UPDATED 23:25 EST / JULY 19 2015

9024712636_3da5553a83_k NEWS

Deloitte joins Australian cryptocurrency group to work on Bitcoin accounting standards

Top four global accounting group Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. (Deloitte) has joined the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association  (ADCCA,) the peak industry group representing digital currency traders in Australia.

According to iTnews, Deloitte is planning to participate in ADCCA through a working group tasked with creating accounting standards for businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies, in particular, Bitcoin.

Based in Sydney ADCCA represents the rapidly emerging digital currency businesses sector and those engaged in the wider FinTech community.

The group serves to link members voices to Government and cross-industry stakeholders, including in the financial service sector, and provides services that ensure members are able to meet best practice standards as they seek to grow their cryptocurrency and Fintech businesses.

ADCCA also advocates for a self-regulatory framework and code of conduct based on industry best practice for cryptocurrencies, that is modelled on the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) framework that currently applies to Australian banks and other financial institutions that deal with fiat currency.

“Deloitte has had an interest in digital currencies for quite some time, so this was a great opportunity to get involved. Digital currencies have a lot of momentum at the moment,” Deloitte Australia Partner Jonathan Perkinson told iTnews.

“With ADCCA, we’ll be working on the strategic, tax and regulatory changes that will need to happen, and we’ll be recommending and challenging specific changes in those arenas.”

Screwed tax treatment

One of the biggest problems facing Bitcoin and related cryptocurrency transactions in Australia is a ruling by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in 2014 that the exchange of cryptocurrencies be treated as the exchange of a service and not a currency under Australia’s Goods and Services Tax (GST,) meaning that each Bitcoin exchange by an enterprise is subject to 10 percent GST; note small scale individual traders are not unless they are registered for GST.

This is one area that Deloitte is interested in working with ADCCA on.

“The challenge is to get cryptocurrencies taxed in an appropriate way [in Australia],” Perkinson added.

On the area of accounting standards around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Deloitte Australia Director Taralyn Elliott noted that there was still a long way to go, saying that “We haven’t started working on developing accounting standards yet. They’re in a fledgling state at the moment. But as crypto currencies get more global attention, we will soon need global accounting standards.”

“As accounting interpretations develop we expect this to create more confidence in the industry, because with a regulatory framework around the industry users can feel more assured.”

Deloitte’s membership of ADCCA is a positive step forward for the emergent Bitcoin and cryptocurrency marketplace in Australia, and their collaboration can only mean good things going forward.

Image credit: royblumenthal/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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