Holding such ETFs in registered accounts can either entirely offset or reduce capital gains tax liabilities for Canadian customers.
On Thursday, Fidelity Canada officially launched the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) and the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF Fund (mutual fund), marking the first such assets to be made available in the country and confirming earlier reports on the matter. The funds have the tickers FBTC and FBTC.U, denominated in Canadian and United States dollars, and are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Fidelity’s Bitcoin ETFs seek to track the performance of Bitcoin’s (BTC) spot price. Fidelity currently manages CA$208 billion ($162.27 billion) in assets in the country.
The ETFs will have an annual management fee of 0.4%. Operating expenses and trading costs are not yet available as the assets are still new. Over 98% of Bitcoin purchased by the funds is stored in cold wallets.
The implications are significant for Canadian retail investors who open government-registered accounts, such as the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and purchase Bitcoin ETFs. As the name implies, securities held in a TFSA are exempt from capital gains tax liabilities.
Since 2009, the annual contribution limit for a TFSA has ranged from CA$5,000 ($3,903) to CA$10,000 ($7,807). Unused contributions from the previous years are carried forward, making them cumulative. In addition, all realized profits accrued in the TFSA are added back into the contribution room. Hypothetically, if an investor purchases $10,000 in a Bitcoin ETF and sells them for $20,000, then further capital appreciation from reinvesting the full $20,000, not $10,000, will be eligible for capital gains tax-exemption.