The Belarus High-Tech Park (HTP) was established in 2005 as a result of growing support from the Belarusian government in the IT sector. The HTP offers very interesting tax advantages to all enterprises which are exploiting the IT sector and which are residing within the Park.
Currently 192 companies are registered as HTP-residents, of which only 41% are solely Belarusian. 24% are joint ventures and 35% are foreign investments.
At the end of 2017, the Belarusian president Lukashenko signed a Presidential Decree “for the development of a digital economy”, also known as Decree N° 8 governing cryptocurrencies, ICO’s and smart contracts.
As the first country in the world, Belarus now recognises cryptocurrencies as an asset that can be acquired, owned and traded under national law by any company or any individual. From its entry into force, companies will be allowed to issue and deal in cryptocurrencies, however only via qualified HTP residents.
One of the most appealing features of the Decree is the fact that until 1 January 2023 a full tax exemption will apply to capital gains made from the following transactions:
Exchange from one cryptocurrency to another, or into fiat money
ICO’s and altcoin launches
Private individuals trading or mining cryptocurrencies
Aside from that, the mining, sale and acquisition of cryptocurrencies by HTP residents are exempt from profit tax and VAT.
The VAT question, had, however, already been answered by the ECJ in the Hedqvist case, where the ECJ ruled that transactions with cryptocurrencies were exempt from VAT.
To become an HTP resident, a company will be required to develop a business plan which will be reviewed by the HTP board of directors The company will also have to sign a contract with the HTP administration, as well as comply with cash reserve requirements.
These cash reserve requirements are:
For cryptocurrency platforms:1.000.000,00 BYN (Belarusian Ruble), which is roughly 414.000,00 EUR
For cryptocurrency exchange operators: 200.000,00 BYN, which is roughly 83.000,00 EUR
The Presidential Decree N° 8 will enter into force on 22 March 2018.
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