Argentina carries out crypto wallet seizures linked to tax delinquents

Argentina’s tax authority has seized more than 1,000 cryptocurrency wallets linked to delinquent taxpayers in the country.

According to a report from local media outlet iProUP, courts across Argentina authorized the seizure of 1,269 cryptocurrency wallets belonging to citizens with outstanding debt to Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Income (AFIP).

AFIP signaled its intent to go after cryptocurrency wallets belonging to tax delinquents in May, ordering cryptocurrency exchanges and payment service providers to deliver monthly reports on users of their platforms.

Crypto services were requested to verify the identity of clients and keep records of user accounts as well as detailed financial statements including income, expenses and monthly balances.

With these firms supplying this information to the tax authority, AFIP has been able to enforce embargoes on the holdings in wallets linked to errant taxpayers over the past few months.

AFIP’s current standard operating procedure typically targets bank accounts and other liquid assets to recoup debts as the first port of call. If a taxpayer cannot settle their debt or is unbanked, the AFIP will look to seize other assets belonging to the individual.

Argentina’s crypto plans have been put on hold after its central bank stepped in to stop recent offerings from two of the largest financial institutions in the country. https://t.co/3VXpoZ0pSk

— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) May 6, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic gave some respite to Argentinians who were in the crosshairs of the AFIP, as a 19-month moratorium on asset seizures was enforced to alleviate financial pressures on citizens.

Related: Argentines turn to Bitcoin amid inflation worries: Report

The move comes as Argentinians continue adopting cryptocurrency to combat surging inflation, a devaluing peso and general economic malaise. A recent Reuters report citing data from Americas Market Intelligence noted that Argentina had seen an increase in cryptocurrency adoption eclipsing other South American countries, driven by citizens looking for a safe haven against rising inflation.

While Argentina’s tax authority hones in on the digital assets of non-compliant tax payers, its government and central bank have been at odds over the treatment of cryptocurrencies.

President Alberto Fernandez made headlines by highlighting the potential for cryptocurrencies to help combat inflation in August 2021, just as Argentina’s central bank president Miguel Pesce hinted at forthcoming regulation of the industry and its intersection with the conventional financial system.

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