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Kraken Pushes Back Against IRS Data Requests in San Francisco Court

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IRS Data
IRS Data

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Kraken, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, has taken legal action against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over a set of demands related to its customer data. The company filed a petition on May 5th in the Northern District of California, seeking an order to stop the IRS from obtaining customer data without proper authorization.

The IRS had initially sent a “John Doe” summons to Kraken in 2019, which demanded that the exchange provide information on all of its US customers who conducted transactions of $20,000 or more between 2016 and 2020. Kraken refused to comply with the summons, stating that the request was overbroad and would infringe on the privacy of its customers.

In its petition, Kraken argued that the IRS’s demands were not only overbroad, but also lacked proper authorization. The company claimed that the IRS had not followed the correct procedures in issuing the summons and that it was conducting an “unjustified treasure hunt” for information.

The company further alleged that the IRS’s actions were motivated by a desire to obtain information on all cryptocurrency users, rather than just those who were suspected of tax evasion. Kraken argued that the IRS’s request was an abuse of power and could set a dangerous precedent for the cryptocurrency industry.

Kraken’s petition stated that the company had been working with the IRS in good faith to provide relevant information, but that the agency’s demands had become excessive. The company also claimed that the IRS’s actions had caused harm to its reputation, as customers had become concerned about the security of their data.

The case is expected to have far-reaching implications for the cryptocurrency industry, as it could set a precedent for how the IRS and other government agencies can access customer data from cryptocurrency exchanges. The outcome of the case will be closely watched by other exchanges, as well as cryptocurrency users who value their privacy.

Kraken is not the only cryptocurrency exchange to have been targeted by the IRS. The agency has also issued summonses to other exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, in an effort to crack down on tax evasion in the cryptocurrency industry.

However, the IRS’s efforts have been met with resistance from the cryptocurrency industry, which has argued that the agency’s demands are overly broad and violate the privacy of users. Some have even argued that the IRS’s actions could drive cryptocurrency users away from regulated exchanges and towards more anonymous forms of trading.

The case also comes at a time when the US government is considering new regulations for the cryptocurrency industry. The Biden administration has proposed new requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges to report transactions of $10,000 or more to the IRS, a move that has been criticized by industry experts and privacy advocates.

Overall, the legal battle between Kraken and the IRS highlights the ongoing tension between the cryptocurrency industry and government regulators. While regulators are keen to crack down on tax evasion and other illegal activities in the industry, cryptocurrency advocates are equally determined to protect the privacy of their users.

The outcome of the case will be closely watched by both sides, as it could set a precedent for how cryptocurrency exchanges are required to share customer data with government agencies. If Kraken is successful in its petition, it could make it more difficult for the IRS and other government agencies to obtain data from cryptocurrency exchanges without proper authorization. If the IRS prevails, it could set a precedent for more aggressive action against the cryptocurrency industry in the future.

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