Coinbase Must Give IRS Some Customer Records, Court Rules

News | November 30, 2017 By:

A US federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that Coinbase must give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records on users who had more than $20,000 in annual transactions on the platform between 2013 and 2015. More than 14,000 customers fall in that category.

Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, has been locked in a war with the IRS over customer records. The government agency has maintained that many are avoiding capital gains on trading, while Coinbase cites the right to privacy and government over-reach in its requests.

Coinbase is calling the ruling  a “partial victory.” citing that requests for complete records on all customers were narrowed to a smaller segment.

The court documents contend, “Coinbase itself admits that the Narrowed Summons requests information regarding 8.9 million Coinbase transactions and 14,355 Coinbase account holders. That only 800 to 900 taxpayers reported gains related to bitcoin in each of the relevant years and that more than 14,000 Coinbase users have either bought, sold, sent or received at least $20,000 worth of bitcoin in a given year suggests that many Coinbase users may not be reporting their bitcoin gains.”

The IRS originally requested user data that included complete profiles, documents regarding third-party access, transaction logs, and records of payments processed, as well as correspondence between Coinbase and Coinbase users, account or invoice statements and records of payments.

The court ruled that the IRS can only receive taxpayer ID numbers, names, date of birth, addresses, transaction logs and account statements. Any other information was deemed “not necessary” to any ongoing investigation.