Senate Rejects Amendment To Exclude U.S. Bitcoin Entities From Broker Designation

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The U.S. Senate rejected a bipartisan amendment Monday aiming to clarify the tax-reporting provisions required for brokers supporting the Bitcoin economy, Forbes reported.

The news comes after days of debate and a last-minute press conference held by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) that sought to address problematic language included in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, wording many industry participants felt was overbroad and harmful to innovation.

The provision will instead go forward unamended, potentially opening the door for non-financial Bitcoin intermediaries such as network validators, software contributors, miners and other service providers to be captured by the definition included.

Many of these parties by definition never take control of a consumer’s assets – a fact that sparked broad outrage over the bill.

The implications of the rejection of this amendment could be significant for all bitcoin mining companies, node operators and Bitcoin and Lightning developers, as they could all be forced to divulge transaction information to the IRS. Of note, however, is that the classification of any of these entities as brokers could still be contested – and overturned – in U.S. courts.

Of note, the senate rejected a proposed amendment that would have specified the definition of cryptocurrency brokers for tax-reporting requirements of transactions facilitated in excess of $10,000 to the IRS. As Toomey and Lummis protested, the language of the 2,702-page infrastructure bill is currently broad and sweeping.

According to Forbes, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) objected to Senator Toomey’s request for unanimous consent on the amendment, which prevented the amendment from being adopted. However, Forbes reported Shelby would waive his objection if the senators would tie in an unrelated amendment to increase military spending by $50 billion. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) struck down that proposal out of concern for the climate.

Senators Toomey, Lummis, Warner (D-VA), Portman (R-OH), and Sinema (D-AZ) had co-signed the amendment introduced earlier Monday. Its intention was to clarify language that could potentially target anyone facilitating a transaction on behalf of someone else.

“Developers are the lifeblood of innovation, and subjecting them to tax reporting would have far-reaching implications on privacy, and on the evolution of technology in this country—not to mention, most developers would not have access to useful data [for the IRS],” Forbes reported Lummis saying.

According to Forbes, Congress’ Joint Committee estimates the broad and sweeping reporting requirements proposal will generate $28 billion in taxes over the next decade. 

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