Japan to grant tax exemption for crypto unrealized gains

abdelaziz Fathi

The National Tax Agency of Japan has issued an updated edition of its corporate tax guidelines, bringing notable amendments to the taxation rules concerning crypto token issuers. The revised guidelines specifically grant them an exemption from the standard 30% corporate tax rate on unrealized cryptocurrency gains applied to their token holdings.

According to local reports, the FSA submitted this proposal on August 31, outlining various modifications. The most important change suggested in the 16-page document is exempting domestic companies from the “unrealized gains” tax on cryptocurrencies at the end of the year. Unlike some other countries where entities are taxed on crypto assets only when they are converted into fiat currency, Japan currently imposes an annual tax on these assets.

The FSA’s proposed amendment has the potential to be passed, given that it has garnered support from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Discussions surrounding new tax regulations for digital assets have been underway among Japanese legislators since August 2022, part of a broader tax reform agenda for 2023.

The current tax exemption, however, only applies to companies that issue their own tokens and does not extend to those that solely invest in other digital currencies. Additionally, individual crypto investors will still be subject to a maximum income tax rate of 55% on any earnings exceeding JPY 200,000 ($1,797) related to cryptocurrency, categorized as “miscellaneous income.”

According to the agency’s explanation, these coins will be exempt from being counted when assessing the market value assessment of a company’s assets, given that certain conditions are met. Currently, under Japanese law, if a company holds crypto assets, they are subject to taxation as unrealized gains at the end of a tax period.

The legal notice further explains that for a company to take advantage of the revised rules, it must meet specific criteria to qualify for the tax exemption. Firstly, the company must be the issuer of the cryptocurrency in question. Additionally, it is required to retain continuous ownership of the crypto asset after its issuance, while the asset itself remains subject to transfer restrictions.

This move is part of Japan’s efforts to promote the growth of its blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors in line with the government’s push for “new capitalism,” as stated by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

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