From When Is Crypto Tax Applicable In India: A Historical Overview

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Are you a cryptocurrency trader or investor in India? If so, you may be wondering when crypto tax was first implemented in the country. Understanding the historical context of crypto taxation in India can help you make informed decisions about your crypto assets and avoid potential legal consequences.

Cryptocurrencies first gained popularity in India in the early 2010s, with the introduction of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular prohibiting banks from dealing with crypto-related businesses.

This move caused a major setback for the crypto industry in India and raised questions about the legality of cryptocurrencies in the country.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of crypto taxation in India and how it has impacted crypto trading and investments in the country.

The Beginning of Cryptocurrencies in India

You might not remember, but back in 2009, when Bitcoin was first introduced by an unknown person using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, it was just a concept and not yet a global phenomenon that would shake up the financial world.

It wasn’t until 2013 that Bitcoin started gaining popularity in India, with the first Bitcoin exchange, Unocoin, being launched in the country. However, the Indian government was slow to react to the rise of cryptocurrencies, and there were no specific regulations or policies in place to govern their use.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the Indian government started taking notice of cryptocurrencies and their potential impact on the economy. In December of that year, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement warning citizens about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies and stating that they were not legal tender.

This was followed by a series of measures aimed at regulating the use of cryptocurrencies, including the formation of a committee to study the issue and the introduction of KYC (Know Your Customer) norms for cryptocurrency exchanges.

The RBI Circular of 2018

Now, you may be feeling frustrated and angry after reading about the RBI Ban that was imposed in 2018, which effectively banned all regulated financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrency businesses. This decision severely impacted the cryptocurrency market in India, leading to a significant drop in trading volumes and a lack of clarity in terms of crypto regulations.

The RBI Ban was a major setback for the Indian crypto community, as it hindered the growth of the industry and limited the options available to crypto investors. However, despite the ban, the Indian crypto community continued to thrive, with many businesses finding alternative ways to operate and trade cryptocurrencies.

In the next few years, several legal battles were fought by various crypto companies, which led to the Supreme Court of India lifting the RBI Ban in March 2020. This decision was a major win for the crypto community in India and opened up new opportunities for the industry to grow and flourish.

Here are three important things to note about the RBI Circular of 2018:

  1. The RBI Ban had a major impact on the Indian crypto industry, leading to a significant drop in trading volumes and a lack of clarity in terms of crypto regulations.

  2. Despite the ban, the Indian crypto community continued to thrive, with many businesses finding alternative ways to operate and trade cryptocurrencies.

  3. The lifting of the RBI Ban by the Supreme Court in March 2020 was a major win for the Indian crypto community, which opened up new opportunities for the industry to grow and flourish.

The Supreme Court’s Verdict of 2020

If you’re an avid supporter of cryptocurrencies, you’d be glad to know that the Supreme Court’s verdict in 2020 has brought about a new ray of hope for the industry.

The verdict overturned the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) circular of 2018, which had prohibited banks from dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and traders. This ruling has paved the way for crypto regulation in India and has opened up future prospects for the industry.

The Supreme Court’s verdict has created a positive sentiment amongst the Indian crypto community, as it has cleared the air of uncertainty that surrounded the industry. It has also given a boost to crypto exchanges and traders, who can now resume their operations without any hindrance.

The ruling has also put pressure on the Indian government to bring about a clear crypto regulation policy, which will provide a legal framework for the industry to operate within. This will enable India to tap into the potential of the crypto market and benefit from the economic opportunities that come with it.

The Impact on Crypto Trading and Investments in India

As someone who’s been following recent developments in the world of digital currencies, you might be curious about how the Supreme Court’s verdict has affected trading and investment opportunities in this space.

The verdict has brought about a lot of clarity in terms of crypto regulations in India, leading to a surge in investor interest. Many crypto exchanges, which were previously hesitant to operate in India, have now entered the market, offering new investment opportunities to Indian investors.

Moreover, the verdict has also led to a significant increase in trading volumes, as investors are now more confident in the legal framework surrounding cryptocurrencies. This has led to a positive impact on the overall crypto ecosystem in India, with new projects and startups emerging in the space.

As the regulatory environment continues to evolve, it’s expected that more investment opportunities will become available, making it an exciting time for crypto enthusiasts in India.

Understanding the Tax Implications for Crypto Assets in India

You may be wondering how owning digital assets affects your wallet and the Indian government’s income. Let’s explore the ins and outs of taxes on your beloved crypto investments.

As per the crypto taxation guidelines, Indian tax laws for crypto assets have been in place since 2018, and all crypto transactions fall under the purview of taxation. The Income Tax Department of India has classified cryptocurrencies as intangible assets subject to capital gains tax.

Here are some key points to keep in mind while navigating the tax implications of your crypto assets in India:

  • If you hold your crypto assets for more than 36 months, you are eligible for long-term capital gains tax, which is currently set at 20%.

  • If you hold your crypto assets for less than 36 months, you are liable to pay short-term capital gains tax, which is added to your taxable income and taxed at your slab rate.

  • Mining cryptocurrency is considered a business activity and is taxable as income under the Indian tax laws.

  • Crypto trading on foreign exchanges is also taxable if you are an Indian resident, and you must report it in your tax returns.

By understanding the tax implications of your crypto assets, you can ensure that you are compliant with Indian tax laws and avoid any legal issues in the future. Keep track of all your crypto transactions and consult a tax professional to ensure that you’re paying the correct amount of tax on your investments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the penalties for not reporting cryptocurrency transactions in India?

If you fail to report your cryptocurrency transactions in India, you may face serious legal implications and penalties. This is because not reporting your crypto transactions is considered a form of tax evasion, which is a criminal offense in India.

The penalties for tax evasion can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense. Therefore, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the tax laws and regulations regarding cryptocurrency in India and to report all of your transactions accurately to avoid any legal troubles.

Are there any exemptions for small or occasional cryptocurrency transactions?

If you’re a small business owner or an occasional cryptocurrency trader in India, you might be wondering if there are any exemptions for cryptocurrency transactions. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

As of now, there are no specific tax exemptions for small or occasional cryptocurrency transactions in India. The impact of cryptocurrency taxation on small businesses can be significant, as they may not have the resources or expertise to comply with complex tax regulations.

However, it’s important to note that failing to report any cryptocurrency transactions can result in penalties and legal consequences. It’s best to consult with a tax professional and stay up-to-date with the latest regulations to ensure compliance and avoid any unwanted surprises.

What are the specific tax rates for different types of cryptocurrency assets in India?

Taxable assets in India include various types of cryptocurrency assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

The government has implemented regulations that require individuals and businesses to report their cryptocurrency transactions and pay taxes accordingly.

The tax rates vary depending on the type of cryptocurrency asset, with Bitcoin being taxed at a higher rate than other assets.

It’s important to stay up-to-date with the government regulations and consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with the law.

Can losses from cryptocurrency investments be used to offset other taxable income in India?

If you’ve incurred losses from cryptocurrency investments in India, you may be wondering if you can use them to offset other taxable income. The answer is yes, losses from cryptocurrency investments can be used to offset other taxable income, subject to certain conditions.

However, it’s important to consider the tax implications of your investment strategies in advance to avoid any surprises come tax time. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional to ensure that you’re complying with all applicable tax laws and regulations.

How does the Indian government plan to regulate and track cryptocurrency transactions in the future?

To regulate and track cryptocurrency transactions in the future, the Indian government plans to focus on blockchain adoption and establish a digital currency framework.

This framework will include guidelines for exchanges, traders, and investors to ensure compliance with regulations and prevent fraudulent activities. Additionally, the government may introduce measures to monitor transactions and track individuals involved in cryptocurrency trading.

With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in India, the government recognizes the need for a structured approach to regulate the industry and protect investors.


So there you have it, a historical overview of when crypto tax became applicable in India. While the government and regulatory bodies have had a rocky relationship with cryptocurrencies, the recent Supreme Court verdict has brought some clarity to the situation.

As a crypto trader or investor in India, it’s important to understand the tax implications for your assets and stay up to date with any changes in regulations. With the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, it’s likely that there will be more developments in this space in the coming years. So, keep an eye out and stay informed to make the most of your crypto investments.

Remember, paying taxes on your crypto assets is not only a legal obligation, but also helps in the growth and development of the country. By contributing your fair share, you are helping to build a better future for India.

So, whether you’re a seasoned trader or just getting started in the crypto world, make sure to keep track of your transactions and report your taxes accurately. With the right knowledge and approach, you can navigate the world of crypto taxation in India with confidence.

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