New Zealand requests customer information from crypto firms

This announcement follows the Inland Revenue’s publication of a revised tax guide for crypto assets

Image of an aerial view of Auckland, New Zealand
Some crypto enthusiasts believe that this request infringes on their right to privacy

The tax agency of New Zealand has requested all cryptocurrency firms in the country to share their customers’ personal details as well as their cryptocurrency asset values.

A statement from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) that was issued to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) details the agency’s request, which was made to supplement its understanding of the crypto-asset environment in the country. This will help the department figure out avenues to best help taxpayers meet their income tax obligations in the future.

The IRD made this move at a time when tax regulators around the world have been steadily tightening their grip on the cryptocurrency market.

Janine Grainger, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Easy Crypto, a company based in New Zealand, mused that the ID is doing this to widen its net of the tax base alongside the growth of crypto-asset ownership within the country.

Grainger described this move as a “heartbreaking” breach of privacy and autonomy.

“Privacy is really important to us… one of the tenets [of] cryptocurrency, in general, is around having freedom and autonomy and privacy,” she explained.

“While many people might think ‘I have nothing to hide, therefore, what do I care?’ the point of privacy isn’t to aid people who have something to hide, it’s to ensure we have a fair, open and free society.”

Grainger added that Easy Crypto is willing to comply with the IRD’s request after the company found that there were no legal grounds that allowed crypto firms to refuse to hand over the information.

The IRD stated it is currently still in the early stages of its inquiry and that it’s too early to say what the overall reaction had been amongst crypto firms to this news.

The department said that if taxpayers had concerns regarding not meeting their tax obligations, then they could make a voluntary disclosure to the IRD.

Earlier this month, the IRD released new guidance that improved upon how ordinary tax rules apply to crypto-assets, so that people can better understand their tax obligations.

Tony Morris, the spokesperson of the IRD, explained that the updated guidance “allows people to work out what tax they need to pay when they sell, trade, swap, lend or mine crypto-asset transactions.”

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