IRS Effort to Access Coinbase Records Could Take Months

Digital currency exchange Coinbase says it’s planning to fight a government effort to acquire information about its users.

AccessTimeIconNov 22, 2016 at 8:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:37 p.m. UTC
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An effort by the US Internal Revenue Service to obtain user records from digital currency exchange Coinbase may take months to resolve.

The IRS filed a petition last week in federal court, seeking court approval to subpoena data on customers who bought or sold bitcoin from Coinbase during the period between December 2013 and December 2015.

indicate that no significant action is expected until mid-February. An initial case management conference has been scheduled for 16th February in San Francisco, with 26th January being the last day the two sides could meet to hammer out a possible early settlement. A case docket can be found here.

When reached for comment, Coinbase said that it did not yet have a firm date on which it plans to formally contest the petition in court. The startup said last week that it would fight the petition, stating at the time:

“Our customers’ privacy rights are important to us and our legal team is in the process of examining the government's petition. In its current form, we will oppose the government’s petition in court. We will continue to keep our customers informed on developments in this matter.”

The controversial move by the IRS came days after it published a report from its inspector general which cast a critical eye on the agency’s digital currency strategy. Short of creating a “comprehensive strategy” for the tech, the IG report argued that the IRS risked catching taxpayer violations.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

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