Malaysia launches ‘Ops Token’ to tackle crypto tax evasion

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The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) of Malaysia has initiated a special operation named “Ops Token” to tackle crypto tax evasion and enhance overall tax administration in the country.

IRB Malaysia wages war against crypto tax evasion 

According to sources, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) of Malaysia has joined forces with the Royal Malaysia Police and CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) to launch an operation involving 38 personnel across 10 locations in the Klang Valley.

Per reports, the value of cryptocurrency transactions in Malaysia this year is estimated at RM1.441 trillion ($340 billion).

During the “Ops Token” operation, the IRB accessed cryptocurrency trading data stored on mobile devices and computers, enabling them to trace digital assets traded and assess associated profits. 

The team says it uncovered instances where entities were established solely for cryptocurrency transactions to evade tax obligations.

The tax authority has clarified that the gathered data will undergo detailed analysis to determine the value of cryptocurrency assets traded and the profits generated. This process aims to reveal the extent of tax evasion previously undisclosed to the IRB.

Commenting on the latest development, CEO Datuk Dr Abu Tariq Jamaluddin stated that individuals who engage in cryptocurrency trading in Malaysia must comply with income tax regulations. 

He has urged all parties involved in such activities to declare their taxes promptly at the nearest IRB office to avoid potential compliance penalties.

The execution of this operation aims to boost the nation’s revenue by minimizing tax evasion and improving tax efficiency, thereby bolstering the sustainability of Malaysia’s revenue collection efforts, the team says. 

Tax evasion, regulatory scrutiny

Cryptocurrency trading has frequently been linked to cases of tax evasion, prompting calls for more stringent regulations and reporting standards.

The collapse of the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX cryptocurrency exchange was attributed to fraudulent reporting and mismanagement of funds. This event triggered a series of regulatory crackdowns and heightened scrutiny, emphasizing the critical need for transparency and robust financial practices within the cryptocurrency sector.

According to Bloomberg, the Biden administration proposes to strengthen tax compliance by requiring transfers of at least $10,000 of cryptocurrency to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer at Binance, was arrested in Nigeria for tax evasion and money laundering charges. The arrest followed a demand for a $150 million payment in crypto, which Gambaryan interpreted as an extortion attempt. 

While Gambaryan was ultimately cleared of the tax evasion charges, the incident underscores the regulatory complexities confronting cryptocurrency exchanges across various jurisdictions.

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