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Introduction to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in Poland
Poland has long been a crypto advocate with a massive bitcoin trading volume amongst its people and an above-average number of ATMs on the streets. The cryptocurrency enthusiasm of the population, however, has not been matched by Poland’s government or its financial institutions, which have not been quick to address regulatory and governance issues. As we have seen in high crypto-ranking countries, firm and clear regulation makes for a safer and more trusted crypto economy.
Following on from its sluggish response, however, late in 2021, Poland has begun to move away from its cautious and unregulated approach to implementing strict Anti Money Laundering directives aimed at increasing transparency and improving protection. Companies looking to offer crypto services need to register in a Register of Virtual Currencies as part of the Polish Ministry of Finance. Whilst the registration does not in itself offer greater protection it is a step in the right direction. Such companies are also subject to the Payment Services Act.
Unfortunately for investors, taxes on Bitcoin and crypto gains are high and institutionally, there is still much resistance to cryptocurrency trading with many banks unwilling to accommodate companies wishing to facilitate trading crypto. However, moves in Europe generally may have the knock-on effect of bringing Poland into line with more enlightened crypto policies. The EU Commission is proposing the Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), as part of a larger planned EU Digital Finance Strategy. Whilst definitions of types of crypto are being hammered out, having both issuers and facilitators of crypto assets subject to consistent consumer protection and safety standards will enable Poland to more successfully capitalize on its people’s huge appetite for crypto. The new legislation is pending, but Poland moves up for its potential along with making progress on regulation.
Poland scores a healthy 7.5/10 on crypto friendliness with a very positive government outlook and low taxes and a high and growing number of ATMs. Places to spend crypto are expanding, especially within the tourist industry.
Crypto trading and law in Poland
Legal – existing crypto legislation
Poland officially recognizes the trading and mining of digital/virtual currencies as an official economic activity, and it is largely monitored by the Central Statistical Office which reports directly to the Polish Prime Minister’s office.
Legal – forthcoming crypto legislation
All crypto issues are under review but nothing specific is forthcoming. The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (UKNF) continues to reinforce its position that potential investors should be aware of the risks and volatility of trading all types of cryptocurrencies. The position taken by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA) on crypto trading refers only to selected legal and regulatory issues, which remain within the competence of the PFSA. No particular laws relate to crypto as such. Poland has one of the highest numbers of Bitcoin ATMs but the country’s Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has no plans to restrict this growth, and companies that install and operate ATMs are subject to the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
Bitcoin tax in Poland
Income tax Poland
Holding crypto and not selling it, even if it goes up, is not taxable. You are only liable for income tax when you transact, lend or gain interest on your coins and they yield an income or gain. So if you sell them or exchange them for a product or service you are liable for tax in a given year. You’ll need to keep all records for tax purposes (but you must have guessed that already). The tax rate is 19% on income over expenses, but if you’re in the big league of trading and your income goes over a million PLN, then your tax is bumped up an extra 4%. For personal income taxes, profits from crypto transactions are taxed as income from cash capital. For private transactions, the revenue is regulated as income from property rights, and the gain is taxed progressively at rates between 18% and 32%. Profits from business activities are taxed at a flat rate of 19%.
Your crypto trading is both recognized and tax allowable. Your crypto purchases and sales will make up the revenue figure in a given year from which you will deduct the costs of cryptocurrency purchases. Also, investment costs from previous consecutive years can be added to the following year’s returns until they are fully deducted.
Tax when moving residency
If you are a long-term resident of Poland you are deemed to be a permanent resident for tax purposes. Should you move, your tax affairs will come under the jurisdiction of your country of residence.
Bitcoin mining in Poland
Mining is beyond the scope of most individuals and calls for significant investment in time, money, and equipment. However, Poland’s income tax laws treat mining in the same way as trading. Gains in the value of your mined bitcoin or crypto are taxable and the cost of mining is allowable.
Polish Bitcoin and crypto services
Fin services – retirement planning
Most retirement and pension funds worldwide deem cryptocurrency to be too volatile to become part of long-term retirement schemes. There is little certainty on this at present.
Fin services – banking
The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) granted licenses to two crypto startups, Conquista and Bitclude, as payment providers. Both are now authorized.
Fin Services – Defi
Like many countries, Poland is interested in this technology and is actively looking at ways to bring its advantages into the mainstream.
Spending Bitcoin in Poland
Poland has a rapidly expanding digital currency culture and there are at least 122 ATMs dotted around the country. Cryptocurrency is beginning to grow in acceptance and a number of bars, restaurants, and retailers take it – from beers to burgers – as well as the Polish national airline, LOT. The country is amongst the top 10 for having the most Bitcoin ATMs and it ranks as one of the highest ATM destinations.
You won’t be able to reduce your tax by gifting your cryptocurrency. Whatever gain you have made on it will be taxable up to the point at which you gift it.
Crypto regulation in Poland
Improved security for your crypto assets inevitably means increased legislation and regulation. Poland is embracing crypto trading, and Polish Crypto Exchanges are regulated and comply with KNF’s AML/CTF reporting obligations.
However, security is largely a question of doing your homework, so if you lose your keys or get hacked, your most likely form of compensation is through any insurance that your Poland crypto exchange offers on your holdings. Basically, just remember that all Poland crypto exchanges have their own levels of security, advantages, and disadvantages, so you need to check out the service that satisfies your needs best.
As with many government bodies, the tax authorities can request information from crypto Poland exchanges and expect compliance with their laws. You’ll need to provide personal details and proof of ID – so anonymous dealing is not possible. Cryptocurrency is not deemed to be a traditional element of the financial market and is not subject to the supervision of the PFSA. Trading cryptocurrency is subject (as in nearly all countries) to Poland’s AML Act, supervised by the General Inspectorate of Financial Information, primarily to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, ensuring compliance with the AML/CFT provisions.
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