Bitcoin: the blockchain will it allow to circumvent the tax?
The blockchain should give rise to significant circumvention of compulsory deductions. To which base will the tax administration seek to compensate for its shortfall?
By Brice Rothschild.
The most profitable taxes are also the easiest to raise. This is probably the origin of the tax on doors and windows instituted in France in 1798, and earlier that of the gabelle , the salt tax under the Ancien Régime. The base of the tax changes according to the times because the obstinacy of the tax administration is only equal to the motivation to escape it. Or it could be that a new avoidance tool is doing its appearance: the block chains , or blockchains , that is to say records data and immutable programs, such as the Bitcoin or the Ethereum. Let’s see what might be the consequences in tax matters.
GAMBLING AND ONLINE BETTING
The first upheaval will probably come from gambling and online betting that are currently heavily taxed. These taxes brought in 5,767 million euros in 2012 to the French State according to the Observatoire des Jeux. On the Bitcoin blockchain can be written programs that run without being able to be modified or interrupted. Such a program may be: “If OM wins against PSG according to the newspaper The Team , then a transfer will be made from Paul’s address to Peter’s address”.
The state’s strategy for levying taxes is to identify and tax the players by those who put them in touch. But here we have a technology that, precisely, makes it possible to dispense with linking intermediary: there are no Bitcoin offices, no one to incarcerate, no bank account to enter. Peerplays is a pioneering project in this area.
Another threat comes from the collaborative economy that arose from the facilitated linkage between consumers and producers. This certainly poses problems for the state which prefers large companies, more easily controllable. The intermediary is his last chance to collect the tax. Thus URSSAF recently filed a complaint against Uber for non-payment of contributions.
This kind of situation exists because Uber is a company that has shareholders and leaders to turn to. But when decentralized networks of LaZooz or Arcade City type will grow, how to tax this activity? By targeting thousands of drivers and customers directly? That’s less easy.
We can also mention AirBnB and the city tax paid to the mayor of Paris , and the willingness of some MPs to tax the revenue from BonCoin through the cooperation of this platform. Whatever one thinks of it, all this is probably vain because massively decentralized alternatives are currently in development or already operational, such as OpenBazaar .
THE FISCAL PROBLEM OF DECENTRALIZATION
More broadly, any activity not concentrated geographically will be difficult to control. For example, TheDAO has raised more than a hundred million dollars a few weeks ago, millions of which can not be allocated to any administration. With such a form of organization, stakeholders spread across the territory could synchronize themselves to work for each other without being easily worried.
Thus, the blockchain should give rise to significant circumvention of compulsory deductions. Of course, activities that require production centers or real estate capital will remain easily controllable and taxable. But at a minimum , the tax architecture will change. To which base will the tax administration seek to compensate for its shortfall? What new distortions will his action create? Can she only take as much as she does today? Anyway, we are certainly living in a pivotal time.