Australia has begun a government enquiry which could lead to Bitcoin becoming a legitimate currency within the country. The Senate Economics References Committee is considering making the cryptocurrency a regular tender, with the same standing as regular money, for the purpose of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The review contradicts the position of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which only last year determined Bitcoin to be a commodity, rather than legal tender or legitimate currency, and as such was liable for taxation under GST laws. That decision caused a number of Australian startups to threaten migration to another country.
The Senate Economics References Committee, though, has now criticised the ATO’s position, warning that it had placed “an additional burden on Australian digital currency businesses.”
“Without a doubt, the main benefit will be the confidence and certainty that removing a GST will provide to our own digital entrepreneurs, and the foreign businesses who want to set up here,” Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, chair of the committee, said. “Most importantly, it will send the message to local tech entrepreneurs that their government is listening to them, and that in itself is a major step forward.”
The committee’s review has been hailed as a positive step toward supporting new and existing tech businesses in Australia. “Sam Dastyari is recognising the growth potential of innovative technology, and I take it as a sane step towards the only sensible interpretation of the GST legislation,” said Chris Mountford, a developer at Atlassian, one of many companies that lobbied the committee to support Bitcoin. “[The ATO’s ruling] was going to be a barrier for startups, not for Bitcoin. Bitcoin was going to succeed despite Australia.”
Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.