Bitcoin is booming in India, and the top trading platforms in the country Zebpay, Coinsecure, Unocoin, and Bitxoxo have seen unprecedented trade volumes and exchange sign-ups. However, in the midst of the bitcoin fever taking place in the region, the country’s Income Tax Department of India (ITDI) has been investigating exchanges and are researching the “taxability of bitcoin” assets.
Unocoin Co-Founder: ‘Significant Gains in Cryptocurrencies Will Be Under Scrutiny’
The recent bitcoin hype in India has attracted many investors but also the country’s regulators and tax officials. According to reports this week ITDI officials are still investigating exchanges that deal with bitcoin, and the officials believe the recent spike is a perfect time to research the cryptocurrency economy. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the initial “crypto-crackdown” which scrutinized digital asset startups and wealthy bitcoin proponents. Now tax officials are scanning data to see if individuals profited from the jump in bitcoin’s price but failed to report the gains. The co-founder of Unocoin, Sathvik Vishwanath, told the columnist Nupur Anand Indian citizens who took in large gains would be under the tax man’s radar stating;
Apart from bitcoin or other currencies, all the mobile and immobile properties of an individual who has made significant gains in cryptocurrencies will be under scrutiny.
Bitcoin Demand in India is Huge and BTC Trades at Nearly $20K
Bitcoin in India has seen a growth in value bigger than most regions around the world. For example, at press time the global weighted average according to Bitcoin.com’s price index is $14,500 but using the Unocoin exchange, the price is INR 1,214,437. This premium equals an $18,969 USD conversion per BTC on Indian exchanges, which is considerably higher than the global average. On December 28 the trading platform Coinsecure is swapping roughly 75-100 BTC per day, and the current premium on that exchange is $18,059 per bitcoin. To purchase bitcoin on Zebpay Indian residents have to cough up ₹1,214,375 Indian rupees which is also close to the US $20K price territory. Bitcoin’s price rates on all the Indian exchanges across the board are roughly holding the same premium. Localbitcoins volumes this week in India crossed the US $1.8Mn, and the price is above $19K on that platform as well.
Coinsecure: ‘The ITDI Investigation Will Be a Rude Awakening for Tax Evaders Across the System’
Because India is seeing so much demand, ITDI officials have been visiting trading platforms in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Bengaluru. According to Nupur Anand’s report, an exchange operative who wishes to remain unnamed explains that investor accounts that have utilized gains for significant purchases and accumulation of other assets will be monitored and assessed. The exchange Coinsecure has disclosed earlier this month that ITDI officials want to “understand the repercussions and taxability of bitcoin.”
“The officials had requested data to try and analyze taxability of Bitcoin,” reveals Coinsecure. “Everything was extremely routine, and all exchanges in India have gone through the same process cooperating and coordinating with the authorities.”
While this will be a rude awakening for tax evaders across the system, we at Coinsecure have viewed this quite positively as we come closer to taxation laws and a recognized status for bitcoin in India.
Despite the ITDI officials and Reserve Bank of India’s recent investigations Indian citizens are still using bitcoin regularly and buying the asset at a global premium. Moreover, just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on Indian entrepreneurs setting up new cryptocurrency related startups in the country in hopes the government will favor the new economy. Many of these entrepreneurs are looking at the crypto-economy like it’s the next ‘gold rush’ and want to stake their claim early before the billions of Indian residents in the region become fully aware of bitcoin.