Tax Coalition Forms to Address Digital Asset Uncertainty
March 8, 2017 — WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Chamber of Digital Commerce and Steptoe & Johnson LLP today announce the formation of the Digital Assets Tax Policy Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition created to help develop effective and efficient tax policies for the growing virtual currency markets. The move comes in response to a lack of recent guidance from the Internal Revenue Service, which since 2014 has considered digital currencies to be property, not currency, for tax purposes.
The Digital Assets Tax Policy Coalition intends to help develop policies that work for both the industry and government. Developing these policies will allow the IRS to implement the recent recommendations by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that the IRS develop a strategic plan for its virtual currency program and create third-party tools to allow for greater compliance, while minimizing the need for aggressive and burdensome enforcement actions.
Led by the Chamber of Digital Commerce, industry participants include some of the leading exchanges, wallet providers, and transaction processing companies in the digital asset sector. Steptoe will serve as counsel to the Coalition.
“Clear tax treatment for digital assets is essential to ensure robust growth of this important sector,” said Perianne Boring, president and founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.
“We are proud to be working with the industry’s leading companies to engage with policymakers on an issue of vital importance to the sector. Tax solutions that allow the IRS to do its job without resorting to actions such as a John Doe summons will be of benefit to all,” said Jason Weinstein, partner at Steptoe and co-chair of Steptoe’s Blockchain and Digital Currency practice.
“Blockchain and digital asset technologies pose unique challenges to tax administration. We look forward to working with the Coalition to develop policies that minimize compliance burdens for the industry while also providing the IRS the tools it needs to administer the tax code effectively and efficiently,” said Cameron Arterton, of counsel at Steptoe.
The Digital Assets Tax Policy Coalition is another step in the industry’s efforts to proactively engage with government officials on issues of mutual concern. Last year, the Chamber of Digital Commerce co-founded the Blockchain Alliance to serve as a resource for law enforcement and a forum for open dialogue between the private and public sectors about digital assets and blockchain technology. Steptoe leads and serves as counsel to the Alliance. The Digital Assets Tax Policy Coalition seeks to follow the same approach of open and cooperative engagement with policymakers on issues of mutual concern.
About the Chamber of Digital Commerce
The Chamber of Digital Commerce is the world’s leading trade association dedicated to promoting the understanding, acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain-based technologies. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Chamber is the founder of the Smart Contracts Alliance, the Blockchain Alliance, the Global Blockchain Forum and many other key industry initiatives. For more information, please visit DigitalChamber.org or follow us on Twitter: @ChamberDigital.
About Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP is an international law firm widely recognized for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Phoenix and Washington.
Steptoe’s blockchain practice has a unique role in the blockchain industry and brings an unparalleled combination of FinTech, financial services, tax, regulatory, and law enforcement experience. Over the past two and a half years, Steptoe has advised just about every type of participant in the blockchain ecosystem – including investors, entrepreneurs, early stage companies, exchanges, transaction processors, and retailers. During this time, Steptoe has helped lead efforts to spread the word about the almost limitless possible applications for blockchain technology. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.
# # #
Chamber Media Contact
Paragon Public Relations
Steptoe Media Contact
Director of Media & Public Relations
Steptoe & Johnson LLP