The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reportedly launched an operation to target cryptocurrency investors. Dubbed “Operation Hidden Treasure,” the team consists of agents trained in the field of cryptocurrency and transaction tracking.
- Damon Rowe, Executive Director at the IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement, unveiled “Operation Hidden Treasure” last week at a Federal Bar Association presentation on combating fraud, Forbes reported. The long-time veteran of the IRS Criminal Investigation division explained that the office has put together a dedicated team of IRS criminal investigation professionals to work on this operation.
- A partnership between the civil office of fraud enforcement and the criminal investigation unit, Operation Hidden Treasure aims to “root out tax evasion from cryptocurrency owners,” the publication conveyed.
- The team working on Operation Hidden Treasure comprised agents who are trained in the area of cryptocurrency and crypto transaction tracking. They are focused on taxpayers who omit cryptocurrency income from their tax returns.
- Carolyn Schenck, the National Fraud Counsel and Assistance Division Counsel for the IRS’ Office of Cheif Counsel, described Operation Hidden Treasure as “all about finding, tracing, and attributing crypto to U.S. taxpayers.”
- Schenck detailed that the IRS is working with specialists to identify and investigate various “tax evasion signatures.” These signatures may include “structuring,” where transactions are set up in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid certain tax reporting requirements. It also includes the use of nominees, shell corporations, “or getting on and off the chain.”
- The IRS and these specialists analyze “blockchain and de-anonymizing [cryptocurrency] transactions,” the publication noted, in order to “track, find, and work to seize crypto in both a civil and a criminal setting.”
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