“Any income from transfer of any virtual digital asset shall be taxed at 30 percent,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her Budget 2022-23 speech in Parliament on February 1, 2022. The announcement paves the way for crypto assets to be taxed in India, marking a shift in the government's approach towards cryptocurrencies. “The magnitude and frequency of these transactions have made it imperative to provide for a specific tax regime,” Sitharaman said during her speech, noting that there had been a “phenomenal increase” in the transaction of virtual digital assets. It is one of the most significant announcements from the Indian government which hints at their strategy towards dealing with crypto assets and non-fungible tokens (NFT). Does a tax on virtual digital assets legitimise cryptocurrencies? In her post-budget press conference, Sitharaman said that the Reserve Bank of India will issue currencies. Consultations are underway and all the questions surrounding crypto and crypto assets will be clear only after the conclusion of stakeholder consultation, she added. The Indian government is yet to clarify how it plans to regulate crypto assets. When asked about why taxation has been proposed before regulation, Sitharaman said, "I cannot wait for regulation to come in to tax people who are earning a profit." Are cryptocurrencies an asset or currency? Sitharaman said that currency becomes a currency if it is issued by the central bank even if it is crypto. "We loosely refer to cryptocurrencies, they are not currencies. Currencies are with the central bank. We are…
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