GST: Emerging trends in capital raising

Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of individuals and businesses turning to crowdfunding platforms to gain supporters and raise funds for their projects.

Platforms such as kickstarter and GoFundMe have raised billions of dollars for causes ranging from the worthy to the frivolous and even somewhat dubious.

At the same time, interest in cryptocurrencies has grown exponentially. While they remain hugely volatile, investments in bitcoin, ethereum, or the vast range of other crypto-currencies and other digital digital tokens continue to grow, as do the numbers of people raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICO).

Both crowdfunding and cryptocurrency are rapidly evolving and still largely in their infancy, but the ATO is paying increasing attention to these sectors. It is important for those raising funds via these methods to determine whether the money they receive through crowdfunding is income, and whether it is subject to GST.

At September’s National GST Intensive, Melissa Harrison (Australian Taxation Office) will discuss the GST issues when raising capital using crowdfunding platforms and the issues involved with in her session ‘Emerging trends in capital raising’, and she tells us a little more about some of them in this post.

Melissa said “A lot of advisers are wondering what the future holds, and how the current legislation applies to emerging technology”

“There are a number of important GST considerations when sourcing funds from crowdfunding, and I’ll be presenting the ATO’s latest view on these. I’ll also be covering some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when determining the GST treatment of initial coin offerings and utility tokens. I also want to compare and contrast approaches from overseas jurisdictions to crowdfunding, initial coin offerings and the treatment of cryptocurrencies.”

Melissa Harrison joined the ATO in 2003, and now works as part of the Tax Counsel Network, where she plays a key role in advising on the ATO’s most significant and complex tax matters.

Melissa has a particular interest in GST and indirect taxes, providing interpretative advice on issues including wine equalisation tax, excise products and financial supplies. Melissa has also advised on the recent changes to the GST treatment of low value goods.

Currently on secondment at the Self-Managed Superannuation Funds Association, Melissa is a key member for the Association's policy and technical team. She has completed a double degree in International Business and International Studies, a Graduate Diploma of Taxation and completed her Graduate of Laws in 2013.

“Ultimately, delegates will walk away from my session with a clearer understanding of the differences between the different types of cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding in the market and the GST issues which will need to be considered.” she said.

The program for this year’s National GST Intensive features some of Australia’s leading GST experts from the tax profession, industry and government. Delegates will hear updates on the latest GST rulings and cases, including cases on GST commercial, contractual disputes and other topical issues.

Find out more on our website and join us in Sydney, 13-14 September 2018.


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