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印度所得税局正在秘密培训其官员调查加密货币

2019-12-19 16:40

 

印度所得税部门正在秘密培训官员调查加密货币。该部门分发的一份内部指南解释了加密货币、它们的特点、“比特币的黑暗面”以及税务官员的最佳调查实践。


印度政府不认为加密货币是法定货币,但也没有宣布它们完全非法。因此,加密投资者仍然对如何在年度所得税申报表中显示他们的投资表示怀疑。由于所有这些情况,通过加密货币赚钱是印度加密社区的灰色地带。


今年早些时候,美国所得税部门向一些加密货币投资者发出了详细通知。该部门要求提供他们过去三年的所得税申报表、信用卡和借记卡交易,以及他们对比特币或其他加密货币的投资的详细信息。该部门总共询问了26个问题,其中21个与加密投资、在加密货币交易所进行交易、通过加密货币使用付费服务、使用加密钱包和其他与加密有关的主题有关。

 

这儿有一些问题:


请说明您是否通过现金或p2p交易从LocalBitcoins.com购买或出售比特币或其他加密货币。

您是通过投资于自己的物理设置或通过云挖掘来参与挖掘的吗?

您是否收到任何比特币/加密货币的销售/服务?你有否在以往的入息税报税表中申报该等入息?


此前,在2017年和2018年,税务部门向数千名密码投资者和交易商发送了通知。此外,资讯科技署亦曾调查主要密码交易所,收集个别密码交易商的资料。

税务人员内部培训


那么,该部门如何设计这些详细、深入的问题呢?答案就在印度中央税务委员会(Central Board of Direct Taxes)出版的一本名为《加密货币介绍与比特币司法鉴定》(Introduction to crypto currencies and Forensic Examination of Bitcoin)的指南中。自2017年以来,美国所得税部门一直在培训官员调查加密货币投资。


本书前四章涉及加密货币的起源、公钥加密、比特币基础、挖掘、51%攻击、块奖励和交易费用。它指出,虚拟货币是价值的数字表示,但在任何司法管辖区都不具有法定货币的地位。它继续说,它既不是由任何管辖权颁发的,也不是由任何管辖权保证的,它只是通过用户社区内的协议来履行不同的职能。


这本书深入解释了不同的术语,并得出结论,术语“虚拟货币”,“数字货币”和“加密货币”有不同的含义。


该书指出,印度比特币市场在过去几年里稳步增长。有一些设计良好的网站提供多种投资选择。另一些则主要通过社交媒体账户在暗网上操作。根据这本书,全国有297个地方的人们积极从事与比特币相关的交易。旅游指南称,所有这些人都可以被追踪。共有9408个城市是密码到现金交易的活跃地点。

 

你是在和税务人员进行加密到现金的交易吗?


一名消息人士称,税务部门还创建了一些虚假账户来调查印度的密码交易商。这本书也支持这一点,并给出了一些关于如何调查LocalBitcoins平台上的交易者的真实例子。由于这个平台不需要太多的身份证明,它是很多非法交易的发源地。


根据这本书:“让我们看看Bittu Sharma的例子。他是当地一个比特币论坛的会员,愿意在德里附近用现金购买比特币。他把自己的银行信息和联系电话放在那里,经过调查,权威人士透露他的真实姓名是普拉莎娜。”


税务官员正在使用像Blockexplorer.com和blockchain. info这样的工具,它们提供了在一个共享的公共分类账或区块链中跟踪交易的洞察力和搜索功能。这可能导致用户的IP地址,并产生关于用户位置的有价值的信息。这本指南包括一些屏幕截图,展示了在这些区块链网站上一步步搜索比特币地址的过程。


这本指南书还分析了印度2016年11月废除纸币的影响。在废除纸币的过程中,政府取消了500卢比和1000卢比的法定货币地位。(取而代之的是新版500卢比和2000卢比纸币。)在这段时间里,人们可能已经将他们的黑钱转换成比特币,并将其隐藏在半匿名的加密货币世界中。

 

寻找线索

 

第三方或中间机构,如比特币交易所、交易商和加工商,是建立交易商身份、进行的交易、交易对手的身份、使用的相关银行账户等的重要证据来源。税务官员追踪这些平台(及其客户名单),寻找交易比特币或其他加密货币的人。


所得税部门还调查了其他社交媒体平台,如博客、论坛、比特币对话、比特币论坛、即时通讯应用等,以寻找更多线索。根据这本书,有一些潜在的加密货币用户的既定特征:


精通科技的人,他们使用智能手机、平板电脑、笔记本电脑等。

18-40岁的人群最有可能采用加密货币。

职业游戏玩家,即那些在网络或虚拟现实中花费足够时间的人。

高净值个人。


这本书解释了税务官员在执法行动中采取的不同措施。它包括个人投资者、服务提供商、交易所和矿商。

 

抓住加密货币


接下来是最有趣的部分。这本书指出,如果官员发现不规则的活动与任何离线或在线的钱包与一个投资者,他们应该发出一个非常昂贵的u / s 132(3)。如果调查证明收入来源不明或代表失踪,中间层可以针对加密转换成印度卢比,可以抓住。


如果这是一个链上或在线钱包:


如果发现私钥,此人可以被要求将密码转换成卢比,这样就可以被没收。

如果没有找到私钥,并且此人不合作,授权人员应该对此人发出禁止命令。或者,假设你有10个比特币,但是你不愿意合作——这个部门可以把这10个比特币兑换成卢比,并没收等值的其他资产。


它还建议所得税部门应该有自己的官方钱包来转移个人缴获的密码财产。

 

这个部门已经准备了很长时间


2018年4月6日,印度央行下发通知,要求各银行不得向与数字货币相关的个人和企业提供任何服务。但税务部门早就计划加强其劳动力。2017年12月13日,税务总局印刷出版司发布公开招标公告,主题为《邀请密封报价出版《加密货币概论与比特币交易法务审查》一书。


所得税理事会


由于这本书的目的是就加密货币和相关调查对印度税务官员进行培训,印度税务部门决定这本书不应该公诸于众。在2015年《信息权法案》(the Right to Information Act 2015)中,当被问及是否存在这样一本书时,司法部证实这本书曾被传阅,但拒绝提供副本。


税务咨询公司Quagmire Consulting的创始人阿努什·巴辛(Anoush Bhasin)表示,鉴于比特币在过去十年中创造了巨大的价值,它势必会引起世界各地税务当局的兴趣。他说:“就印度而言,现有的直接税法完全适用于加密资产交易。收入的性质和确切的披露取决于交易的类型。与此同时,我们一直在鼓励和帮助印度人处理加密资产,以遵守所得税法律。”

 

The Income Tax Department of India is secretly training its officials to investigate cryptocurrencies. An internal guidebook circulated by the department explains cryptocurrencies, their characteristics, the “dark side of Bitcoin” and the best investigation practices for tax officials.

The Indian government doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender, but it also hasn’t declared them outright illegal. Crypto investors are therefore still doubtful on how to show their investments in their annual income tax returns. Due to all these circumstances, earning through cryptocurrencies is a gray area for the Indian crypto community.

Earlier this year, the Income Tax Department sent detailed notices to some cryptocurrency investors. The department asked for details on the last three years of their income tax returns, credit and debit card transactions, as well as their investment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The department asked a total of 26 questions, and 21 of these were related to crypto investment, transacting on cryptocurrency exchanges, using paid services via cryptocurrencies, using crypto wallets, and other topics related to crypto. These were some of the questions:

  • Please state whether you are buying/selling Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies from LocalBitcoins.com via cash or via peer-to-peer transactions.
  • Are you involved in mining by investing in your own physical setup or via cloud mining?
  • Have you received any Bitcoin/cryptocurrencies for any sale made/service rendered? Have you declared any such income in previous income tax returns?

Previously, in 2017 and 2018, the tax department sent notices to thousands of crypto investors and traders. The department also previously surveyed major crypto exchanges to collect the details of individual crypto traders.

Internal training of tax officials

So, how does the department design these detailed, in-depth questions? The answer lies in a guidebook titled “Introduction to Crypto-currencies and Forensic Examination of Bitcoin,” created by India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes. The nation’s income tax department has been training its officials since 2017 to investigate cryptocurrency investment. 

Introduction to Crypto-currencies and Forensic Examination of Bitcoin

The first four chapters of this book deal with the origin of cryptocurrencies, public key cryptography, Bitcoin basics, mining, 51% attacks, block rewards, and transaction fees. It states that virtual currency is a digital representation of value, but does not have status as legal tender in any jurisdiction. It continues by saying that it is neither issued nor guaranteed by any jurisdiction, and it fulfills different functions only by agreement within the community of users.

The book explains different terminology in-depth and concludes that the terms “virtual currency,” “digital currency” and “cryptocurrency” have distinct meanings.

The book states that the Indian Bitcoin market has seen steady growth over the last few years. There are some well-designed websites that offer multiple investment options. Others operate on the dark web, mostly through social media accounts. According to the book, there are 297 locations spread over the country where people actively engage in Bitcoin-related trade. All these people can be tracked, the guidebook claims. A total of 9,408 cities are active locations for crypto-to-cash transactions.

Introduction to Crypto-currencies and Forensic Examination of Bitcoin

Are you doing crypto-to-cash transactions with tax officials?

The tax department also created some fake accounts to investigate crypto traders in India, a source said. The book also supports this and puts down some real examples of how someone can investigate traders on the platform LocalBitcoins. As this platform does not require much proof of identity, it is home to a lot of illegal trading. 

According to the book: “Let's see a case of Bittu Sharma. He is on a local Bitcoin forum and willing to buy Bitcoin in cash near Delhi. He put his bank details and contact number there, and by investigating, an authority reveals his real name as Prashanna.”

Tax officials are using tools like Blockexplorer.com and Blockchain.info, which provide insights and search capabilities for tracking transactions in a shared public ledger or blockchain. This can lead to a user’s IP address and yield valuable information about the user’s location. The guidebook includes some screenshots to show a step-by-step search of Bitcoin address on these blockchain websites.

The guidebook also analyzes the effect of India’s November 2016 demonetization, in which the government stripped 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes of their status as legal tender.(It replaced them with new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes.) During this time, people may have converted their black money into Bitcoin and hidden it in the semi-anonymous world of cryptocurrencies. 

Searching for clues

Third parties or intermediaries like Bitcoin exchanges, traders and processors are important sources of evidence for establishing trader identity, transactions undertaken, the identity of counterparties, the related bank accounts used and so on. Tax officials track such platforms (and their client lists) to find people trading Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. 

The Income Tax Department also investigates other social media platforms like blogs, forums, Bitcoin Talk, Bitcoin Forum, messenger apps and the like to find more clues. According to the book, there are some established characteristics of a potential cryptocurrency user:

  • Tech-savvy individuals, a person uses gadgets like smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.
  • The age group of 18-40 years old is most likely to adopt cryptocurrencies.
  • Professional gamers, those spending enough time online or in virtual reality. 
  • High net worth individuals.

Introduction to Crypto-currencies and Forensic Examination of Bitcoin

The book explains different measures undertaken by tax officials during enforcement actions. It includes individual investors, service providers, exchanges and miners. 

Seizing cryptocurrencies

Here comes the most interesting part. The book states that if officials discover irregular activity with any offline or online wallet linked to an investor, they should issue a prohibitory order u/s 132 (3). If the investigation proves that the source is unexplained or represents unaccounted income, an intermediary can be directed to convert crypto into Indian rupees, which can be seized. 

If this is an on-chain or online wallet:

  • If a private key is found, the person can be asked to convert crypto into rupees, which can be seized.
  • If a private key is not found and the person is not cooperative, an authorized officer should place a prohibitory order on the person. Alternatively, suppose you own 10 BTC and aren’t cooperative — the department can convert that 10 BTC into rupees and can seize other assets equivalent to that value.

It also suggested that the Income Tax Department should have its own official wallets to transfer the person’s seized crypto holdings.

The department’s been preparing for a long time

On April 6, 2018, the Reserve Bank of India circulated a notice and asked banks not to provide any services to individuals and companies associated with digital currencies. But the tax department was planning to strengthen its workforce long before. The printing and publication wing of the Directorate of Income Tax released an open tender notice on Dec. 13, 2017, with the subject line “Inviting sealed quotations for publishing of book titled ‘Introduction to cryptocurrencies and forensic examination of Bitcoin transactions.’”

Directorate of Income Tax

As the aim of the book was to train Indian tax officials on cryptocurrencies and related investigations, the tax department decided that the book should not become public. When asked about the existence of such a book via the Right to Information Act 2015, the department confirmed that this book was circulated, but declined to provide a copy.

Anoush Bhasin, founder of tax advisory firm Quagmire Consulting, said that given the significant value that Bitcoin has generated in the last decade, it was bound to garner interest from tax authorities around the world. He said, "As far as India is concerned, the existing direct tax laws are squarely applicable to crypto asset transactions. The nature of income and exact disclosure depends on the type of transaction. In line with this, we have been encouraging and assisting Indians dealing with crypto assets to comply with income tax laws." 

原作者: Vireshwar Tomar 来自: cointelegraph