Tightening Control Over Cryptocurrencies

The Ministry of Finance strengthens its control over cryptocurrencies and any type of digital currency and asset, such as NFTs, and seeks the ability to seize these assets in the event that users or companies have debts with the Administration. The institution led by María Jesús Montero proposes to reform the General Tax Law, specifically Article 162, so that the Tax Agency, when executing a user’s debt, can have access to these digital assets. Likewise, it also proposes to modify the General Collection Regulation to “enable the possibility of seizing digital assets”.

Finance has proposed these changes to the European Union through the evaluation report of the Law against tax fraud of 2021. However, they will not be long in coming.

The Administration has already taken the first steps to be able to seize this type of property. The Government approved on Tuesday a Royal Decree that came into effect this Thursday by modifying the General Collection Regulation to allow payment institutions and electronic money institutions to participate as collaborators in collection. Until now, only banks, savings banks, and credit cooperatives could be collaborating entities with Finance. With this move, the tax authorities will be able to order these entities to seize money, but also digital assets. In fact, several fintech companies operating in our country that allow users to transact with crypto assets are licensed as electronic money institutions.

Another step that facilitates Finance’s seizure of these digital assets is that it already has information on the cryptocurrencies held by taxpayers. Individuals and companies are obliged – from this year and for the first time – to declare to the tax authorities the digital currencies they hold abroad.

Spain is one of the first countries in the EU to implement tax control over cryptocurrencies. Taxpayers have been required to pay taxes on them since 2021, both in personal income tax (for their gains or losses) and in wealth tax (for their value). And also, from this year, to declare the assets they hold outside the country.

Misaligned with the EU

This rush to control cryptocurrencies will force the Administration to soon change the rules to adapt to the regulation being prepared by Europe. On the one hand, the European MICA Regulation (Markets in Crypto-assets), approved last April and set to enter into force from July, proposes a different definition of cryptocurrencies than the one adopted in Spain. On the other hand, the European Directive on taxation (DAC 8), which has not yet been transposed in our country, will require from January 2026 that providers of crypto asset services and operators exchange information with Member States about the income earned by taxpayers with these assets. This rule goes beyond the control of cryptocurrencies and aims to monitor any type of digital asset. Finance, in fact, already acknowledges that it “will have to make adjustments to tax regulations” to align them with the new EU rules.

According to data from the Bank of Spain, more than 60 billion euros were moved in cryptocurrencies in our country in 2021. Meanwhile, the wealthiest taxpayers, those whose assets exceed two million euros, declared last year that they held 2.1 billion euros in cryptocurrencies.

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