South Korean city to seize crypto from thousands of tax evaders: Report

The South Korean city of Cheongju, the capital of North Chungcheong province, has said it intends to begin confiscating cryptocurrency from local tax delinquents.

The administration of Cheongju has requested seven South Korean crypto exchanges to inquire into the holdings of thousands of tax evaders, according to a report from local news agency Yonhap on Aug. 22.

City authorities reportedly ordered trading platforms like Upbit and Bithumb to inquire into the crypto assets of 8,520 users who owe at least 1 million won ($750) in local taxes. Following the inquiry, Cheongju authorities plan to confiscate cryptocurrency from tax delinquents, the report states.

According to the city administration, cryptocurrencies have been increasingly used as a means of concealing property in South Korea. This latest initiative approach aims to ensure that South Korean residents who have evaded their tax responsibilities are held accountable.

Upbit and Bithumb did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

In 2022, the Cheongju administration reportedly collected overdue taxes from 17 individuals after receiving details of the cryptocurrency holdings of around 16,000 crypto investors. The city collected a total of 68 million won ($51,000).

Tax-related cryptocurrency confiscations have increased in South Korea in recent years. In 2022 and 2021 combined, the South Korean government confiscated as much as 260 billion Korean won ($180 million) worth of cryptocurrencies from tax evaders. In 2021, the city administration of South Korea’s capital Seoul seized crypto worth 25 billion won ($22 million) from individuals and company heads.

Related: Coin Center responds to US lawmakers’ request for crypto tax guidance

The seizures came soon after the South Korean government enacted laws allowing regulators to seize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) from tax delinquents in 2021.

South Korea isn’t the only country that seizes cryptocurrency from tax evaders. Last year, Argentina’s tax authority seized more than 1,000 cryptocurrency wallets linked to delinquent taxpayers in the country. The United States Internal Revenue Service also practices cryptocurrency confiscations from tax evaders, according to IRS deputy associate chief counsel Robert Wearing.

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