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Bitcoin blitzkreig as Germans prepare to tax virtual currency

Berlin puts its towel on virtual sunlounger

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Germany has become the first country to recognise Bitcoin as a real form of currency, which will be subject to tax like any other dosh.

The country's ministry has declared that Bitcoins are “units of account” and should be regarded as “private money”. What this means is that anyone trading in the virtual currency will be liable to pay capital gains tax of 25 per cent.

However, in line with the country's well-known penchant for saving, anyone simply hoarding Bitcoin will not have to pay tax if their virtual wedge grows in value. All they need to do is keep the Bitcoin for more than 12 months to dodge the taxman.ock.

The decision was announced by Frank Schaeffler, of the federal ministry of finance, and announced in Die Welt.

Of course, the one problem with taxing Bitcoin is that it's often impossible to work out how much any one person owns. The currency is broadly anonymous and there are few reliable methods for actually establishing where a transaction took place, meaning that levying national or regional sales tax could be nigh on impossible.

A federal judge in Texas recently declared Bitcoin a currency, but this attitude has not filtered up to the highest levels of American government. New York took a different attitude and subpoenaed 22 different Bitcoin companies earlier this month. ®

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