The officials from the Gyeonggi provincial government in South Korea launched a massive crackdown on tax evaders who used cryptocurrencies to hide their earnings. According to the Financial Times, over $47 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and other digital assets were seized from 12,000 people who allegedly were involved in tax evasion, including a TV host, a doctor and thousands of wealthy South Koreans.
The crackdown is just one of many of the operations performed by other provinces in the last few months against evaders who rely on virtual currencies to bypass domestic tax rulings, such as the provinces of Daejeon, Gyeongju and South Gyeongsang.
“We will do our utmost to protect law-abiding taxpayers and fulfill our fair taxation mandate by probing and tracing assets that tax dodgers may be concealing in the midst of the recent cryptocurrency trading fervor,” Kim Ji-ye, Director-General of the Gyeonggi Province Fairness Bureau, commented on the recent crackdown.
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In fact, the Gyeonggi provincial’s authorities claimed it was the most prominent crypto seizure “for back taxes in Korean history.” Moreover, they stated that the tax evaders allegedly used local crypto exchanges because they did not collect the resident registration numbers of account holders.
In more detail, authorities reportedly compared mobile phone numbers registered at the crypto exchange accounts with those accused of evading taxes in South Korea. Although investigators did not disclose the name of the TV host involved in the tax evasion saga, they just said it was a “renowned home shopping channel show host” who owed 20 million Korean won in taxes but held 500 million Korean won in ETH. Furthermore, a real estate investor, owner of almost 30 residences, had 1.1 billion Korean won in cryptocurrencies despite owing 30 million Korean won in income taxes.
Quoting provincial officials, the Financial Times says that insolvency and liquidation proceedings will take place if the tax dodgers do not voluntarily pay their overdue taxes.