Following the case law of the highest court regarding foreign currencies, the exchange of cryptocurrencies into other cryptocurrencies is not a realization transaction in the tax sense. Following a request for a response from the Austrian Chamber of Public Accountants and Tax Advisors (KSW), the Federal Ministry of Finance has now clarified that this principle of tax irrelevance also applies to business assets. The background to this is the understanding, independent of the type of income, according to which conversion gains of a foreign currency into another euro-stable foreign currency do not constitute a realization transaction. In the opinion of the BMF, it can be logically deduced from this that the exchange of cryptocurrencies held as business assets for other crypto units is also not considered as a tax-relevant realization.
It should be noted that this only applies to “new assets”, i.e. those cryptocoins acquired after February 28, 2021. However, in the case of “old assets” (acquisition date of cryptocurrencies before March 1, 2021) that are exchanged for another cryptocurrency after February 28, 2021, and are thus considered “new assets,” there is still a tax-relevant realization transaction in both business and private assets that is taxable accordingly.
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