Understanding the implications

Digital currency exchanges have become increasingly popular platforms for trading and exchanging cryptocurrencies. However, it’s essential for operators and traders to understand the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implications associated with these transactions.

In this article, we will explore how GST applies to digital currency exchanges and provide clarity on the obligations involved.


What is a digital currency exchange?

A digital currency exchange refers to an online trading platform that allows entities to trade cryptocurrencies for fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies. It typically involves facilitating the exchange of crypto assets between buyers and sellers. These exchanges may charge trading fees for their services and can also engage in direct buying and selling of crypto assets with traders.


Digital currency exchanges facilitating crypto asset trades

If you operate a digital currency exchange and are registered for GST or required to be registered, there are specific GST consequences to be aware of when facilitating sales between buyers and sellers of crypto assets.

  • Services to Australian Residents:
    Suppose your exchange provides services to Australian residents located within Australia. In that case, your supply of facilitating trades of crypto assets will be taxable. This means you must report and pay GST on these taxable supplies.

  • Services to Non-Residents:
    On the other hand, if your exchange provides services to non-residents who are not located in Australia, your supply of facilitating trades of crypto assets will be GST-free. As a result, you are not required to pay GST on these GST-free supplies.


Let’s consider an example to illustrate this distinction. Crypto P2P Pty Ltd is an Australian digital currency exchange operator registered for GST. They allow crypto asset traders to buy and sell directly with each other on their platform. When traders register with Crypto P2P, they provide information about their residency and location.

Suppose Danielle, a non-resident located outside of Australia, and Olivia, an Australian resident located in Australia, register for Crypto P2P’s services to trade CostyCoin (a digital currency) for Australian dollars. In this case, Crypto P2P’s supply of services to Danielle is GST-free, and they are not required to report or pay GST. However, the supply to Olivia is taxable, and Crypto P2P must report and pay GST on this supply.


GST Registration for non-resident digital currency exchanges

If you are a non-resident operating a digital currency exchange and meet the following criteria, you must register for GST:

  • You carry on an enterprise.
  • You make supplies connected with Australia that exceed the GST turnover threshold.


Claiming GST credits

As a digital currency exchange operator registered for GST, you can claim GST credits for purchases related to making taxable or GST-free supplies. However, it’s important to note that you generally cannot claim GST for purchases related to input-taxed financial supplies. Some exceptions apply, and you may be eligible to claim GST credits if you make input-taxed financial supplies of digital currency without exceeding the financial acquisitions threshold. In certain cases, you can also claim reduced GST credits for specific reduced credit acquisitions listed in the GST regulations.

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of claiming GST credits, refer to resources such as GSTR 2003/9 (Goods and services tax: financial acquisitions threshold), GSTR 2004/1 (Goods and services tax: reduced credit acquisitions), and Apportionment.



In conclusion, operating a digital currency exchange comes with GST obligations that operators and traders need to understand and fulfill. Depending on the nature of the services provided and the residency of the traders involved, GST implications can vary. It’s essential for digital currency exchange operators to determine whether their supplies are taxable, GST-free, or input-taxed financial supplies.

By registering for GST when required and adhering to the relevant regulations, operators can ensure compliance and avoid potential issues. Additionally, understanding the rules for claiming GST credits can help operators maximise their tax benefits. As the landscape of digital currencies continues to evolve, staying informed about GST obligations will be crucial for the success and sustainability of digital currency exchanges.

If you would like more information or assistance regarding GST and digital currency exchanges, Regency Partners is here to help. Contact our team of experts to discuss your specific needs and ensure compliance with GST regulations.

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Katheryn Rogers


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