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French Parliament Rejects Amendments to Ease Crypto-Related Taxation

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Capital, a French monthly business magazine reported on 18 December 2018 that several proposed changes to the 2019 finance bill aimed to ease crypto-related taxation have been rejected by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament. The decision was reportedly made by the Chairman of the Finance Committee with the support of the local Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno le Maire.

The rejections of the amendments do appear to be contradicting with several statements made by government officials in the past. Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, said in 2017 that he hoped that France could become a country that promotes and endorse blockchain innovation. Bruno le Maire also shared the president’s opinion, saying that the country would be prepared for the revolution of blockchain.

The first proposal rejected was aimed to create a distinction between investors who were ‘regulars’ in crypto trading and those who occasionally utilise the currency for payments. By having a separate tax perspective, the occasional crypto traders would have less tax burden than before.

The parliament also declined the proposal for crypto taxation to follow the current guidelines and conditions for securities. However, the proposal still has chance to be re-evaluated by the parliament if digital assets become more commonly used and accepted in the country’s economy.

Amendments to increase the annual volume of crypto transactions that are exempted for tax to €3,000 (approx. $3,400) or €5,000 (approx. $5,700) too were rejected by the National Assembly, and the current amount of €305 (approx. $350) was described to be already suitable.

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Additionally, a reduction of crypto income tax rate was proposed and discussed during the Assembly’s meeting. It is still unclear whether the decrease from 36.2% to 30.0% would be accepted.

It is obvious that the rejections did not delight local crypto investors. Alexandre Stachtchenko, who is the head of French blockchain association La Chaintech, voiced his concerns through capital, saying that the government did not care for the welfare or the risks of crypto investors. He also noted that it was frustrating that no official justifications were given for the proposals to be rejected.

Although the country has made efforts to support blockchain development such as offering to invest €500 million (approx. $570 million) in blockchain deployment at the state level, French’s official stance on crypto remains ambiguous.

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