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The Spanish government and its financial institutions have demonstrated a strong and long-lasting commitment to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Taxation around crypto can be high, and the country has yet to offer investors full clarity. New anti-money laundering laws (AML) are being implemented, which may provide more guidance. The country has a strong score of between 50 and 200 Bitcoin ATMs and an average number of ICOs. Crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers offering their services to residents are unhindered, provided they become registered with the Bank of Spain and comply with AML requirements.
Crypto trading & crypto law in Spain
Legal – existing crypto legislation
Spain is part of the EU and abides by many of its directives on financial conduct. Like most leading European countries, it has its individual interpretations and guides for the definition of cryptocurrency and approach to taxation. Several Mediterranean countries including Spain aimed to centralize efforts regarding cryptocurrency and hammer out a single strategy.
Effectively, with EU directives and governmental guidelines, there is lots of bewildering regulatory advice to look up if you have the time and inclination. Generally, in the EU, cryptocurrencies and crypto assets are classified as qualified financial instruments (QFI’s), and banks, credit, or investment firms are able to hold or offer services in crypto.
Legal – forthcoming crypto legislation
There’s nothing on the horizon in terms of specific regulation for cryptocurrencies in Spain. They are not treated as legal tender, as this is exclusively reserved for the euro as the national currency. The Spanish government may add new types of legislation for its own needs. Generally speaking, cryptocurrencies are broadly considered legal across the European Union, but cryptocurrency exchange regulations depend on individual member states. Regulations may vary by member-state, and by compliance with the European Banking Authority (EBA), European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Insurance & Pension (EIOPA), or European Supervisory Authority for Securities (ESMA). Cryptocurrency taxation also varies but many member states charge capital gains tax on cryptocurrency-derived profits at rates of 0-50%.
Crypto tax in Spain
Income tax Spain
Crypto trading and exchanges are not exempt from taxation. There are well-established national and overseas exchanges available to handle your buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. While you can do it, you’re going to have to tell the taxman and have your gains and losses taxed. Oh yes, and in Spain, the exchange platforms that you are using will have to report the balances held by cryptocurrency holders and the operations carried out with them.
So, if you’re looking to buy, sell, hold or trade bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, your tax bill will depend on the activity you are performing with your crypto. Put simply, if you acquire cryptocurrency there is no tax to pay. Once you sell on, buy another currency, or exchange your cryptocurrency you are trading – and the difference between the value at which the cryptocurrencies were acquired and the value at which they are sold generates a capital gain or loss that must be declared.
In Spain, the capital gain will be included in the Personal Income Tax Savings Base and the percentage to be applied will vary between 19% and 26%. Also, some online platforms where cryptocurrencies are deposited pay interest to the buyer and that will be considered in your personal income as savings income, and, as such, will be taxed at the same tax rates stated above.
At present the personal income tax rates for crypto traders rise from 19% on capital gains of 6,000 euros up to 26% on gains of over 200,000 euros. If you lose out, your capital loss can offset the gains. If you’re out of luck and your losses exceed the gains, the non-offset losses can be compensated in the declarations of the following four years, up to a limit of 25% of the gains on each of those years.
Tax when moving residency
As with any income, your bitcoin will come under the tax laws of the country you become legally resident. If you move outside Spain but are still resident there, make sure you have detailed transaction reports about your purchases and sales across all exchanges you used. If you set up a business to trade bitcoin, that business will come under the tax laws of the country it operates from. You may not need reminding that Spain operates a Wealth Tax in certain regions that taxes your worldwide net wealth. Your total cryptocurrency holdings will need to be declared if that wealth tax applies to you, even if you live somewhere else but remain a resident of Spain.
Tax on mining
Mining is fantastically complicated and unless you’re a technical specialist it is beyond the scope of most individuals. To bring things back to earth, mining for bitcoins or any other cryptocurrencies is, you guessed it, a taxable event.
In the unlikely event that you will be mining, for personal income tax purposes, it’s considered an economic activity and the income obtained will be included in the general taxable base, and subject to the corresponding progressive tax rate. On the plus side, the small fortune that you’ve had to pay for the energy you’ve used will be tax deductible.
Crypto financial services in Spain
Fin services – retirement planning
Investing in bitcoin for pension and retirement funds by financial institutions is regarded very coolly due to the volatility surrounding trading. However, like most countries, Spain looks increasingly favorably upon the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin. For the most part, cryptocurrency is not generally accepted by pension plans and retirement funds due to the risk and unpredictability. As with all things crypto, the situation is changing all the time.
Fin services – banking
The banking establishment in Spain, as in Germany, is identifying the potential of crypto trading and custody services. Indeed, one of Spain’s largest banks is launching cryptocurrency trading and custody services – but in Switzerland instead of Spain. It is still awaiting the necessary approvals. BBVA is said to be working with Swiss fintech Avaloq and Swiss crypto custody infrastructure provider METACO for integrating their custody solution SILO.
Fin Services – DeFi
DeFi in Spain? Definitely not as yet on an institutional level. However, blockchain and its advantages are being analyzed and assessed, with talks and virtual events, as well as some hackathons. An upsurge in DeFi protocols has been prevalent with certain DeFi advocate organisations working on boosting decentralized finance in the Spanish-speaking world.
Using crypto in Spain
Most stores still don’t accept crypto as a form of payment, but there are gift card programs that allow you to convert your cryptocurrency into a gift voucher to spend at participating stores. Major bitcoin exchange Coinbase, for example, launched a feature that lets customers buy virtual gift cards with cryptocurrency that can be spent at over 100 retailers including Uber, Google Play, Nike, Ticketmaster, and fashion brands like Ted Baker and Clarks. Currently, the gift card feature is only open to people in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Spain, and Australia, but Coinbase says it will eventually expand to other places as well.
If you’re feeling generous, you can gift crypto but you are still subject to tax on the gain you have made from it prior to gifting it no matter how or where you store or trade your coins. You can gift to a recognized charity or non-profit organization and most crypto exchanges will be able to advise on gifting your coins.
Crypto regulation in Spain
Security is a leading question asked by crypto investors and the leading exchanges do carry some form of insurance against fraud or loss – but this is by no means standardized and it is very much up to you to check these things out before you trade. Exchanges that are not fully regulated in your own country may or may not have protection against loss. Increased adoption of blockchain technology has promoted an upsurge in cryptocurrency and crypto trading. With returns on cash suffering from worldwide low interest, there has been a huge interest in bitcoin and other digital assets/currencies as a form of investment and speculation. However, either as a beginner or regular trader, it pays to do some research and only deal with crypto exchanges that are established and carry insurance to protect your investment.
Identification is required to buy crypto in Spain and the tax authorities require exchanges to supply trading information when asked. You’ll also have to keep clear records of your trading, although many exchanges can provide your trading details, in which case you need to keep them safe in case of unforeseen circumstances. If your crypto wallet has been hacked, you cannot claim any immediate tax relief, but you should record any losses as you can offset these with any future crypto profits within one year. You’ll also need to make clear whether your losses were part of a trading business or for personal investment purposes. Reputable exchanges carry insurance against fraud or hacking, so in this event, you’re more likely to be claiming some form of compensation from the exchange.
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