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Crypto Tax Pushes Indian Users to Switch to Foreign Exchanges; Government Revenue Hurt

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • India's harsh crypto tax regulations have driven users to international exchanges.
  • An Esya report revealed the effects of the 30% taxation regime on domestic volumes.
  • The think tank comments that rules defeat the purpose of tax collections and transaction traceability.
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India’s heavy-handed crypto tax regulations have driven users to international exchanges, according to a non-profit policy think tank report.

In its report, Esya discussed the effects of the 30% tax on cryptocurrency transactions. It also included the subsequent 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on transactions above a certain threshold and the FY23 clause that prevents losses from being offset.

Indian Tax Policies Aren’t Working

The think tank determines two direct impacts of the policies. It is the offshore of domestic business and liquidity to international exchanges. This is based on data from three centralized exchanges outside India: Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken. The three Indian exchanges taken in the survey are CoinDCX, WazirX, and Zebpay.

Trade volumes of 6 Indian crypto exchanges chart by Esya
Trade volumes of 6 exchanges as per Esya report.

The policy tank emphasized the rules defeat the two main objectives of the current framework—tax collections and transaction traceability.

Esya said that from February to October 2022, transaction volume had a cumulative movement. This amounted to about $3.85 billion from domestic to foreign exchanges.

The Indian government unveiled the Union Budget for 2022–2023 in February of the previous year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman altered the crypto taxation regime by imposing a 30% fixed tax rate on any income made through crypto trading.

In addition, she unveiled the Digital Rupee. Notably, between February and March 2022, trade volumes on Indian exchanges reportedly fell by 15%, per the report.

Crypto Scams India BTC

Crypto Tax Revenue Losses Worth Millions

Owing to this, the non-profit discovered that a total of $3.05 billion was offshored in the first half of FY23. In addition, with the implementation of the flat 30% tax regime, Indian exchanges reportedly lost another 14% of their trading volumes between April and June 2022. The final nail in the coffin was a 1% TDS that dried up 81% of their trade volumes between July and October 2022.

Esya also remarked that India’s digital asset taxation is regressive compared to other countries with high adoption rates, such as the USA, the UK, and South Africa.

The rules could also result in a loss of local trade volume to the tune of $1.2 trillion in the coming four years, Esya noted. It implied that the nation might undo the damage by implementing a TDS system akin to the stock market. India might also adopt a tax code that permits the provision of offsetting losses.

The think tank also recommended that taxes on gains from digital assets be competitive on a global scale.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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