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Could higher taxes boost crypto?

3 June 2021

Crypto-currency seems to be very popular with those who consider the laws to be advisory rather than compulsory.

Virtually all ransomware demands are made in the form of crypto-currency and it's also the backbone of dark web sites such as Silk Road where illegal goods or services are proffered for sale.

Now, with a recent announcement by Western nations that they are considering disempowering tax havens by way of altering the tax laws, it could be that crypto becomes the currency of choice for those looking to dodge their tax obligations -- perhaps even at a corporate level.

According to media reports the G7 nations have all-but agreed on setting a minimum tax rate of 15 percent, with G20 nations expected to fall into line with this number.

Another proposed change would be that the tax would be payable in the country where the taxable activities took place, rather than where the profits were billed by accountants. This may potentially eliminate the current situation where multinational corporations such as Google repatriate profits from relatively high-tax countries like New Zealand to lower-tax countries like Ireland to minimise their total tax bill.

Of course many wealthy individuals and families will be adversely impacted if these changes are implemented and that could see much of the currently declared earnings driven underground into crypto.

Might this spike a huge increase in the value of crypto -- as the rich and privileged start moving their wealth from conventional (visible) assets and cash holdings into far less visible and less trackable things such as cryptocurrencies?

I certainly hope that the same governments which now seek to claw back lost tax revenues by way of the proposed changes have systems in place to address the "disappearance" of so much wealth and revenue if those changes come to pass.

Given how dim-witted governments tend to be, I suspect the next move will be to either make crypto illegal or to try and regulate it in some way that would allow them to monitor trading and chase up the tax obligations of those who opt to trade in crypto.

Sadly, governments always tend to be a decade or two behind the curve so I expect they'll spend billions consulting on strategies and methods for addressing the crypto situation before coming out and claiming that it must be banned/regulated "to reduce crime". At this time they'll use the ransomware plague and trading on the dark web as justifications for declaring that the "unauthorised" holding or trading of crypto becomes illegal.

One thing's for sure... there are interesting times ahead!

Another challenge will be enforcing these proposed new tax laws in a world where it is possible to operate entire empires from a sandy bay on some equatorial island.

If a company is selling services via the Net from such a zero-tax location, how will foreign governments collect their 15 percent? Can we expect them to force banks and credit card companies to levy a digital tax on every transaction perhaps, or will companies operating outside the agreed tax accord simply be blacklisted and unable to receive payments at all?

Which of course brings us back to crypto-currencies and the prospect of significant regulatory restrictions or even a ban.

How do YOU see this playing out?

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