Kraken Fights IRS Over Customer Information

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Kraken, the popular crypto exchange, is contesting the United States Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) demand for critical exchange user information, citing it as an “unjustified treasure hunt.” According to Bloomberg, the crypto exchange has requested federal court intervention in San Francisco to ask the IRS to back off from its demand for customer information.

Kraken’s pushback against the IRS comes in response to the agency’s February summons, which demanded additional user information to identify Kraken accounts that did at least $20,000 of cryptocurrency trading in any single year between 2016 and 2020. The exchange claims that the IRS has gone “far beyond” its intrusive summons, and its demands for customer information are not justified.

Kraken’s request for federal court intervention cited Coinbase’s case from 2017, where the tax agency scaled back its initial demand after Coinbase’s continuous refusal. In the Coinbase case, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley decided that the summons sent to more than 14,000 customers of the exchange wasn’t too intrusive because the IRS had a valid reason to look into taxpayers who might not be disclosing their Bitcoin (BTC) gains.

Kraken’s lawyers claimed that the IRS has gone “far beyond” the rules set by Judge Corley in the Coinbase case. Kraken joined Coinbase in its efforts to push back against growing regulatory scrutiny by American regulators. Coinbase is currently fighting its own battle against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over offering crypto staking services.

The SEC alleged that staking services offered by Kraken, Coinbase, and other platforms violate securities law. While Coinbase settled with the SEC for $30 million for offering staking services, it has decided to head to court for its IRS battle.

The growing regulatory scrutiny has become a growing concern for crypto companies in the U.S. The likes of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstong and USD Coin issuer Circle CEO Jeramy Allaire have warned that the growing pushback from regulatory bodies will force budding crypto companies to move offshore.

In conclusion, Kraken is fighting against the IRS’s demand for customer information, citing it as an “unjustified treasure hunt.” The exchange has requested federal court intervention, pointing out that the IRS has gone “far beyond” its intrusive summons. With growing regulatory scrutiny, Kraken and Coinbase’s pushback against American regulators could become a growing trend in the crypto industry, with more companies moving offshore to avoid regulatory barriers.

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