After being unable to deposit profits, Israeli cryptocurrency traders are looking for answers from banks and regulators.
Still unfamiliar with the technology, some $86 million in unpaid taxes on cryptocurrency trade earnings have piled up as banks refuse to touch deposits writes Israeli media Haaretz. The result? Many traders can’t deposit or even access their funds.
“The tax authority is aware of the problem, but they say the ball isn’t in their court. I’ve tried working with almost all the banks, but the minute they hear the word ‘Bitcoin’ they freeze up,” Gross told the Haaretz.
Gross said he has paid his tax bills to the Israeli Tax Authority consistently since 2011, but after 2017 things went sour with his bank. Israel currently taxes virtual currency profits at a capital gains rate of 25% rate for individuals and 47% for corporations.
The issue is not the tax authorities, however.
Another trader Haaretz spoke with said banks lock up funds due to anti-money laundering and know-your-customer concerns. Paying taxes with trading profits is made near impossible by banks not wanting to be mixed up in the emerging market.
In May, an Israeli court ruled that bitcoin is an asset and not a currency. The court ruled against the founder of DAV.Network Noam Copel saying cryptocurrencies count as taxable events. Copel said his bitcoin holdings were foreign currency and therefore non-taxable.
“Zero Crypto Tolerance”
Seemingly, the Israeli banking industry is taking a risk-averse position. Speaking with CoinDesk, the Israeli Bitcoin Association’s Legal Counsel Jonathan Klinger says all major banks operate under a tight cryptocurrency policy.