This would rank as the funniest article of the week if it weren’t so sad for the individual involved.
We’re all familiar with the IRS Form 1099. That’s the one used to report most income other than regular wages that go on Form W-2. The person paying the income — it could be a bank, broker or any supplier — files a copy of the 1099 with the IRS and sends one to the income recipient. It’s the recipient’s job to report the income on their tax return.
By the way, IRS computers match 100% of the 1099s they receive with what taxpayers put on their tax returns. It’s a kind of computerized audit. Those who don’t report the income may not get a knock on the door, but they will definitely receive an official letter asking the income recipient to explain the discrepancy. Cases just escalate from there.
Coinbase, a major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange (not to be confused with Coincheck, the subject of the story above) just sent a Form 1099 to one of its customers identified only by the initial “K” in this story. K was initially freaked out even to be receiving a 1099 from a crypto exchange.
What happened to the anonymity in the crypto world? Apparently, it doesn’t exist, as I have been warning for years. But when K read the 1099 it got even worse. It showed that he owed $2.4 million in taxes, despite his estimate that he only put $8,000 into cryptos.
K has decided to sit tight in the belief that he does not owe the taxes. Big mistake. The IRS will take its copy of the 1099 from the exchange and assert that K does owe the taxes. The IRS puts the burden of proof on the taxpayer to show they don’t.
Courts have backed up the IRS on this burden-of-proof approach. Just ask Al Capone, the notorious gangster who went to Alcatraz not for extortion and murder but for not paying his taxes! K will find this out the hard way, as will millions of other crypto customers.
The IRS is warming up for a bonanza of tax claims. Cryptocurrency traders should get ready for the mother of all tax nightmares.