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IRS Designates Crypto Miners Brokers by 2025

Question

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the “Biden infrastructure plan,” is projected to cost between $1 and $2 trillion. The administration has been careful to call their plans budget neutral in messaging, which is prompting some creative revenue gathering exercise.

The bill would create a new provision stating that digital asset “brokers” would need to issue IRS forms to certain users to obtain underpaid taxes. But the definition of broker would have included “any person who…is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person.” This language would include not only third-party service providers analogous to Bank Secrecy Act-regulated entities, but also passive network developers, miners, and node operators who have no access to the required data to issue the tax forms to begin with.

Surprisingly, the nascent cryptocurrency policy community quickly and effectively pushed back against the provisions. A series of dueling amendments that would have expanded and pared back which groups should qualify as “brokers” resulted in a rather arcane legislative discussion over the distinctions between proof of work and proof of stake consensus mechanisms. Reports emanated that high-ranking operatives such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen were lobbying aggressively in favor of the expansive broker language. Despite several days of textual back-and-forth, the parties did not reach a compromise and it was sent back to the House where it has remained.

Will Cryptocurrency Miners be considered “brokers” by the IRS by 2025-01-20?

The question will resolve positively if, by 2025-01-20, miners, cryptocurrency developers, node operators, or validators (under proof-of-stake blockchains) are required to issue tax reports (such as 1099s) to the parties of the transactions they mediate. This will resolve positively if this requirement is effective under US law (though compliance or enforcement of this law need not actually occur to resolve positively). This may resolve positively even if this provision is not part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but it is part of some future legislation signed before 2025-01-20.

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