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Indonesian Trade Ministry Implements New Crypto Taxes Following Surge in Transaction Volume

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Crypto trading in Indonesia will have value-added tax imposed starting May 1, 2022.
  • Crypto investments will attract a 0.1% capital gains tax.
  • The new law comes on the back of legislation passed into law in October to increase government revenue.
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An Indonesian tax official announced on Friday, April 1, 2022, that the government would begin charging value-added tax (VAT) on crypto transactions and 0.1 % income tax on capital gains from crypto investments, starting May 1, 2022.

All 11 million crypto investors have been active in Indonesia, which treats crypto assets as commodities. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, last year, crypto transactions in commodity futures markets experienced a $59.8B explosion, up 1,000% from 2020s transaction volume.

The treatment of crypto assets as commodities and not currencies accounts for the charging of value-added tax, said the official, Hestu Yoga Saksama, at a press conference. Saksama noted that the government is still busy implementing the new tax regulations. The value-added tax charged on crypto transactions will be lower than the 11% charged for goods and services, while the 0.1% charge for investments is on par with taxes charged on shares.

The Indonesian government needs income

The legal basis for the new crypto law came from legislation that passed into law late last year. The Indonesian parliament approved a tax law in October 2021 to raise VAT, introduce a carbon levy, and cancel a corporate tax cut, bringing in some much-needed income of around 139.3 trillion rupiah following heavy expenditure in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) asserted that financial companies are not permitted to sell crypto assets earlier this year. “OJK has strictly prohibited financial service institutions from using, marketing, and/or facilitating crypto asset trading,” the regulator said in Jan. 2022. Crypto assets can only be sold on commodities exchanges, while the trade ministry is now working on forming a separate bourse for trading digital assets. Cryptocurrencies cannot be used as a payment method as they are not currencies, said the tax official.

Bankman-Fried lobbying for CFTC to oversee crypto trading

Indonesia’s treatment of crypto assets as commodities may give the U.S. government a hint, as inter-agency wars rage on as to who should oversee the volatile asset class. Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, recently lobbied for crypto regulation at a fancy party in Georgetown, Washington, where he argued for the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission to play a more significant role in the regulation of crypto-assets and has called on Congress to widen the ambit of the CFTC’s jurisdiction to that end. “The Exchanges are coming to a conclusion that the last thing they want is to be regulated by the SEC,” said Patrick McCarty of Georgetown’s law school.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...
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