Australia’s latest national budget eliminates goods-and-services tax (GST) on bitcoin purchases.
The cut, announced today by the Australian Department of the Treasury, brings an end to a years-long controversy over the way consumers faced the prospect of paying double GST when first buying, then spending digital currencies.
The government began looking into the matter in mid-2015, and the removal of the tax comes just days after officials reaffirmed their pledge to resolve the issue. If the new budget is approved, the policy will go into effect on 1st July, according to the Treasury Department.
The Australian government noted that the new budget “will make it easier for new innovative digital currency businesses to operate in Australia”.
Officials unveiled their plan to eliminate the GST charge on digital currencies last year, as part of a wide-ranging statement on fintech.
The budget also includes support for a previously announced fintech accelerator program. The goal, according to the government, is to provide a two-year window for new technology firms to test financial products in a limited setting – a strategy that a number of governments and central banks worldwide have pursued in recent months.
“Robust consumer protections and disclosure requirements will be in place to protect customers including responsible lending obligations, best interest duty, and the need for adequate compensation and dispute resolution arrangements,” the Treasury Department said of the program.
While not part of today’s release, Australia is also weighing potential regulatory changes to account for blockchain applications.