Kraken has been ordered to provide information on its users who conducted the equivalent of $20,000 in crypto transactions in any one year, between 2016 and 2020, to the United States Internal Revenue Service.
A federal court in northern California authorized the IRS to serve a “John Doe summons” on Kraken Wednesday. The exchange is not alleged to have done anything wrong.
The IRS is after the records of an “ascertainable group or class of persons” who may have failed to comply with tax reporting and internal revenue laws.
In addition, the IRS will check if Kraken has been compliant with its record-keeping obligations, such as Know Your Customer rules.
“This John Doe summons is part of our effort to uncover those who are trying to skirt reporting and avoid paying their fair share, ” said IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in the court’s press release.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said:
“Those who transact with cryptocurrency must meet their tax obligations like any other taxpayer.”
A John Doe summons is used by the IRS to get the names and information about all taxpayers from a specified description, such as the “$20,000 and over” class stated in the latest summons.
According to the supporting declaration, the IRS is after information on five different classes of U.S taxpayers. Some of the activities the IRS is looking into include: reporting limited income despite trading crypto between a range of $5 million–$56 million, operating multiple accounts while exchanging fiat currency to digital assets and back to fiat for no apparent economic benefit.
The IRS is also keeping an eye on people who submitted delinquent tax returns in 2017 and 2018 with income more than $2 million each year, with activity consisting of more than $23 million in deposits, and withdrawals at various crypto exchanges.
The road to this latest fishing expedition was reportedly paved by the first John Doe summons on Coinbase in 2016, in which the IRS obtained the information of 13,000 Coinbase customers.
Coinbase has been under scrutiny ever since, and in November 2020, tax lawyers of Coinbase warned customers that it had been tracking an increase in IRS enforcement against users who fail to comply with tax and reporting requirements.
Cointelegraph reported on April 18 that a Massachusetts federal court had entered an order authorizing the IRS to serve a “John Doe summons” on Circle Internet Financial Inc.