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Lithuania Creates Detailed Cryptocurrency and ICO Guidelines


Ministry of Finance’s Guidelines

The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania has published guidelines for cryptocurrency market and ICOs. They are divided into 4 areas – regulation, taxation, accounting, and Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Although the guideline document is entitled “ICO Guidelines,” three of the four sections focus on cryptocurrency market.

The Lithuanian Minister of Finance, Vilius Šapoka, said that the guidelines “describe only part of the aspects examined by relevant institutions, in case of discrepancy between guidelines and positions of institutions, the latter shall prevail,” adding:

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We acknowledge that the brave new crypto economy world is here to stay, this is why we encourage and invite its participants to innovate and create in Lithuania.

ICO Regulation

“Organizing ICO is not regulated by specific legislation,” the finance ministry explains in the Regulatory section, adding that “taking into account different ICO models and different characteristics of tokens, in some cases, such activity may be subject to the requirements of the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania and supervision of the Bank of Lithuania.”

As well, the ministry notes that “If funds collected during ICO are intended for the formation of the capital of a newly established FMP [Financial Market Participants] – the capital formation requirements applicable to a specific form of financial institution shall apply.”

Šapoka said in his speech:

We are one of the first ones in Europe who prepared comprehensive guidelines on the legal framework for ICO projects covering regulatory as well as taxation and accounting.

Tax Section for Cryptocurrency

The taxation section outlines the treatment of cryptocurrency for different tax purposes, also includes tax exemptions and deductions.

For corporate and personal income taxes, “virtual currency is recognized as current assets that can be used as a settlement instrument for goods and services or stored for sale.”

For VAT, it is “considered as the same currency as euros, dollars etc.” For other tax purposes, “other types of instrument, e.g. certain types of tokens, may be recognized as a virtual currency as well.” The document details:

Income received from individual purchases and sales of virtual currencies will be taxed standard 15% fixed income tax rate.

As for crypto mining, the finance ministry includes that “When virtual currency is mined, no goods/services are usually supplied for consideration, therefore, the mining of virtual currency is not subject to VAT,” emphasizing that “the sale of such [crypto] currency in Lithuania is VAT exempt.”

Accounting and AML/CFT

“Accounting of tokens circulated by the token promoter depends on whether they are attributed to payment, utility and securities tokens,” the finance ministry noted, adding that “Accounting of acquired tokens also depends on the type of tokens.”

The guidelines also highlights the accounting and “evaluation of cryptocurrencies used as payment means according to Business Accounting Standards (Lithuania GAAP).”

For AML/CFT, the relevant ministries are working on the amendments to the 5th AML Directive. The finance ministry describes:

First round of amendments will concentrate on provisions relevant to virtual currency exchanges and wallet services operators, aiming at increasing transparency and clarity of regulation together with stability and security of the financial market.

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