procent. Eftersom realisationsprincipen möjliggör tillskapandet av så kallade räntefria skattekrediter gjorde lagstiftaren ett avsteg från principen om likformighet, och avdragsreglerna för delägarrätter, fordringsrätter och andra tillgångar skiljer sig åt. Åtskillnaden gjordes främst mot bakgrund av hur riskfylld en produkt är och vilka kontrollsvårigheter som finns relaterade till en handel med produkten. Minst fördelaktig är en beskattning enligt reglerna om ”andra tillgångar” i 52 kap. IL. Till denna kategori hänförs sådana tillgångar som varken kan anses utgöra delägarrätter eller fordringsrätter.

Avgörande för om en produkt kan anses utgöra en delägarrätt är om värdeförändringen beror på det utgivande företagets ekonomiska utveckling. Eftersom Bitcoin inte ges ut av ett företag och värdet endast beror på utbudet och efterfrågan på marknaden, kan Bitcoin inte anses utgöra en delägarrätt i inkomstskattelagens mening. Inte heller kan Bitcoin anses utgöra en utländsk valuta som beskattas enligt reglerna om fordringsrätter, eftersom kryptovalutan inte uppfyller några av de huvudsakliga definitionerna av pengar, varken enligt ekonomisk teori eller lagstiftning. En avyttring ska således beskattas enligt reglerna om ”andra tillgångar” i 52 kapitlet.

Avslutningsvis är jag av uppfattningen att beskattningen av Bitcoin och andra finansiella produkter inte möter kravet på likformighet. Den olikformiga behandlingen av olika finansiella produkter kan enligt min mening inte rättfärdigas av varken skattekreditskäl eller kontrollsvårighetsskäl. Värdeförändringarna på Bitcoin kan inte anses vara förutsebara, och tillskapandet av skattekrediter bör inte vara mer sannolik genom en investering i Bitcoin än vid investeringar i andra valutaprodukter. Inte heller anser jag att Skatteverkets svårigheter med att kontrollera huruvida en förlust faktiskt är verklig i taxeringsarbetet borde utgöra ett argument för en begränsad avdragsrätt. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Nermark Hjelm, Erik LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Taxation of Bitcoin
course
JURM02 20182
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Skatterätt, Bitcoin, Likformighet, Likformighetsprincipen
language
Swedish
id
8972880
date added to LUP
2019-04-03 13:22:17
date last changed
2019-04-03 13:22:17
@misc{8972880,
  abstract     = {This paper examines how financial products are classified within the capital gains bracket and which tax differences follow from such classification. Based on practice and the methodology of the Income tax act, the paper describes how a divestment of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin should be classified and taxed. The result is thereafter analyzed from the perspective of the principle of uniformity and other objectives of the tax system, such as simplicity and predictability. 

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the traditional Fiat currencies, with the purpose of decreasing transactional costs and increase payment security. Although the primary goal of Bitcoin is to function as money, cryptocurrencies are also the subject of speculation for investors. For many, the last years’ rapid value increase has led to large economic gains. For others, the equally rapid decreases have led to large losses. Hence, the question of how capital gains and losses from trading with Bitcoin should be taxed has been brought to light. 

The regulation for the Swedish capital gains taxation were established together with the tax reform of 1990. Some of the overarching goals of the reform were to make the taxation system simpler and fairer, as well as making taxation uniform across the same levels of income. As a mean of reaching this goal, all capital gains were gathered under the income type “capital”, with a uniform tax rate of 30 percent. Since the realization principle enables the creation of so-called interest-free tax credits, the legislator diverted from the principle of uniformity by creating differences in the taxation of same assets; such as tax deductions for shares, bonds and “other assets”. The differentiation was founded on the basis of risk, and the difficulty with which the product is controlled in terms of trade. Least favorable is the taxation of “other assets” in chapter 52 of the Income tax act. Assets that may not be classified as shares or bonds are taxed in that category. 

Ultimately, for a product to be classified as a share, value fluctuations have to be based on the economic performance of the issuing company. Since Bitcoin is not issued by a company, and the value is solely based on market supply and demand, Bitcoin should not be classified as a share for the sake of taxation. Neither can Bitcoin be classified as a foreign currency which is taxed according to the rules of bonds, since the cryptocurrency does not meet any of the main definitions of legal tender according to economic theory nor legislation. Hence, a divestment should be taxed according to the rules of “other assets” in chapter 52. 

Lastly, my interpretation is taxation of Bitcoin and other financial products does not meet the requirements of uniformity. The different treatment of financial products could, according to me, not be justified through reasons of tax credit, nor based on the difficulty of controlling the trade of Bitcoin. The valuation of Bitcoin cannot be deemed predictable, and the creation of tax credits should not be seen as more likely through investments in Bitcoin in comparison to other investments in currency products. Neither should control difficulties for the Swedish tax agency create the basis for an argument of limited right of deduction of capital losses.},
  author       = {Nermark Hjelm, Erik},
  keyword      = {Skatterätt,Bitcoin,Likformighet,Likformighetsprincipen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Beskattning av Bitcoin i ljuset av likformighetsprincipen},
  year         = {2018},
}