Indian crypto tax policy to treat each digital asset investment independently

Indian crypto tax policy became even more complicated just a week before the new tax laws are set to come into effect. A new parliamentary note answering queries about the new tax policies on virtual digital asset (VDA) suggest that traders can’t offset their losses from one digital asset against profit on another.

As the new tax policy waits for April 1 to come into effect, many experts claim the latest clarification from the government is a death knell for traders. The crypto tax policy of the government expects traders to treat each investment and profit/loss on a digital asset independently.

For example, if a trader invests $100 each in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and they incur a profit of $100 on Ether and a loss of $100 on Bitcoin, then the trader would have to pay a 30% tax on the profit of Ethereum without accounting for losses on BTC.

WazirX founder Nischal Shetty called the tax policy regressive and “unbelievable,” while hoping the government changes its stance. He told Cointelegraph:

“Treating profits and losses of each market pair separately will discourage crypto participation and throttle the industry’s growth. It’s very unfortunate, and we urge the government to reconsider this.”

Apart from the latest burden of treating each crypto trading pair independently, the 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) on each transaction is also being criticized by crypto entrepreneurs and especially exchanges, as they believe it would dry up liquidity.

Crypto entrepreneur Naimish Sanghvi suggested that traders should sell everything they have before March 31, 2022, and start fresh from April 2022.

India is yet to finalize a regulatory framework for the crypto Industry despite several assurances by the government since 2018. While many hoped the introduction of taxes would offer some form of legitimacy to the crypto industry, the finance ministry made it clear that the industry would gain any legal status only after the passing of the crypto bill.

Related: India’s crypto tax provides little legal clarity for traders and exchanges

The crypto tax policy itself seems to be inspired by the country’s gambling/lottery tax laws which kind of reflects the government’s approach towards the crypto market.

Countries such as Thailand and South Korea have also proposed a similar high crypto tax, but those policies failed as the government understood it would hinder the growth of the nascent market. Korea had to postpone its 20% crypto tax while Thailand exempted traders from paying 7% value-added tax on authorized exchanges.

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