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IRS Seeks to Delay Hearing in Coinbase Data Dispute

The Internal Revenue Service is seeking to delay an upcoming hearing in its ongoing court dispute with digital currency exchange Coinbase, new court filings show.

According to a stipulation and proposed order filed today in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, attorneys for the IRS have asked to delay a 16th February hearing on petitions by both Coinbase and one of its customers, each of whom have sought to formally intervene.

The IRS had previously filed motions seeking to stop both sides from entering the case.

Now, the US tax agency wants to push that hearing off until 23rd March because it is weighing whether to take additional action in the case, arguing that the hearing may ultimately prove to be unnecessary.

Attorneys for the US government wrote:

“The United States seeks this continuance not for purposes of delay, but rather because the United States is considering filing a petition to enforce or taking other action with respect to the John Doe summons and if more time is provided a hearing on movants’ motions may be avoided altogether, sparing the Court’s judicial resources and the Parties’ time and expense.”

While the filing did not elaborate on why the hearing could potentially become unnecessary, IRS attorneys noted that representatives for both Coinbase and customer Jeffrey Berns “do not object and stipulate to this request for additional time”.

The ongoing case dates back to November, when the IRS first sought court permission to serve Coinbase with a John Doe summons in an effort to identify potential tax cheats, seeking years’ worth of user records from the exchange. The IRS has considered digital currencies like bitcoin to be a taxable form of property since mid-2014.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ultimately approved that initial request, a move that was soon followed by Berns’ initial petition to intervene.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

The full court filing can be found below:

Stipulation & Proposed Order by CoinDesk on Scribd

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