The IRS is going after crypto tax avoiders

Posted: 9 February 2018 4:10 pm

The point of conversion from digital currency to fiat currency is the primary focus for the tax agency.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will establish a taskforce of investigators to track offenders with undeclared U.S. assets, including tax evaders who utilize cryptocurrencies to avoid making necessary contributions.

The United States’ tax office said that the anonymity associated with virtual currencies is an appealing prospect for many international tax dodgers, according to Bloomberg.

Although the IRS has yet to charge anyone with crypto-related tax fraud, IRS Criminal Investigation Division chief Don Fort said that the agency is in the process of building cases against known lawbreakers.

At this time, the point of conversion from digital currency to fiat currency is the primary focus for the IRS.

“It’s possible to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the same fashion as foreign bank accounts to facilitate tax evasion,” Fort said. “We know that you want to get your money out at some point.”

The IRS taskforce will also examine unlicensed exchanges located in the United States and abroad.

The Criminal Investigation Division has been following the development of cryptocurrencies since early 2014, when the IRS issued guidance for the evaluation of virtual currencies, considered assets for tax purposes.

Despite instructions, only 802 people actually filed personal cryptocurrency tax gains or losses in 2015.

Earlier this year, the IRS issued a court order requesting access to the records of more than 500,000 users who traded cryptocurrencies on California-based digital exchange Coinbase. However, their attempts were blocked during legal proceedings and reduced to just 14,000 users that engaged in trading activity over $20,000.

The South Korean government will reportedly begin enforcing corporate tax legislation on local cryptocurrency exchanges from the end of March 2018, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

Coinbase has headquarters in San Francisco, operates in most US states, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe, and is estimated to provide trading services for around 13.3 million users worldwide.

Earlier this month, Coinbase warned customers that, due to recent changes to the Merchant Category Code (MCC), credit card companies are now able to charge additional “cash advance” fees on crypto purchases.

The digital exchange also distributed end of year tax documents via email to a number of its customers in the U.S. to assist with voluntary taxation compliance. This includes traders that have engaged in 200+ virtual currency sale transactions whose total value is equal to or greater than $20,000 in a calendar year.

How to calculate taxes on your crypto profits

You would have received a form on or before January 31 if your exchange account is operated for business use or your GDAX sale volumes exceed the applicable thresholds. GDAX is Coinbase’s digital exchange. For these users, a single “sale transaction” is effected each time you execute a virtual currency sale order on GDAX.

It’s important to understand your income tax bracket in order to file your tax return online quickly and easily.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Latest cryptocurrency news

Picture: Shutterstock

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site