Argentina’s tax authorities have seized more than 1,000 cryptocurrency wallets linked to the country’s delinquent taxpayers.
Courts across Argentina have authorized the seizure of 1,269 cryptocurrency wallets belonging to citizens with outstanding debts to Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP), according to local media iProUP.
AFIP said in May that it intends to track down cryptocurrency wallets belonging to tax delinquents, ordering cryptocurrency exchanges and payment service providers to provide monthly reports on users of their platforms.
Crypto services are required to verify the identities of customers and keep user account records as well as detailed financial statements including income, expenses and monthly balances.
As these companies provide this information to tax authorities, AFIP has been able to impose an embargo on assets in wallets linked to the wrong taxpayer over the past few months.
AFIP’s current standard operating procedure typically targets bank accounts and other liquid assets as a first port of call to recover debts. If the taxpayer is unable to pay the debt or has no bank account, AFIP will seek to seize other assets belonging to the individual.
Argentina’s cryptocurrency plans have been put on hold after its central bank stepped in to block recent offerings by the country’s two largest financial institutions. https://t.co/3VXpoZ0pSk
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) May 6, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has given Argentines targeted by AFIP some respite, as a 19-month ban on asset seizures was implemented to ease citizens’ financial stress.
Related: Argentines Turn to Bitcoin Amid Inflation Fears: Report
The move comes as Argentines continue to adopt cryptocurrencies in response to soaring inflation, the devaluation of the peso and a general economic malaise. A recent Reuters report, citing data from the Americas market intelligence firm, noted that Argentina’s cryptocurrency adoption rate has surpassed that of other South American countries, as citizens seek safety from rising inflation.
Despite an investigation by the Argentine tax authorities into the digital assets of non-compliant taxpayers, its government and central bank have been at odds over the handling of cryptocurrencies.
President Alberto Fernandez made headlines in August 2021 by highlighting the potential of cryptocurrencies to help fight inflation, as Argentina’s central bank governor Miguel Pez hinted at imminent regulation of the industry and its connection to the traditional financial system the same as the cross.