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Tax Resolution

Justice Department Publishes Cryptocurrency Enforcement

For years, the government has been at a loss on how to regulate cryptocurrency. It seems like it is making some headway as Attorney General William Barr announced the release of “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework.”

This was released by the Cyber-Digital Task Force of the Attorney General. The framework tackles the challenges associated with cryptocurrency, which is a form of online exchange of payment. There is an emerging trend and the Justice Department realized that there are threats linked to the use of cryptocurrency in the market.

Among the subjects of the publication is the relationships that the Justice Department has with other regulatory and enforcement organizations in the U.S.

What will the Justice Department do in regards to the growing cryptocurrency? The strategies are indicated in the framework.

“Cryptocurrency is a technology that could fundamentally transform how human beings interact, and how we organize society,” Barr said about the digital currency technology. “Ensuring that use of this technology is safe, and does not imperil our public safety or our national security, is vitally important to America and its allies.” The framework created by the task force is one of a kind, said Barr.

There are worries that cryptocurrency is being used for criminal activities, which is why the government, for years, has been trying to study ways to introduce regulations for this tech innovation.

“At the FBI, we see first-hand the dangers posed when criminals bend the important technological promise of cryptocurrency to illicit ends,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “As this Enforcement Framework describes, we see criminals using cryptocurrency to try to prevent us from ‘following the money’ across a wide range of investigations, as well as to trade in illicit goods like criminal tools on the dark web.”

As an example, Wray talked about the ransomware attacks. This is when criminals hack a person or an organization’s data. They will either threaten to release the victim’s data to the public or block the victim from accessing their personal files unless they get paid, hence, the reference to ransom.

Wray explained that to hide their identities, the criminals will use cryptocurrency to purchase the malware and other tools to succeed in their ransomware intent. They will also ask that the ransom be paid through cryptocurrency so authorities will have a hard time tracing the money’s movement.

The FBI is working hard to find a way to evolve with the criminals. With the latter using cryptocurrency, the FBI has to be in step with them.

Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John C. Demers, who is also a member of the task force, said that the U.S. has been successful in curbing terrorists from funding violent activities using traditional money.

“As the Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework explains, we will adapt our strategy and tools to 21st century financing, including to combat the use of cryptocurrencies to evade enforcement and harm our national security,” said Demers.

Authorities acknowledge the importance of cryptocurrency as it presents an innovative way to do business without leaving the house.

Task force member Brian C. Rabbitt, also the assistant attorney general for the Criminal division, explained that the framework provides critical information to the public so that they will understand and comply with the legal requirements to enjoy “fast-developing technologies.”

The Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework opens with an essay penned by Associate Depute Attorney General Sujit Raman, the chair of the task force.

Part one of the framework presents the threat overview of cryptocurrency. The framework identifies three categories of criminal activities that are transacted through cryptocurrency:

  1. Financial transactions associated with the commission of crimes.
  2. Money laundering and the shielding of legitimate activity from tax, reporting or other legal requirements.
  3. Theft.

Part II cites the countermeasures to the criminal or illicit uses of cryptocurrencies. This part also highlights the collaborative partnership among the following agencies: Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Commission, and agencies within the Department of Treasury.

The goal is to work together to enforce the law within the cryptocurrency space.

Part III is also the last part and it summarizes the government’s challenges and limitations when it comes to cryptocurrency enforcement.

The Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework is the second comprehensive report from the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force.

IRS Extends Economic Impact Payment Registration to Nov. 21


Good news to those who have yet to receive the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) as the deadline for registration has been extended to Nov. 21. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) earlier announced the new deadline, which is five weeks later than the original schedule. 

People who haven’t received the EIP and typically don’t file tax returns are encouraged to register for it as soon as they can. They can use the Non-Filers tool on the IRS.gov, the official website of the IRS. This tool will no longer be available by Nov. 22.

“We took this step to provide more time for those who have not yet received a payment to register to get their money, including those in low-income and underserved communities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. 

The EIP is an aid authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in order to help U.S. residents cope with the pandemic. Millions have already received such payments. The IRS usually calculates the EIP itself and automatically sends the payment to the constituents. 

However, there may be some who need to provide additional information to the agency as proof of eligibility. 

Non-filers portal

“The IRS is deeply involved in processing and programming that overlaps filing seasons. Any further extension beyond November would adversely impact our work on the 2020 and 2021 filing seasons,” continued Rettig. 

The portal for non-filers has been available since spring. Millions of Americans have taken advantage of it since then. Still, there are millions more that have yet to register. 

It should be noted that the extension is only for U.S. residents who don’t usually file a tax return. Also, those who have already received their EIP are no longer covered by this extension. 

Therefore, taxpayers who asked for extension of time to file their 2019 tax return do not have a Nov. 21 extension. Their deadline remains on Oct. 15.

The IRS and some organizations recognize that some of the U.S. residents eligible for the EIP may not speak English or may not understand it well. This is why partner groups have been coordinating with the IRS in order to make the EIP available to all those eligible to enjoy it. 

Some of these organizations translated the IRS information and EIP resources in 35 languages. There shouldn’t be any more excuse for the U.S. residents not to receive the payment. 

Further, the government agency also sent close to nine million letters to eligible people in September. These non-filers will receive $1,200 as mandated in the CARES Act. 

There is really no reason for the non-filers not to register as the process is so easy. 

“Time is running out for those who don’t normally file a tax return to get their payments,” said Rettig. “Registration is quick and easy and we urge everyone to share this information to reach as many people before the deadline. 

This is happening because there are people in the U.S. who have little or no income at all. These people don’t have to file a tax return. However, they are eligible to receive the EIP. 

In essence, taxpayers or those who file tax returns, automatically receive the EIP. But the IRS doesn’t have the basis to send the EIP to the non-filers. 

Non-filers need not worry as the tool is secure and is also under the Free File Fillable Forms in accordance with the Free File Alliance’s grant of free products on the IRS.gov.

The tool was also designed for people who have an annual income of $24,400 and below for married couples. For singles, the cap is $12,200 in annual income and only if the singles are not dependents of someone else. That would include individuals and couples that are homeless.

People may receive the EIP through bank deposit or through a check. They only need to choose the right option on the Non-Filers tool. Getting it through direct deposit is faster. 

For those who have already registered, they can track the status of their EIP through the Get My Payment tool that is also available on the website. 

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