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IRS wants tech giants to report users' cryptocurrency-related activities: Report

IRS by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Thu, 11 Jul 2019, 03:57 am UTC

The United States’ Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is reportedly considering to require tech giants to report their users’ crypto-related activities, according to an IRS presentation shared by a Twitter user.

As per the documents shared, the IRS is seeking to use Grand Jury subpoenas on firms including Apple, Google, and Microsoft to monitor the download history of crypto-related applications of taxpayers.

The identity behind the Twitter handle @CryptoTaxGirl, who shared the presentation that was intended for IRS agents in the Criminal Investigation Department, has been revealed. Laura Walter is known to be a certified public accountant and a cryptocurrency tax expert.

Citing the document, Walter believes that the tax authority is carrying out comprehensive research into detection of criminal tax evasion cases including cryptocurrencies. As such, the taxman is planning to conduct interviews, open-source and social media searches, and electronic surveillance to crack down these tax evaders.

Issuance of a Grand Jury Subpoena should be considered for Apple, Google, and Microsoft for the subject’s complete application download history. Each application’s function should be explored to determine whether or not the application can transmit, or otherwise allow, transactions in bitcoin,” a segment of the 181-page document stated.

In addition, the IRS is reportedly planning to serve the subpoenas to specific companies to check users’ bank account and PayPal data that has connections with cryptocurrency transactions. The tax agency is also seeking ways to investigate social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to find and record publicly available cryptocurrency addresses.

Laura underscored that the presentation was not meant to be shared to the public as notifying taxpayers about the obtainment of cryptocurrency-related data can be detrimental to the investigation process.

There is a ton of other information in there about crypto in general, tracing transactions via the blockchain, limitations of the blockchain, etc. but what you need to know is that the IRS is working HARD to identify criminal tax cases involving cryptocurrency,” Laura concluded in a tweet.

Citing James Daniel, cyber-crime analyst manager at the IRS-CI, Tron Weekly Journal stated that the presentation aims to provide IRS agents a guideline for investigating and identifying people who hold or trade cryptocurrencies. The strict actions reportedly came after a growing number of cryptocurrency-related tax evasion cases have erupted.

Meanwhile, the leak follows after reports have surfaced that the IRS is planning to update its current 2014 guidance on bitcoin tax in the coming weeks.

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