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Can the IRS Trace Cryptocurrency Transactions 2023?

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Can the IRS Trace Cryptocurrency Transactions 2023?

So, you’re diving into the world of cryptocurrencies and wondering about crypto accounting or if the IRS can keep tabs on your transactions. Well, let’s find out. In this guide, we delve into the IRS’s expertise in tracing Bitcoin transactions and monitoring various cryptocurrencies. We provide insights on how the IRS effectively tracks cryptocurrencies, pinpoint exchanges that adhere to IRS reporting regulations, and shed light on exchanges that currently do not comply with such requirements.

Can the IRS track Bitcoin?

Yes, the IRS can trace Bitcoin transactions without a doubt. Here’s what you should know:

  • Each Bitcoin transaction is recorded on a transparent and publicly accessible ledger known as the blockchain
  • This means that anyone, including the IRS, can review these records.
  • Major cryptocurrency exchanges collaborate with the IRS and provide them with customer information, such as wallet addresses and personal identification.
  • The IRS even employs specialized agents who possess the skills to connect wallet addresses with specific individuals.

What is the traceability aspect of cryptocurrency?

Although cryptocurrencies may give off the impression of being anonymous, crypto accounting does not guarantee complete anonymity. Every transaction made with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is recorded on a publicly accessible ledger called the blockchain. Therefore, these transactions are visible to anyone who wishes to see them.

Notably, government bodies such as the IRS and the FBI can link wallet addresses to individuals by cooperating with crypto exchanges that acquire and exchange customer information. Even though cryptocurrencies do provide a certain level of anonymity, the inherent transparency of technology for blockchain accounting allows for traceability to some extent.

How does the IRS monitor the crypto movement?

Did you know that the IRS has been collecting more data about crypto transactions? Yeah, they even got a big budget increase in 2022 to crack down on tax evasion. And guess what? They’re hiring over 87,000 agents to focus specifically on crypto.

Now, all the major crypto exchanges must do these Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks on their customers. It used to be simple, just asking for basic info like your name and address. But now, they’re even asking for:

  • biometric identification
  • short videos of yourself
  • pictures with your ID

They want to know everything about you, from banking to employment details.

But accounting crypto tax doesn’t stop there. The exchanges can also see the crypto addresses where you withdraw funds, meaning they can track your custodial wallets. So, they’ll know if you’re using a wallet like Meta Mask.

And get this, there’s even new guidance from the IRS coming in 2023. They want crypto brokers to issue Form 1099-DA to users and the IRS. This could start as soon as 2025. So, be prepared for some serious scrutiny if you’re into cryptocurrency and using exchanges or wallets. The IRS is stepping up its game to ensure tax compliance in the crypto world.




Do crypto exchanges need to report to the IRS?

Indeed, several prominent cryptocurrency exchanges have committed to reporting user data to the IRS. In 2016, the IRS obtained a court order known as a John Doe summons against Coinbase, compelling the exchange to provide user data. Following this, the IRS has pursued similar actions against Kraken and Poloniex.

In 2023, the IRS once again sought court approval to gather information from Kraken. Consequently, Kraken will share data from over 42,000 users with the IRS in November, potentially resulting in audits for some of those individuals.

Given the IRS’s success with these court orders and the regulatory requirements placed upon crypto exchanges, many exchanges are cooperating with the IRS to avoid any entanglements.

Furthermore, the IRS initiated a program called Operation Hidden Treasure in March 2021. This collaborative effort between the IRS and the fraud enforcement office aims to uncover individuals who utilize cryptocurrencies to evade taxes. A team dedicated to understanding the intricacies of crypto and tracking it effectively underscores the IRS’s strong commitment to combatting tax evasion in the crypto sphere.

Which crypto exchanges have a reporting obligation to the IRS?

Determining the exact number and specific crypto exchanges reporting to the IRS is challenging due to the preference of many exchanges to not openly disclose this information, as anonymity is a fundamental principle of cryptocurrency.

Nevertheless, numerous crypto exchanges have taken steps to foster a positive relationship with the IRS and are now issuing 1099 forms to their users. These forms serve as records of individuals’ income for crypto tax purposes, and the IRS receives a copy alongside the recipient.

Prominent crypto exchanges that presently send out 1099 forms include Coinbase, Binance US, Gemini, Kraken, among others. Proposed revisions to cryptocurrency tax laws will mandate that all US-based crypto exchanges report to the IRS using a newly introduced form called 1099-DA. This requirement extends to decentralized exchanges as well.

When are crypto exchanges required to report to the IRS?

Typically, the taxpayer and the IRS receive 1099 forms in January or February of the following year concerning the previous tax year. However, the IRS is presently engaged in investigating various cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance. As a result, it is uncertain when or if these exchanges will provide the IRS with their data.

Which crypto exchanges transactions are hidden from the IRS?

Be cautious of certain crypto exchanges that disregard the need for issuing 1099 forms or obtaining your KYC data. While it may be tempting, it’s important to exercise restraint. These exchanges typically come with transaction limits and are restricted from operating in jurisdictions such as the US.

As a result, they can potentially freeze your account, leaving you without access to your funds. Keep in mind that reputable exchanges follow regulations by collecting your data for IRS reporting. While not flawless, this slight inconvenience is a reasonable tradeoff to secure your assets on compliant platforms.

Can I connect to a wallet address?

Non-custodial wallets, a growing trend among users, may not offer the expected level of anonymity. Even if you refrain from sharing personal information, there are still ways to connect you to your wallet address. For instance, linking a credit or debit card to some wallets allows you to buy cryptocurrency, establishing a direct link between your bank account and wallet. As banks are obligated to disclose this information to authorities, your wallet’s anonymity is compromised. Furthermore, if you transfer crypto between your non-custodial wallet and a centralized exchange that shares data with the IRS, your wallet address may be exposed to Cryptocurrency.

Moreover, your wallet might collect more data than you realize. MetaMask, for example, recently updated its privacy policy, tracking users’ IP and Ethereum addresses during transactions. Although it remains uncertain whether this information is currently shared with external parties, it is a possibility in the future.

Lastly, certain online wallets could be categorized as crypto brokers by the IRS, necessitating the collection of customer data and the issuance of tax forms for reporting user transactions.

Maintaining complete anonymity as a crypto investor has become exceedingly challenging, regardless of the exchange, wallet, or blockchain employed. It is advisable to accurately report all crypto transactions and fulfill any tax obligations to avoid potential penalties.

What should I report to the IRS about my crypto?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires comprehensive information regarding your cryptocurrency assets, including the timing of purchases and sales, as well as the profits made. These details must be reported on various tax forms, along with any earnings derived from your crypto investments. The reporting deadline for such information is April 15th annually. However, there’s no need to fret, as we provide an inclusive guide to assist you in navigating this process seamlessly Cryptocurrency.

How does the IRS validate the cost basis?

Considering adjusting your cost basis to minimize your tax liabilities? I strongly advise against it. Engaging in such practices amounts to tax evasion, a serious offense that the IRS actively pursues. Even if they may not immediately detect fraudulent activities on a single tax return, they diligently scrutinize your cost basis over multiple years to identify any inconsistencies Cryptocurrency.

Discovering any discrepancies would lead to an audit, Cryptocurrency a process the IRS doesn’t hesitate to initiate. Although the standard audit window lasts three years, if you have overestimated your cost basis by 25% or more, the IRS can pursue you for up to six years. To avoid unnecessary troubles with the tax authorities, it’s best to play it safe and refrain from tampering with your cost basis.

What should I do if I fail to disclose cryptocurrency on my tax filings Cryptocurrency?

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you happened to overlook or perhaps deliberately chose to “overlook” reporting your cryptocurrency earnings on your tax returns. Well, here’s a word of caution: the IRS reserves the right to conduct audits for tax fraud as far back as they desire. That’s quite unnerving!

However, fret not! You have a couple of options to avoid the harsh penalties associated with evading crypto taxes. The most advisable course of action is to amend your tax returns for the years in question, wherein you neglected to report your cryptocurrency earnings. You have up to three years from the date of your original filing to accomplish this. The IRS tends to show more leniency if you take the initiative to rectify your tax discrepancies.

To amend your tax returns, simply complete IRS Form 1040X. There’s no need to revamp your entire crypto tax reporting; you only need to provide the missing information.

Now, if by any chance you purposefully omitted to report your crypto earnings altogether, you’ll be interested to know that the IRS has recently updated Form 14457. This revised crypto tax form boasts a section specially designated for reporting virtual currency. Consider this form as your opportunity for voluntary disclosure, where you confess to the IRS about the previous non-disclosure. By submitting this form, you consent to collaborate with the IRS and settle the taxes you owe.

Thus, the crucial takeaway here is to adopt a proactive stance and mend any errors or omissions on your tax returns. Trust me, it’ll save you significant trouble in the future!

How Koinly’s crypto tax calculator can assist you Cryptocurrency?

You know what’s a hassle? Crypto taxes. That’s why the Koinly crypto tax calculator is created. It’s super easy to use and takes no time at all to get your crypto taxes sorted. Plus, it helps you stay on the right side of the tax man.

Just connect your crypto exchanges, wallets, and blockchains to crypto tax software Koinly (we support a bunch of them!). Use an API or import a CSV file with your transaction history. Once that’s done, Koinly will crunch the numbers and figure out your crypto capital gains tax, crypto losses tax, income, expenses, and more. Then, voila! You can download your crypto tax report and be done with it. Of course it’s nowhere near that simple, but you get the point. Due to the numer of assets, blockchains, exchanges, and data that are coming from the blockchain, mostly all of these crypto accounting software platforms cannot actually do this in a simple manner without scrubbing and reviewing your data. Always remember to consult with a crypto accountant, crypto CPA, or crypto tax accountant when reconciling your on-chain transactions.

Koinly has got your back if you’re a US investor! It can effortlessly create a pre-filled Form 8949 and Schedule D, along with a Complete Tax Report specifically for crypto income. Plus, you’ll also find an assortment of tax reports that can be easily used with popular tax apps like TurboTax and TaxAct Cryptocurrency.


Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions about tracking Bitcoin and crypto transactions:

Can the IRS monitor cryptocurrency activity?
Yes, the IRS can monitor cryptocurrencies, including popular ones like Bitcoin and Ether. They do this by gathering KYC information from centralized exchanges.

Can authorities monitor Bitcoin transactions?
Definitely! The government and anyone else can track Bitcoin and its transactions without much trouble. You see, all the transactions get permanently stored on a public ledger that anyone can check. So, if the government can link you to your wallet or transaction, they can easily keep an eye on your Bitcoin activity.

Do you think the IRS will notice if I don’t have a 1099?
Whenever you receive a 1099 form, rest assured that the IRS gets a matching copy. If you choose not to report any transactions associated with that form, the IRS will catch on.