Coinbase Ordered to Hand IRS Data on 14,000 Users

A U.S. court has ordered bitcoin exchange Coinbase to disclose details of more than 14,000 customers to the Internal Revenue Service.

Nov 30, 2017 at 4:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:13 a.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been ordered to disclose details of more than 14,000 customers to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Following a lengthy legal battle between the two entities, the San-Francisco district court ruled Tuesday that Coinbase must hand over user accounts at the exchange that bought, sold, sent or received sums of $20,000 and higher between 2013 and 2015.

Coinbase must now provide the tax agency with the name, address, taxpayer identification numbers and date of birth of customers associated with these accounts, a court filing states.

The dispute over user records has been ongoing since November 2016, with the IRS proposing a reduced summons in July this year – down from an initial 480,000 customer accounts requested.

Back in July, Coinbase argued that the scope of the reduced summons remained too wide, labelling it a "fishing expedition."

As a result, some of the data required has also been reduced from the initial order, which included information such as wallet addresses and public keys.

In a blog post on the ruling, Coinbase claimed a "partial victory" in having this scope reduced.

Legal research and advocacy group Coin Centre has spoken out against the ruling, saying it is "deeply unsatisfied with the lack of justification provided by the IRS" and that the case "sets a bad precedent for financial privacy."

As previously detailed by CoinDesk, the investigation in concerned with locating cases of tax avoidance on transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

In the blog post, Coinbase stated it is in the process of reviewing the order, and assured users:

"In the event that we ultimately produce the documents under this Court order, we intend to notify impacted users in advance of any disclosure."

See the full court filing below:

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

Tax documents image via Shutterstock

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