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IRS Seeks Transaction Records of All Coinbase Users Over Two Years

IRS has targeted the transaction records of Coinbase users in a case brought forth in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, as ZeroHedge tweeted late November 17. 



The John Doe summons (a summons issued to a person whose name is unknown at the time of service) , relates to numerous persons who might “failed to comply with provisions of the internal revenue laws.” The summons acknowledges that the identity of the persons whose information has been summoned is “not readily available from sources other than Coinbase.”

The summons seeks information “regarding United States persons who, at any time during the period of January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2015 conducted transactions in a convertible digital currency as defined in IRS Notice 2014-2021.” It’s a testament to how Bitcoin businesses can serve as a valuable point-of-information for the Bitcoin digital currency created in 2008 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. 

The US Internal Revenue Service inspector general (IG) warned that the agency needs to overhaul its strategy for bitcoin and other digital currencies.

A report laments how US tax officials have failed to create a cohesive strategy to tax Bitcoin as property in the two-and-a-half years since it decided to do so. The report cites Bitcoin’s lack of control for third-party tools to report transactions.

The IG stated:

“The IRS needs to ensure that it develops a strategic plan that includes management oversight as well as adequate internal controls for its virtual currency programs. Until a comprehensive virtual currency strategy is developed, the IRS is open to the risk that undetected noncompliance of virtual currency taxable transactions will result in an increase to the Tax Gap.”

“Due to the potential complexity of reporting otherwise simple retail purchase transactions related to virtual currencies, further guidance is needed to help taxpayers voluntarily comply with their tax obligations,” the IG said.

The case has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who presides over civil cases and has served as a settlement judge in nearly every type of federal litigation. Prior to her 2011 appointment to Court, Judge Corley was a partner at Kerr & Wagstaffe, LLP in San Francisco specializing in federal practice where she served many types of clients including government entities.

Since Coinbase did not add other crypto-currencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin, until 2016, the IRS summons will pertain specifically to Bitcoin users.

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