Operation Hidden Treasure: Cryptocurrency and the IRS
Cryptocurrency has become an incredibly popular way to invest, but the tax side of this virtual coin can be difficult to navigate. The IRS vacillated its stance on cryptocurrency, throughout the years, making it confusing even for the most diligent investors.
In March of 2021, the IRS announced Operation Hidden Treasure, this initiative is “focused on taxpayers who omit cryptocurrency income from their tax returns” (Forbes). If you’ve bought and/or sold cryptocurrency recently, it’s important to declare your crypto correctly on your tax forms to avoid fraud and evasion charges.
Before we jump into it, if you know you owe IRS back taxes on your crypto gains, it’s important to reach out to a tax resolution firm like ours who is skilled in negotiating back tax debt with the IRS. We can help you file amended returns and get you back in compliance, while potentially negotiating with the IRS on your behalf. Contact us today for a consultation.
What Is Operation Hidden Treasure?
Operation Hidden Treasure is a joint effort by the IRS Civil Office of Fraud Enforcement and its Criminal Investigation Unit. This operation is designed to search for unreported income from cryptocurrency.
Operation Hidden Treasure has trained agents to examine blockchain to find signs of tax evasion (Blockchain is the digital ledger that tracks your cryptocurrency mining and transactions). The signs that IRS agents look for are marked as signatures that make it easier to detect further fraudulent activity.
Crypto users have found ways to skirt reporting requirements by sending multiple transactions under a certain dollar amount, or pouring their virtual currency into shell corporations, different countries, and cold storage. The IRS is also collaborating with European law enforcement agencies to tackle international fraud.
How To Protect Your Assets
The IRS considers virtual currency to be property akin to gold, rather than money, and is taxed accordingly. If your only crypto transaction this year was purchasing crypto with US dollars, then that does not need to be reported, according to the IRS FAQ on their website. However, if you sold your crypto or traded your crypto for any goods or services, then that does need to be reported.
The key takeaway here is, keep good records of your trades.
When you sell your crypto, keep track of its value when you purchased it, and its value when you sold it. While crypto and the IRS can both be murky subjects, your transparency is the key to protecting your financial assets from future tax audits.
To get ready for the upcoming tax season, it’s important to get your portfolio organized. If you have bought, sold, or traded crypto in the past year, contact a tax lawyer or a tax resolution firm like ours for advice on how to report your cryptocurrency transactions.
Need Tax Relief?
If you do get in trouble with the IRS and they claim you owe $10,000 or more, reach out to our tax resolution firm and we’ll schedule a free, no-obligation confidential consultation to explain your options in full to permanently resolve your tax problem.