Russian Tax Service Delivers Opinion on Cryptocurrencies

News and Analysis

On November 29, a letter from Russia’s Federal Tax Service No. ОА-18-17/1027 d.d. 10.03.2016 was added to the local legal reference system Consultant Plus. The letter in question covers the official stance of the authorities on cryptocurrencies in Russia.

According to Artem Tolkachev, the chairman of the Russian Blockchain.Community and the head of the Group on legal services for technological projects at Deloitte, the document’s basic provisions are about the following:

1) The Russian laws do not define such terms as money surrogate, cryptocurrency, or virtual currency.

2) The Russian laws do not contain any prohibitions as to operations with cryptocurrencies conducted by Russian citizens and organizations.

3) Using cryptocurrencies in transactions is a basis for considering such transactions as possibly related to laundering of illegally obtained money, and terrorism funding.

4) The FTS of Russia believes that operations related to procurement or sale of cryptocurrencies involving currency values (i.e. foreign currencies or external securities) and/or Russian currency are essentially monetary operations.

5) The existing monetary control system does not provide for reception of data on buy/sale operations with cryptocurrency from residents and nonresidents.

According to Tolkachev, the document generally covers everything the community had been talking about for the last three years. Still, he believes, “the conclusion concerning currency operations looks extremely weird.”

“At last there’s a reason to rework my presentation on legal status of cryptocurrencies in Russia,” Tolkachev told ForkLog.

On November 10, speaking at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Russia 2016 in Moscow, Elina Sidorenko, professor for the department of criminal laws, procedures and forensics at the Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations, and the head of interdepartmental parliamentary working group on assessment of cryptocurrency risks, stated that the working group will hold a meeting this December.

At the meeting (which is to be held December 15), the group will present experts and representatives for related ministries with two concepts of legislation for cryptocurrencies so that they could determine further work of the group.

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