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Practical Heritage Manual 2021.

14. Virtual currencies

Regulations: Art. 24 Wealth Tax Law

"virtual currency" (also called "cryptocurrency") is defined in article 1.5 of Law 10/2010, of April 28, on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism as "that digital representation of value not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or public authority, not necessarily associated with a legally established currency and which does not have the legal status of currency or money, but which is accepted as medium of exchange and can be transferred, stored or negotiated electronically ."

Taking into account this definition, virtual currencies are considered, for tax purposes, as intangible assets, computable by units or fractions of units, which are not legal tender, but are used as a means of payment as they can be exchanged for other assets. , including other virtual currencies, rights or services if accepted by the person or entity that transmits the good or right or provides the service. Since virtual currencies have economic content, like the rest of the assets owned by the taxpayer of the Wealth Tax, they must be declared.

Under the term "virtual currencies" ("cryptocurrencies"), various categories are included, such as bitcoins (the most well-known and popular) and other alternative currencies outside of these (which are generically called "altcoins"), all of them under the common denominator of being created with a "cryptographic" base (a system that protects information and communications through algorithms that make them secure and immutable) and of operating independently on their own DLT networks (distributed ledger technology or blockchain) which allows a public record of all transactions carried out with the corresponding virtual currency, even the most recent ones such as stablecoins (which are virtual currencies designed to reduce the volatility that occurs in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as they are linked to the value of one or more more legal currencies - such as the dollar or the euro -, to material goods such as gold or real estate, or to another cryptocurrency or to be controlled by algorithms that allow a stable price to be maintained) and, in general, the so-called payment "tokens" that , unlike the previous ones (bitcoins or altcoins), do not have their own DLT or blockchain so they require another platform DLT (not their own) to function. For example, Ethereum is one of the platforms that allows people or entities to create their own virtual currencies to finance projects.

The financing of projects through these platforms currently occurs mainly through the so-called "initial cryptocurrency offerings" or ICOs (Initial Coin Offering, an acronym that evokes the expression IPO or Initial Public Offering, used in relation to IPO processes),

However, the expression ICO can refer to both the actual issuance of cryptocurrencies and the issuance of rights of various kinds generally called "tokens".

The term token ("token" could be the translation into Spanish) is broader than that of cryptocurrencies since it can be used not only as a means of payment but for other diverse uses by converting any right into a fungible and negotiable digital asset. A token can represent a currency, but also a property, a share, a financial asset, etc. Hence we currently talk about crypto assets.

The uses and characteristics of these "tokens" (tokens or cryptoassets) vary, with the most common classification of these "tokens" being the one that allows us to differentiate between two types or categories:

  • "Payment tokens", cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies, which are used as a means of payment and as a store of value and unit of measurement operating in a similar way to legal tender money. They are negotiated and can be exchanged for traditional or virtual currencies on specialized currency platforms, after their issuance.

  • "Security tokens", designed as tradable assets that are held for investment purposes since they generally grant voting rights or participation rights in the future income or increase in the value of the issuing entity or a business.

  • "Utility tokens", currently translated into Spanish as "service tokens", which give the right to access a service or receive a product, without prejudice to which mention is usually made on the occasion of the offer to expectations of revaluation and liquidity or to the possibility of trading them in specific markets.

In the case of virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies), the taxpayer must declare in the Wealth Tax the balance of each different virtual currency of which he is the owner on the date of accrual, that is, on December 31 of each year, being valued at market price on the aforementioned date, that is, at its equivalent value in euros on said date.

Obligation to report balances in virtual currencies

Regulations: Thirteenth Additional Provision Law Personal Income Tax and art. 39 bis Regulation

Since July 11, 2021, Law 11/2021, of July 9, on measures to prevent and combat tax fraud, transposing the Directive ( EU ) 2016/ 1164, of the Council, of July 12, 2016, which establishes rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, modifying various tax rules and regulations on gambling ( BOE of 10), has modified the thirteenth Additional Provision of the Personal Income Tax Law to establish two new information obligations related to holding and operating with virtual currencies.

Regarding the possession of virtual currencies, it is established for persons and entities residing in Spain and permanent establishments in Spanish territory of persons or entities residing abroad, which provide services to safeguard private cryptographic keys on behalf of third parties, to maintain, store and transfer virtual currencies, whether said service is provided primarily or in connection with another activity, the obligation to submit an annual informative declaration regarding all virtual currencies with respect to which the private cryptographic keys are safeguarded.

The information to be provided to the Tax Administration will include the name and surname or company name or full name and tax identification number of the people or entities to whom the private cryptographic keys correspond at some point during the year, whether as owners, authorized persons or beneficiaries. , the public keys linked to said private keys and the balances as of December 31.

These new reporting obligations on virtual currencies are pending regulatory development.