Crackdown At Bitcoin Exchanges Start: Five Things To Know

Are Bitcoin exchanges turning into haven for tax evaders

Indian tax authorities Wednesday raided a number of Bitcoin exchanges across the country on suspicion of tax evasion, sources said.

A team led by the Bengaluru investigation wing visited the premises of nine exchanges in which Bitcoin are traded.

"We are looking at collecting information about modus operandi of bitcoin exchanges, investors, their source of investment and possibility of collecting tax", Ahluwalia told Reuters.

The surveys, under section 133A of the Income Tax Act, are being conducted for "gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transaction undertaken by them, identity of counter-parties, related bank accounts used, among others", the officials said.

The survey teams have for their perusal, various financial data and knowledge about the working of these exchanges.

The tax official declined to comment on the central bank's concerns, saying the tax department was looking only into the tax implications. "However, the operations are still on and final findings will emerge later".

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"Though Bitcoin is a grey area in India (the RBI has not termed it as an illegal tender yet), the transactions in the currency have gone through the roof, from Rs 1,200 crore in the last financial year to '10,000 crore in the current financial year". The bank has warned people of investing in these currencies.

The regulators said they were also investigating cases from a year ago when large amounts of "black money" had been laundered using bitcoin during the demonetization process in the country.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still not regulated in India. During this time, the major exchanges have reported record high new-users registrations.

Read what other central banks are saying about digital currencies hereThe federal government has set up a panel headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg to decide on India's stand on virtual currencies, people with knowledge of the matter said on December 12. Soon after this, India's finance minister Arun Jaitley said: "Recommendations are being worked at".

"The government's position is clear, we don't recognize this as legal currency as of now", he said at the time.

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