Archive: May 9, 2016

1
FinCEN proposal to impose AML obligations on U.S. Funding Portals
2
ASIC update on fintech regulatory sandbox proposal
3
Digital currency and GST

FinCEN proposal to impose AML obligations on U.S. Funding Portals

By C. Todd Gibson, Michael McGrath and Ken Juster

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department) (“FinCEN”) proposed rules that would require “funding portals” established under new Regulation Crowdfunding to implement policies and procedures designed to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes.

Current regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) define a “Broker or Dealer in Securities” as an entity registered, or required to be registered as a broker or dealer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Certain funding portals that operate in compliance with Regulation Crowdfunding are exempt from such registration, and therefore fall outside of the BSA definition.  FinCEN is proposing to amend the defintion of a “Broker or Dealer in Securities” to specifically include funding portals, which will have the effect of imposing the same BSA obligations on funding portals as are currently imposed on fully-registered broker-dealers, such as filing suspicious activity reports.

A copy of the proposed amendment can be found here.

ASIC update on fintech regulatory sandbox proposal

By Jim Bulling and Jack Fraser

ASIC has put out a media release on the proposed regulatory sandbox licensing exemption and will release a public consultation paper on the proposal in June of this year. The purpose of the sandbox is to foster innovation in the FinTech industry by allowing eligible businesses to test their products in the market without initially being subject to the usual regulatory mechanisms and requirements.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said that this “consultation paper will seek feedback on additional steps that ASIC may take to facilitate fintech innovation while maintaining protections to ensure investor and consumer trust and confidence”.

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Digital currency and GST

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

The application of consumption tax to digital currencies varies between countries. The UK and countries in the EU have made Bitcoin exempt from such taxes, while other countries such as Japan, Singapore, Canada and Australia treat digital currencies as intangible property which is subject to the tax.

In Australia, this has resulted in consumers paying Goods and Services Tax (GST) when they exchange money for digital currencies and again when they use the digital currency to make a purchase. Treasury has released a discussion paper on the application of GST on digital currencies. While the proposals are very different technically, they both result in removing the double taxation.

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