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Technology IRS Says ‘Dozens’ of New Crypto, Cybercriminals Are Identified

21:55  08 november  2019
21:55  08 november  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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(Bloomberg) -- The IRS’s criminal division identified “dozens” of potential cryptocurrency tax evaders or cybercriminals after a meeting this week with tax authorities from four other countries.

Cryptocurrency mining rigs operate in a cargo container at the Golden Fleece cryptocurrency mining company in Kutaisi, Georgia, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. Golden Fleece uses a cargo container with Chinese-built computers inside a dilapidated Soviet-era tractor factory to extract cryptocurrencies using low-cost electricity generated by water flowing from the nearby Caucasus Mountains.© Bloomberg Cryptocurrency mining rigs operate in a cargo container at the Golden Fleece cryptocurrency mining company in Kutaisi, Georgia, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. Golden Fleece uses a cargo container with Chinese-built computers inside a dilapidated Soviet-era tractor factory to extract cryptocurrencies using low-cost electricity generated by water flowing from the nearby Caucasus Mountains.

Officials from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and the Netherlands -- known as the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement -- shared data, tools and tax enforcement strategies to find new leads in a quest to mitigate cross-border money-laundering, tax evasion and cybercrime.

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The IRS’s cybercrime unit has developed expertise in “who is moving the money and where it’s going,” Ryan Korner, a senior special agent in the IRS’s Criminal Investigations office in Los Angeles, said in a call with reporters Friday. “We have tools in place that we didn’t have six months or a year ago.”

The effort is part of the Internal Revenue Service’s renewed focus on fighting tax evasion tied to cryptocurrency as digital currency has become more popular and gained in value. The agency has struggled in recent years to enforce tax laws and keep up with criminals as technology has advanced.

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  Bitcoin Bulls Take to Twitter for Reassurance After Crypto Crash As Bitcoin prices took a plunge this week, crypto evangelists were quick to take to Twitter to soothe frayed nerves and expound on why the drop is nothing to be concerned about. The swiftness of the declines took many by surprise and dozens of tweets were quickly dispatched in support of the nascent and highly volatile market. There’s no reason to panic, they said. Buy now and see it go to $50,000, they said. The worst thing you can do is miss the next wave, they said.But this week’s price swings were not for the faint of heart. The average daily change for Bitcoin over the past week is more than 4.

“Tax fraud is not a new crime, but the sophistication with which criminals commit tax fraud has significantly increased through cyber-related activities in recent years,” the joint chiefs said in a statement. “Data breaches, intrusions, takeovers and compromises are the new tools that criminals use to commit tax crimes.”

Cyber Audits

The IRS is preparing for a new wave of cryptocurrency audits. The agency sent letters to more than 10,000 people earlier this year, warning that they might be subject to penalties for skirting taxes on their virtual investments.

The IRS and its partners are using data from previous enforcement activities to find new criminals, Korner said. Using the data from the five countries gives them a broader view of how accounts, money and people are connected.

“That data doesn’t go and sit. We use that data,” Korner said.

The IRS released guidance last month telling virtual currency investors and their tax advisers how the agency expects them to report income from their holdings. The guidance is the first since 2014 and comes as tax auditors are increasingly focusing on examining individuals with cryptocurrency investments.

Until the recent guidance, investors and their tax advisers had to make educated guesses about how to report income and pay taxes from virtual-currency transactions. Some taxpayers didn’t report their transactions at all.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, Gregory Mott

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Crypto Commerce Jumps 65% as Tether’s Use Takes Off This Year .
After being given up for dead, cryptocurrency-based commerce -- albeit still tiny -- has started growing again. The amount of digital money sent to 16 merchant service providers such as BitPay rose 65% between January and July, according to data researcher Chainalysis. The price of Bitcoin, which accounted for 89% of all such transactions, had more than doubled over the seven months, to about $10,000. Typically, steep run-ups in the cryptocurrency’s price push people to spend less, and instead to hold or to speculate.

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