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Think Tank Attacks IRS Subpoena in Coinbase Tax Dispute

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CoinDesk covers CEI's amicus brief filing in United States v. Coinbase.

Opposition to the IRS effort to obtain user information from cryptocurrency exchange startup Coinbase is growing.

Earlier today, the libertarian think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed an amicus brief in support of Coinbase, sharply criticizing both the scope and nature of the IRS subpoena, which seeks information on Coinbase customers between the years 2013 and 2015.

The IRS effort dates back to last November, when the tax agency pushed to obtain the records with the stated aim of identifying potential tax cheats. After a US judge initially approved the "John Doe Summons", Coinbase and, later, several of its customers pushed back. The agency ultimately went to a different judge, seeking enforcement of that summons, though since then Coinbase and an unnamed customers have fought the effort in subsequent filings.

In the brief, the CEI echoed past criticisms of the IRS subpoena as overly broad. The IRS narrowed its initial request last month, trimming it to cover a smaller subset of users. In a recent filing, Coinbase that the new request would impact as many as 14,000 of its customers.

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In a blog post detailing the submission, CEI vice president Jim Harper reiterated this line of reasoning.

"That means Coinbase is required to resist invalid subpoenas, as it is doing, and it means that the data is not Coinbase's to give to the government based on an invalid subpoena," Harper wrote.

Read the full article at CoinDesk.