Coinbase officially entered the fray in a court case over its user records earlier this month – and now the IRS is fighting back.
In a 25th January court filing, lawyers for the US government argued that the San Francisco-based startup has no standing to intervene in the so-called "John Doe" summons case, through which the IRS is seeking bitcoin user records in a bid to identify potential tax cheats.
The case, which saw Coinbase customer Jeff Berns file his own intervention effort late last year, has drawn harsh criticism from digital currency advocates amid accusations of overreach.
Yet in its filing, the US tax agency is arguing that Coinbase doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, citing the powers granted to it by Congress as part of its tax investigations.
The filing reads:
More specifically, government lawyers argued in their filing that the kind of case it filed in California would, in its view, preclude either Coinbase or Berns from attempting to intervene.
"The proceeding before the district court is ex parte, and the district court makes its determination whether the statutory requirements have been satisfied solely on the basis of the government’s petition and its supporting affidavits," the lawyers wrote.
Coinbase declined to comment when reached.
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The full court filing can be found below:
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