The Internal Revenue Service is ramping up its purported fighting of international cyber crime — a move that has extended to the US tax watchdog’s oversight into cryptocurrencies.
The IRS’ move came via a pilot set up by the agency to amp up its oversight of “tax and financial crimes that use cryptocurrency, decentralized finance, peer-to-peer payments and mixing services.” The initiative involves the US agency sending multiple attachés to different countries for investigative purposes.
The program officially starts in June, with IRS attachés primed to deploy to Germany, Colombia, Australia and Singapore.
The positions, however, are not permanent – attachés will end their detail in September.
“This summer, four of our most-skilled special agents will deploy to strategic locations on four continents to ensure that we can continue to build relationships and effectively combat cybercrime on a global scale,” IRS-CI chief Jim Lee said in a statement.
Aside from tax crimes, the attachés will focus on cryptocurrency, peer-to-peer payments and mixing services financial crimes.
Four agents will be deployed, according to the statement:
Stacey Perez, who specializes in money laundering; Peter Dickerman of the IRS’ Digital Forensics Program; David Strager, tasked with cryptocurrency tax evasion cases; and Cuong Ly, who has experience with crypto exchange fraud.
On US soil, the IRS has warned that crypto crackdowns are coming when it comes to digital assets and perceived tax avoidance measures. A number of the cases the IRS has been linked to have been not made public since Lee highlighted the crackdown in November 2022.
Last year, Lee said that the Criminal Investigations Department seized around $7 billion in crypto.
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The IRS is expected to update tax regulations under Sections 6045 and 6045A — both of which cover the reporting of digital asset information by brokers.
It’s not the first time that the IRS has worked to help countries overseas monitor or crack down on crypto crimes. Earlier this month, the IRS helped to train Ukraine Law Enforcement to track and trace Russian crypto moves.
The move is in partnership with Chainalysis and both will provide donated blockchain analysis tools to the Ukrainian government — the IRS-CI donated 15 licenses for Chainalysis Reactor while 20 investigators in Ukraine received in-depth training on crypto and blockchain tracing.
As countries across the world look to crack down on regulations and laws surrounding cryptocurrencies, politicians and top regulators — including the International Monetary Fund — have called on countries to unite in order to regulate crypto.