Do I need to report the export of Bitcoin (BTC) abroad?

When exporting precious metals or cash worth at least 10,000 euros abroad, we are obliged to report this to customs authorities or the border guard.

Why is this the case, and what is the reason behind it?

This obligation is imposed by the Foreign Exchange Law, according to which individuals crossing the state border must declare in writing to customs or border guard authorities the import and export of foreign exchange gold or platinum, regardless of the amount, as well as domestic or foreign means of payment if their value exceeds 10,000 euros.

Will I break the law if I export cryptocurrencies abroad without informing the relevant authorities?

To answer this question, let’s first clarify whether cryptocurrencies fall under the definition of domestic or foreign means of payment under Polish law.

Is BTC a legal means of payment in Poland?

According to the current legal framework, BTC is not a legal means of payment in Poland. According to the National Bank of Poland Act, only the National Bank of Poland has the right to issue money in Poland. The Act states that Polish currency includes banknotes and coins in the form of zlotys and grosz. Furthermore, the Act specifies that currency issued by the NBP is a legal means of payment in Poland. This means that only the NBP can issue money recognized as a legal means of payment in Poland. Bitcoin does not meet this criterion because it does not originate from any official public authority or central bank. Therefore, if BTC is not recognized as a legal means of payment in Poland…

…could BTC be considered a foreign means of payment?

No, BTC cannot be considered a foreign currency.

According to the Foreign Exchange Law:

· Foreign currencies are banknotes and coins that are legal means of payment outside the country, as well as those withdrawn from circulation but still exchangeable; exchangeable monetary units used in international settlements, particularly the International Monetary Fund’s unit of account (SDR), are treated on par with foreign currencies.

What requirements does the International Monetary Fund set for foreign currencies to be considered exchangeable?

These requirements are outlined in Article VII of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement and include:

· Not applying foreign exchange restrictions on current international transactions

· · Not participating in discriminatory currency agreements against other countries

· Using a unified exchange rate policy

· · Repurchasing one’s own currency presented by the monetary authorities of another member state, provided it originates from current transactions.

As indicated by the Supreme Administrative Court in the judgment II FSK 488/16 : Bitcoins cannot be considered domestic or foreign means of payment. A currency should be legally recognized, universally acceptable, and exchangeable, and Bitcoin does not meet the exchangeability requirements from Article VIII of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement. .

The Polish zloty became exchangeable on international markets on January 1, 1995. Its currency code is “PLN”, and the digital code compliant with ISO 4217 is “985”. The list of exchangeable currencies and their codes can be found here.

In summary, BTC does not meet the above-mentioned requirements under Polish law and is not recognized as a legal means of payment in Poland or abroad.

But wait, El Salvador has recognized BTC as a legal means of payment…

Yes, that’s true. El Salvador recognized BTC as a legal means of payment in 2021, and European law has not yet adapted to this.

What to do about it?

As E. Gwardzińska points out in the Commentary on the Foreign Exchange Law [ed. A. Mikos-Sitek, Warsaw 2023, art. 4], article 4 of the Foreign Exchange Law is a blanket provision, meaning it does not establish any rule but indicates the authority that will establish such a rule in the future.

This authority is the president of the NBP, who, in an announcement (link here), publishes the list of exchangeable currencies, which is an appendix to the announcement.

Why is this important?

Due to the content of Article 18 of the Foreign Exchange Law, which states:

Residents and non-residents crossing the state border are obliged to declare, in writing, to customs authorities or the Border Guard the import into the country and export abroad of foreign exchange gold or platinum, regardless of the amount, as well as domestic or foreign means of payment if their value exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 euros.. Providing false information in the declaration does not fulfill the reporting obligation..

What is the conclusion from this?

If you want to export BTC abroad, you are not required to report this to the Polish customs authorities.

Not sure where to acquire this digital asset?

You can find the addresses of our branches in the links below. Check if we are in your city.

Quark – your partner in cryptocurrencies

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office in Warsaw

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Gdynia

📍Kantor Bitcoin Warszawa Kabaty

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Gdańsk

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Legionowo

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Nowy Sącz

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Nowy Targ

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Opole

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Siedlce

📍Bitcoin Exchange Office Rzeszów

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

3 July 2024

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