South Korea Tax Body Set to Seize 5,208 Crypto Traders’ Coins

South Korea Tax Body Set to Seize 5,208 Crypto Traders’ Coins

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South Korean tax officials in the city of Pohang are set to seize crypto from 5,208 residents who failed to pay local taxes.

The move is part of a national crackdown. The drive saw tax officials seize almost $29 million in coins and fiat in 2023.

Per Kyungbuk Shinmun and Daegu Shinmun, the individuals have all evaded local tax bills worth $370 or above.

On April 7, the city’s Nam Gu (Southern District) Office said the move was part of its “2024 Local Tax Arrears Collection Comprehensive Plan” drive.

South Korea Tax Crackdown Could See Coins Liquidated

Nam Gu officials have set themselves the target of collecting almost $5 million worth of tax arrears from citizens.

They think people in the city have failed to pay over $12.2 million worth of taxes. Tax officials have combed through data from the four biggest domestic crypto exchanges – Bithumb, Upbit, Korbit, and Coinone.

The Jukdo Market Square in Pohang, South Korea. (Source: Bon In [CC BY-SA 3.0])

Using this data, where all wallets are legally bound to “real-name,” social security number-verified bank accounts, tax officials have been able to ascertain that 5,208 of residents who have fallen behind with their taxes own crypto.

The city said that it has decided to “actively collect delinquent taxes” by “seizing” these individuals’ coins.

When it proves coins do indeed belong to “tax evaders,” the city said it will “immediately seize” and “freeze” “transaction activities such as sales or withdrawals.”

The city added that tax “delinquents” will then be given an ultimatum. Citizens who do not “voluntarily” pay tax bills “even after seizure” will see their “virtual assets sold on the exchange market.”

Won Ki-ho, the head of the tax department at the Nam Gu Office, said:

“We will do our utmost to raise awareness of delinquent taxpayers. We will do so by seizing and selling virtual assets. And we will also introduce customized collection techniques suitable for the digital age.”

South Korea’s parliamentary election campaign is in full swing and crypto is one of the battlegrounds, underlining the nation’s status as a major digital-asset market

— Bloomberg (@business) April 5, 2024

Last month, tax officers in the city of Hwaseong said they had seized crypto worth over $768,500 from “tax dodgers.”

Officers in the city said they had frozen $567,000 of the total from a single individual.

In January, tax officials in Incheon seized $375,000 worth of coins as part of a city-by-city crackdown.

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