According to a study released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday, anti-money laundering (AML) regulations are a sensible place to start but are not a foolproof solution for dealing with tax fraudsters and criminals who use cryptocurrency to hide their traces.
The report was written by Shafik Hebous, Katherine Baer, Ruud de Mooij, and Michael Keen, all of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department. It has a disclaimer stating that the opinions stated therein do not necessarily represent those of the IMF. The paper’s main taxation issue is that digital information offers a fresh and effective opportunity for wealthy people and criminals to make transactions covertly.
Furthermore, its writers are aware that there is a possible tax collection shortfall of tens of billions of dollars and that there is no global agreement on the best course of action. IMF Gives in to Bitcoin Bans and Admits They Are Ineffective
What are the views on tax evasion?
The authors explicitly state that they do not seek to “provide policy prescriptions,” but they also note that nations can use U.S. rules and regulations as a model for their own laws and regulations to prevent financial crimes and other criminal conduct. The IMF writers stated that regardless of how cryptocurrency performs, the tax structure still needs to address it. However, governments should start by enforcing AML regulations and third-party reporting obligations where they can.
The report refers to AML regulations and notes that not all jurisdictions completely comply with the Financial Action Task Force guidance published in 2015, which was intended to function as an international norm for combating money laundering. The study points out that as exchanges frequently operate as the point of exchange for fiat currency and are able to monitor activity beyond that, they are in an advantageous position to assist authorities in learning who owns certain digital assets.
According to the IMF research, a global 20% taxation on capital gains in 2021 may have generated $300 billion in revenue from cryptocurrency-related activities. However, the authors said that Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures—which aid in their continued compliance with anti-money laundering regulations—are insufficient to give tax authorities a complete picture.
The authors wrote that KYC regulations “might enable the law enforcement to know, for example, that a particular person cashed out a specific amount of cryptocurrency.” However, without further information, it won’t be feasible to determine any corresponding capital gain or loss from the transactions that came before those that were recorded on the blockchain.
The technology underlying many cryptocurrencies may potentially benefit tax authorities in this regard, according to the authors, who noted that blockchains are “remarkably accessible in regards to the data they hold on the past sequence of transactions.
The IMF authors suggested that artificial intelligence may be utilized in some way “to identify potentially tax-relevant behaviors” that occur on-chain, noting the enormous volume of publicly available data on networks as being suitable for forensic examination. But in the unlikely scenario that governments adopt AML and KYC, the study describes further difficulties that can arise if it encourages criminal actors to use decentralized exchanges, in which it would be more difficult to gather information because no one would be required to adhere to reporting rules.
And the primary barrier mentioned in the paper—the aspect of pseudo-anonymity connected to bitcoin transactions—would still be present. Public keys as well as private keys are the building blocks of digital wallets. It is more difficult for authorities to identify the owner of a digital wallet without a person’s name being linked to it, unless that person voluntarily discloses their identity.
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