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Bitcoin WARNING: UK braced to CRACK DOWN on tax-dodging BTC investors | City & Business | Finance





HMRC yesterday issued the largest crypto tax advice document in the world – a whopping 4,400 words – detailing how investors making money with cryptocurrency should be paying tax on their profits. It signals the government’s intention to embrace the likes of bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple from 2019 as they become more popular with the British public. It also flags a desire by the tax office to cash in on a secretive and elusive market thought to be worth billions. It is understood that the Bank of England has been looking hard at exploring opportunities with cryptocurrency for several years, and that the government has pushed select committees into examining what role cryptocurrencies can play in the UK economy. 

For now, however, HMRC officers have been tasked with cleaning up the industry before the government can press ahead with future plans.

The sudden hard-line stance has been applauded by some of the country’s leading academics in crypto finance.

Professor William Knottenbelt, Centre Director of Imperial College London’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering, said: “It’s going to get very uncomfortable for the bad guys, and a whole lot better for the good guys. 

“It’s long overdue, and I think the government has spent a long time working out what its relationship should be with decentralised technology that could then be taxed.”

Professor Knottenbelt explained the move also paved the way for more regulation across an industry largely viewed from the outside as lawless.

He said: “There has definitely been a general increase in regulation and identity checking across the industry, and that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing because if you’re a bad actor with a lot of crypto hidden out there, you’re now going to have a very hard time moving it around.

“This should be seen as a very positive development, as in the space is being cleaned up a lot.”

The top academic suggested the government would be keen to explore further uses for blockchain – the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies – as it would actively assist with forensic accounting techniques.

He said: “Blockchain technology logs everything like a crime scene – nothing escapes it.

“Far from being a murky and dirty space, a lot of the properties of blockchain allow you to operate a cleaner market.” 

His views were echoed by another highly respected figure in UK cryptocurrency and FinTech, Professor Carol Alexander.

Professor Alexander, who is Leader of the Crypto Market Risk Group at the University of Sussex, said: “It is good news that the UK tax authority is leading the world for individual investors – although FINMA – the Swiss authority – already issued guidelines for institutional investors almost a year ago.

“It seems clear that capital gains tax will be applied to individuals, with no additional taxes.

However, what is not yet clear is whether the many traders that have lost 90 percent of their investment over the last year will be able to offset the loss against capital gains on traditional assets such as US equities.”

Although unable to address Professor Alexander’s concern, a spokesman for HMRC said the body was working hard on “our understanding of this complex area”.

The spokesman said: “This new guidance will help people better understand the tax implications from the buying, selling and holding of crypto assets.

“For the individuals that may have invested small amounts into ‘cryptocurrencies’, it is very unlikely they will have to pay any additional tax.”

Although welcomed by experts keen to see the industry cleaned up, Professor Alexander did suggest the guidelines were wide open to abuse.

She said: “We need clarity on how HMRC aim to overcome the challenge of pseudo anonymous trading on exchanges having poor KYC (know your customer) practices.

“Are they going to restrict lawful trading to Coinbase and the handful of other exchanges with traceable wallet addresses?

“If not then it will be very simple for ordinary investors to hide profits from HMRC.”

Coin Rivet is a website bringing news, information, analysis, opinion and insight from the fast-moving blockchain world.


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Ottawa education workers still teaching special-ed students at schools want safety checks





Some Ottawa educators say they are concerned about the safety of classrooms that remain open in schools for special-education students.

Ontario elementary and secondary students have been sent home to study virtually because of the dangers posed by rising rates of COVID-19. However, special-education classes are still operating at many bricks-and-mortar schools.

The special-education classes include students with physical and developmental disabilities, autism and behaviour problems. Some don’t wear masks and require close physical care.

Two unions representing teachers and educational assistants at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board have sent letters to Ottawa Public Health expressing their concerns.

It’s urgent that public health officials inspect classrooms to assess the safety of the special-ed classes, said a letter from the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, which also represents the educational assistants who work with special-needs children.

“In the absence of reasons based on medical evidence to keep specialized systems classes open, we are unsure as to the safety of staff and students in these programs,” said the letter signed by president Stephanie Kirkey and other union executives.

The letter said staff agreed that students in specialized classes had difficulty with remote education and benefited most from in-person instruction.

“Our members care deeply about the students they work with and are not only concerned about their own health and safety, but also about that of their students, as they are often unable to abide by COVID safety protocols that include masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene, thus making it more likely that they could transmit the virus to one another,” the letter said.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has 1,286 elementary and secondary students in special-education classes attending in person at 87 schools, said spokesperson Darcy Knoll.

While final numbers were not available, Knoll said the board believed a large number of the special-education students were back in class on Friday at schools.

In-person classes for other elementary and secondary students are scheduled to resume Jan. 25.

The school boards provide PPE for educators in special-education classes as required, including surgical masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.

Several educators interviewed said they don’t understand why it has been deemed unsafe for students in mainstream classes to attend class, but not special-ed students.

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Ottawa sets record of 210 new COVID-19 cases following lag in data reporting





Ottawa has now broken its daily record for new COVID-19 cases twice in 2021, with 210 new cases added on Friday amid a lag in data reports from earlier in the week.

The nation’s capital has now seen 10,960 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports 977 active cases of the virus in Ottawa, a jump of more than 100 over Thursday’s figures.

One additional person has died in relation to COVID-19 in Ottawa, raising the city’s death toll in the pandemic to 395.

The record-setting case count comes a day after Ottawa reported a relatively low increase of 68 cases. Ontario’s COVID-19 system had meanwhile reported 164 new cases on Thursday.

OPH said Thursday that due to a large number of case reports coming in late Wednesday, the local system did not account for a large portion of cases. The health unit said it expects the discrepancy to be filled in the subsequent days.

Taken together, Thursday and Friday’s reports add 278 cases to Ottawa’s total, a daily average of 139 cases.

The new single-day record surpasses a benchmark set this past Sunday, when the city recorded 184 new cases.

Ontario also reported a new record of 4,249 cases on Friday, with roughly 450 of those cases added due to a lag in reporting in Toronto.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also continues to climb in Ottawa. OPH’s dashboard shows there are currently 24 people in hospital with COVID-19, seven of whom are in the intensive care unit.

Three new coronavirus outbreaks were added to OPH’s dashboard on Friday. One outbreak affects a local shelter where one resident has tested positive for the virus, while the other two are traced to workplaces and private settings in the community.

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Ottawa family dealing with mould issue in apartment grateful for support





OTTAWA — An Ottawa family, who has been dealing with mould in their south Ottawa apartment, is grateful for the support they have received from the community.

“I would like to say big very mighty, big thank you to everyone,” says Nofisat Adeniyi.

Adeniyi lives with her three sons in a South Keys apartment. Her son Desmond turned to social media on Sunday to seek help for the family, saying they’ve been dealing with mould in their unit and it has taken too long to fix.

“I see my mom go through a struggle everyday; with three kids, it’s not easy,” says 16-year-old Desmond Adeniyi.

He setup a GoFundMe page to help the family raise money to move out. After gaining online attention and the story, which originally aired CTV News Ottawa on Tuesday, they have been able to raise over $30,000.

“Yes! I was surprised, a big surprise!” says Nofisat Adeniyi, “We are free from the mess that we’ve been going through.”

The family was so touched, they decided to pay it forward and donated $5,000 to another family in need, “A lady my son told me about,” says Nofisat Adeniyi.

The recipient wants to remain anonymous, but when she found out from Adeniyi, “She was crying, she has three kids; I remember when I was, I can feel what she’s feeling – because I was once in those shoes.”

CTV News Ottawa did reach out to the property management company for an update on the mould. In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for COGIR Realty wrote:

“We respect the privacy of our residents and are unable to disclose any specific information regarding any of our residents. We can, however, let you know that we are working with the residents and are making every effort to resolve this matter as soon as possible,” said Cogir Real Estate

The giving did not stop at just cash donations. “When I saw the segment, the thing that struck me the most was how easily the situation can be resolved,” says mould removal expert Charlie Leduc with Mold Busters in Ottawa.

Leduc is not involved in the case, but appeared in the original story, and after seeing the mould on TV wanted to help.

“This isn’t something that we typically do, but given the circumstance and given the fact that this has gone on way too long, our company is willing to go in and do this work for free,” said Leduc.

The Adeniyi family may now have some options, and are grateful to the community for the support.

“Yes, It’s great news — you can see me smiling,” says Nofisat.

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