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IRS Advising Virtual Currency Owners to Pay Back Taxes


August 2, 2019
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The IRS has Begun Sending Letters to Virtual Currency Owners Advising Them to Pay Back Taxes and/or File Amended Returns

In IR-2019-132, July 26, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service has begun sending letters to taxpayers with virtual currency transactions that potentially failed to report income and pay the resulting tax from virtual currency transactions or did not report their transactions properly.

IRS Advising Virtual Currency Owners to Pay Back Taxes

“Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously by reviewing their tax filings and when appropriate, amend past returns and pay back taxes, interest and penalties,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS is expanding our efforts involving virtual currency, including increased use of data analytics. We are focused on enforcing the law and helping taxpayers fully understand and meet their obligations.”

The IRS started sending the “educational letters” to taxpayers last week. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers will receive these letters.

For taxpayers receiving an educational letter, its purpose is to help taxpayers understand their tax and filing obligations and how to correct past errors.

Last year, the IRS announced a Virtual Currency Compliance campaign to address tax noncompliance related to the use of virtual currency through outreach and examinations of taxpayers. The IRS will remain actively engaged in addressing non-compliance related to virtual currency transactions through a variety of efforts, ranging from taxpayer education to audits to criminal investigations.

Virtual currency is an ongoing focus area for IRS Criminal Investigation

IRS Notice 2014-21 states that virtual currency is property for federal tax purposes and provides guidance on how general federal tax principles apply to virtual currency transactions. Compliance efforts follow these general tax principles. The IRS will continue to consider and solicit taxpayer and practitioner feedback in education efforts and future guidance.

The IRS anticipates issuing additional legal guidance in this area in the near future.

Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions are, when appropriate, liable for tax, penalties and interest. In some cases, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Frank Brunetti, at 201-806-3364.