On March 2, the IRS updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Virtual Currency Transactions. The new FAQ provides that taxpayers whose only crypto transactions include the purchase of virtual currency with real currency need not answer yes to the question on the front page of the 2020 IRS Form 1040. This instruction is directly contrary to the plain reading of the simple question on cryptocurrency, which is highlighted in red here:
I’ve previously written about IRS enforcement of Crypto account holders here, here, and here. Uncovering crypto account holders is a key part of stepping up enforcement in this area, and as I explained just two weeks ago, the IRS is laser-focused on criminal and civil enforcement in this emerging area of taxation.
Both the 2020 IRS Form 1040 and the 1040 instructions provide that a taxpayer who engaged in any transaction involving virtual currency must check the “yes” box next to the question on page 1 of Form 1040. But the 1040 instructions provide a little more color, explaining that “A transaction involving virtual currency does not include the holding of virtual currency in a wallet or account, or the transfer of virtual currency from one wallet or account you own or control to another that you own or control.”
Should crypto account holders who bought, but did not sell, virtual currency in the year 2020 answer “No” to the question based on this FAQ and the 1040 instructions?
I wouldn’t bet a single Bitcoin on it.
First, informal IRS guidance such as FAQs – and even the Internal Revenue Manual – can’t be relied on by taxpayers. Yes, you read that right. The IRS is allowed to and does publish guidance in the form of FAQs and the Internal Revenue Manual to assist taxpayers (and Revenue Agents) in navigating the web of tax law. But there is an abundance of caselaw that says taxpayers don’t have “rights” based on them and can’t try to enforce them.
Eaglehawk Carbon, Inc. v. United States, 122 Fed. Cl. 209, 221 (2015) (noting that “it is beyond cavil” that I.R.M. provisions “do[ ] not have the force of law”); Fargo v. Commissioner, 447 F.3d 706, 713 (9th Cir. 2006) (noting that “[th]e Internal Revenue Manual does not have the force of law and does not confer rights on taxpayers”); Valen Mfg. Co. v. United States, 90 F.3d 1190, 1194 (6th Cir. 1996) (noting that [“[t]he provisions of the manual, however, only ‘govern the internal affairs of the Internal Revenue Service.
They do not have the force and effect of law,’” quoting United States v. Horne, 714 F.2d 206, 207 (1st Cir. 1983)); and Marks v. Commissioner, 947 F.2d 983, 986, n.1 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (noting that [i]t is well-settled … that the provisions of the [I.R.M.] are directory rather than mandatory, are not codified regulations, and clearly do not have the force and effect of law.”).
Second, answering no to the question when the actual answer is yes based on the FAQ or instructions to the 1040, while technically correct, could lead to adverse consequences. Simply purchasing virtual currency does not create a taxable event. Even if no tax is due in year 2020, if a taxpayer answers no in 2020 based on the FAQ but then does not file a tax return for 2021, or files a tax return that omits a crypto transaction, rest assured that the IRS will argue that answering no in 2020 was evidence of intent to conceal the crypto.
And for that matter, so will the Department of Justice, Tax Division. Even if a taxpayer is later vindicated, simply going through an IRS civil or criminal exam can be costly in time, emotional distress, and money on professional fees.
While common sense says it should be perfectly fine to answer “No” based on the FAQ, as a tax litigator who defends clients in civil and criminal tax disputes with the IRS, I’ll advise my clients who bought but did not sell crypto to answer yes, unless there is a compelling non-tax reason not to.
I try tax cases in tax court and federal courts, represent taxpayers who are examined by the IRS, and represent tax professionals who get into disciplinary trouble. I’m also a professional partnership representative. My practice is in Chicago but my clients are all over the country and the world. Email me at email@example.com and follow me at @Mommytax
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Coinbase – a platform used to buy and sell currency – has temporarily disabled its users from being able to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using US dollars.
Users who have attempted to make purchases over the past day have received a message that reads, ‘USD purchases are temporarily disabled,’ while other currencies, including the British pound, are also reported to have been blocked from making purchases.
Coinbase hasn’t commented since its users started getting the message, however the platform has reported experiencing difficulties due a recent surge in interest following a rise in the price of Bitcoin.
It’s unclear whether the temporary issue is related to the technical issues the app has been experiencing, or whether it’s a move from Coinbase to try and slow or restrict purchases.
However, it comes in the wake of trading platform Robinhood suspending sales of hugely popular Reddit stocks, GameStop and AMC, causing concern that similar blockages could be happening with Bitcoin too.
If the latter were to be true, it would be an incredibly unpopular move given all the backlash Robinhood is facing for allegedly protecting hedge fund millionaires at the steak of Reddit investors. Donald Trump Jr, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Cruz are among those who have criticised the platform.
One Reddit user has even filed a class action against the platform, after it blocked any further sales of GameStop stock due to ‘volatility of the market’.
Meanwhile, the value of Bitcoin has soared over the past couple of days, after Tesla founder Elon Musk changed his Twitter bio to simply read ‘#bitcoin’.
In just one hour after the multibillionaire updated his profile, the cryptocurrency’s value soared from around $32,000 (£23,500) to above $37,000 (£27,000,) per online trading site Coinbase.
Elsewhere, a cryptocurrency that began as a joke, has also soared in value by 140%, following the recent success of Reddit-fuelled stocks.
Dogecoin, which is based on the popular ‘doge’ meme, saw huge increases after a Reddit thread called SatoshiStreetBets called for the currency to reach the value of $1 per coin.
Again, cryptocurrency fan Musk has touched on the dogecoin, with many Reddit users calling on him to help spread the word about the currency.
Back in April 2019, he tweeted, ‘Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool,’ later sending its value soaring by 20% when he simply tweeted, ‘doge.’
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.
Almost every time the price of bitcoin increases or decreases quickly, Coinbase shuts down. It happens like clockwork, time and time again. Why does Coinbase always go down? Instead of specifically focusing on why Coinbase always crashes, in this video we will go over a simple fix to prevent yourself from being a victim in the future when your exchange of choice crashes or your account is disabled/frozen. Time Stamps: Intro – 0:00 History Of Crashes – 0:15 The Solution- 1:00 Alternative Exchanges – 2:00
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As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know.
Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs.
Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure. Microsoft failed to issue a security patch within that hugely restrictive timeframe, and Google went ahead and published details of the zero-day vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2020-17087.
The bug itself sits within the Windows Kernel Cryptography Driver, known as cng.sys, and could allow an attacker to escalate the privileges they have when accessing a Windows machine. The full technical detail can be found within the Google Project Zero disclosure, but slightly more simply put, it’s a memory buffer-overflow problem that could give an attacker admin-level control of the targeted Windows computer. Recommended For You
While attackers are known to be actively targeting Windows systems right now, that doesn’t mean your system is going down. Firstly, I should point out that, according to a confirmation from Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, the attackers spotted exploiting the vulnerability are not targeting any U.S. election-related systems at this point. That’s good news, and there’s more.
While Microsoft has confirmed that the reported attack is real, it also suggests that it is limited in scope being targeted in nature. This is not, at least as of yet, a widespread broad-sweep exploit. Microsoft says that it has no evidence of any indication of widespread exploits.
Then there’s the attack itself which requires two vulnerabilities to be chained together for a successful exploit to happen. One of them has already been patched. That was a browser-based vulnerability, CVE-2020-15999, in Chrome browsers, including Microsoft Edge. As long as your browser is up to date, you are protected. Microsoft Edge was updated on October 22 while Google Chrome was updated on October 20.
There are no known other attack chains for the Windows vulnerability at this point. Which doesn’t mean your machine is 100% safe, as an attacker with access to an already compromised system could still exploit it. However, it does mean there’s no need to hit the panic button, truth be told. Microsoft has also confirmed that the vulnerability cannot be exploited to affect cryptographic functionality.
I reached out to Microsoft, and a spokesperson told me that “Microsoft has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and update impacted devices to protect customers.”
As for that seven-day disclosure deadline from the Google Project Zero team, the Microsoft spokesperson said that “while we work to meet all researchers’ deadlines for disclosures, including short-term deadlines like in this scenario, developing a security update is a balance between timeliness and quality, and our ultimate goal is to help ensure maximum customer protection with minimal customer disruption.”
Although Microsoft has not commented on the likely timing of a security patch to prevent exploitation of this Windows vulnerability, the Project Zero technical lead, Ben Hawkes, has tweeted that it is expected as part of the Patch Tuesday updates on November 10.
How big a threat is this to your average Windows user? That remains to be seen, but currently I’d classify it as a be aware but don’t panic situation. Hang-fire, ensure your web browsers are bang up to date, and you should be fine. There are far more significant risks to your data than this zero-day attack, in my never humble opinion. Risks such as phishing in all forms, password reuse, lack of two-factor authentication and software that isn’t kept up to date with security patches.
I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to reveal or research to share.
As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know. Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs. Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure.
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Loss attorney David Silver has filed a 2,000 person class action suit against the founder of the “Massive Adoption: Memphis” cryptocurrency conference.
Defendant Jacob Kostecki has yet to refund ticket sales after the event was canceled on January 31.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the founder of the “Massive Adoption” conference for bitcoin following his refusal to refund ticket sales.
According to the initial complaint filed on May 7, Ashley Gentry was named as the lead plaintiff in a 2,000 person lawsuit against Colorado native Jacob Kostecki, creator of the “Massive Adoption in Memphis: Blockchain and Digital Assets” event.
The cryptocurrency conference was originally scheduled to be held in November 2019, before being rescheduled to February 2020. The event was subsequently called off on January 31.
The lawsuit, filed in the District of Colorado by securities fraud and investment loss attorney David Silver, claims Kostecki promised event-goers a refund on tickets and packages within six months. The suit, referencing Kostecki’s promises, reads..
Silver accused Kostecki of causing “significant financial loss” to ticketholders after failing to carry out his promise of a refund. The class-action filing demands compensation for damages due to lost airfares, attorney fees and other applicable costs.
Twitter: @BeardsBitcoins Website: BeardsAndBitcoins.com Telegram: http://t.me.beardsandbitcoins Hosts BitBoy: @BitBoy_Crypto JChains: @CryptoJChains EPISODE 77: Crypto Fyre Fest Implosion & ICX Explosion Episode 77: Crypto Fyre Fest, ICON Pumps, & Greatest UFC Fighter JChains gets ready to go on a one week cruise vacation while the market is pumping. We take a look at the markets and how they could help everyone in crypto take vacations! In this episode BitBoy & JChains talk about the most interesting storylines from this week in crypto. This week on Beards and Bitcoins: JChains is going on vacation. BitBoy discusses the market & how the stock to flow chart looks like Bitcoin is heading to at least $90k in 18 months. Token Time this week features Celsius Token $ICX – https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/… Icon has been on an absolute tear and shows no signs of stopping. At one point it was down 98% and was the face of the bear market. But finally it looks like altcoin season is upon us. This week for News Break.. we talk about what is being dubbed the crypto Fyre Fest. The Massive Adoption conference in Memphis has been postponed several times. People have asked for refunds, and now founder Jacob Kostecki has announced he is cancelling the conference. People have claimed he is scammer from Poland who is currently on the run and people will never get their money back. For Manspreading today, the boys give their picks for the best UFC Fighter of all time. BitBoy is taking Jon Jones while JChains goes with the classic Chuck Liddell. This week, the Beards & Bitcoins podcast has announced their new telegram group t.me/BeardsBitcoins