Coinbase Inc., a virtual currency exchange platform, was recently ordered by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with 2013-2015 transaction data for thousands of Coinbase accounts. See United States v. Coinbase Inc., et al., No. 17-CV-01431-JSC, 2017 WL 5890052, (N.D. Cal. Nov. 28, 2017). The IRS, citing references to 5.9 million customers and more than $6 billion of bitcoin transactions on Coinbase’s website, identified a potential reporting gap, since only 800-900 taxpayers have identified bitcoin transactions on their tax returns in the past few years. (Coinbase’s website currently references 10 million customers and $50 billion in transactions.) Although the IRS narrowed the scope of the third-party record keeper summons it had originally issued to Coinbase under Code Sections 7602, 7603 and 7609 (aka, a “John Doe Summons”), the parties could not reach agreement on what was to be produced, and the government initiated enforcement proceedings earlier this year. (more…)
Treasury Releases Report on Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens
On October 2, 2017, the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) submitted a report (Report) to the President of the United States recommending the withdrawal, revocation or revision of eight Treasury Regulations in order to eliminate or otherwise mitigate the “burdens imposed on taxpayers.” This action springs from Executive Order 13789 issued by the President on April 21, 2017, calling on Treasury to identify and reduce tax regulatory burdens that impose undue financial burdens on US taxpayers or otherwise add undue complexity to federal tax laws.
The Report is largely consistent with Treasury’s interim report dated June 22, 2017, but sets forth in greater detail the specific actions recommended by Treasury. However, the Report also stated that Treasury is considering possible reforms of several recent regulations not identified in its interim report, such as regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 871(m) (relating to payments treated as US source dividends) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. The Report also states that Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have initiated a comprehensive review of all regulations—regardless of when they were issued—that is coordinated by the Treasury Regulatory Reform Task Force and is a furtherance of executive orders adopting a PAYGO approach to regulations. (more…)