HMRC’s global clampdown on crypto tax evaders

HMRC were initially caught off guard by the emergence of cryptocurrency when we first posted about this topic many years ago. However they are now starting to catch-up, as the recent signing of an international agreement, demonstrates HMRC's global clampdown on crypto tax evaders.

HMRC's global clampdown on crypto tax evaders


The decentralised nature of cryptocurrency transactions has posed a challenge to HMRC. There has been continuous debate amongst multiple tax jurisdictions in recent years about effectively regulating and taxing cryptocurrency transactions. 

HMRC has clearly stated in published guidance it's view on how cryptocurrency transactions should be taxed. We've also covered the principal cryptocurrency transactions that are likely to result in taxable events and where disclosure may be necessary. However, because cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and their transactions are relatively anonymous this has made it challenging for HMRC to enforce compliance.

The New International Agreement

HMRC started to warn crypto tax evaders of the importance of disclosure several years ago. The signing of this new international agreement as part of the crypto asset reporting framework, bolsters HMRC's global clampdown on crypto tax evaders.

The recent international agreement spearheaded by HMRC and signed by 48 other countries marks a pivotal moment in the regulation of cryptocurrencies. This agreement, is a strategic alliance aimed at combating tax evasion in the crypto space. The participating countries, which include major economies, have agreed to share information, resources, and strategies to ensure that crypto transactions are transparent and tax-compliant.

The Crypto Asset Reporting Framework will build on the existing system tax authorities use to share information with each other, known as the common reporting standard. It will mean crypto exchanges and platforms will need to start sharing taxpayer information with tax authorities, which currently they do not do. This will ensure multiple tax authorities can exchange information to enforce tax compliance.

Alongside information sharing, the agreement focuses on enhancing surveillance and compliance measures. This will involve the development of new tools and technologies to monitor crypto transactions more effectively. Tax authorities will also work on harmonising their regulatory approaches to create a more consistent and effective framework for crypto taxation.

A key feature of this agreement is the role of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers. These entities are expected to play an important role in ensuring compliance with the tax authorities. This would potentially be via reporting mechanisms similar to those used by traditional financial institutions such as the banking sector. This might result in more stringent KYC Know Your Customer (KYC)  and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures, as well as directly reporting transactions to the relevant tax authorities.

What are the Implications for UK Crypto Investors and Traders?

Given that HMRC's global clampdown on crypto tax evaders will involve enhanced information sharing and stricter compliance measures, it will be very difficult to escape detection. HMRC will ultimately have far greater visibility into crypto transactions than has previously been the case. 

The agreement emphasises the importance of accurate and timely reporting of crypto transactions. If you're a crypto Investor or trader you'll  need to keep detailed records of your crypto activities, including dates of transactions, amounts, gains, and losses. This information is crucial for calculating potential tax liabilities accurately, such as Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax - depending on the nature of the transactions.

It is therefore vitally important that you are more diligent in reporting your crypto-related activities in your tax return. If you have not disclosed transactions previously this could now result in hefty penalties and interest being imposed by HMRC on unpaid taxes.

HMRC has launched an online facility for individuals to disclose unpaid taxes on cryptoasset transactions, amidst the digital asset market's significant media attention due to its volatility and incidents of fraud. This initiative, aimed at clarifying complex tax implications, includes VAT, corporation tax, income tax, and capital gains tax considerations. Tax liabilities vary based on the nature of underpayment, with potential interest and penalties. As the field evolves, HMRC's focus on tax recovery intensifies, highlighting the need for specialist advice to ensure compliance, mitigate penalties, and avoid reputational damage in this constantly developing area.

Our advice for crypto investors and traders

Because of HMRC's global clampdown on crypto tax evaders we would recommend the following approach to avoid adverse consequences:

  • Accurately report all crypto-related transactions in your tax returns. It's important to understand the different tax implications of various crypto-related activities. For example, trading, mining, staking, or earning crypto through employment.
  • Be aware of what is considered a taxable event in the realm of cryptocurrency. The usual transactions involve selling crypto for fiat currency, exchanging one cryptocurrency for another, using crypto to purchase goods or services, and receiving crypto as earnings or mining rewards. Any one of these events can trigger a tax liability, and understanding this is key to compliance with HMRC.
  • Maintaining comprehensive records of all crypto transactions is essential as indicated in HMRC's manual hereThis should include dates, transaction values, the type of transaction, and the involved parties. You should also have details of the original source of funds used for your initial crypto investment. If you keep detailed records this will not only aid in accurate tax reporting, but will also becomes indispensable in the event you have an HMRC enquiry.
  • There are a number of online software tools available that can assist in tracking and calculating crypto taxes. These tools can automatically import transaction data from various exchanges and wallets, helping to streamline the tax reporting process. However, it's important to ensure that any tool used is compatible with HMRC's requirements.
  • Careful tax planning can help mitigate tax liabilities on crypto transactions. This might involve strategies like timing the disposal of assets to utilise the annual Capital Gains Tax allowance or offsetting losses against gains. 


For crypto investors and traders, this international agreement marks a new era of heightened scrutiny and compliance requirements from HMRC. The agreement underlines the necessity for transparency in your crypto transactions and the importance of compliance with HMRC.

HMRC's involvement in this international effort sends a clear message that the anonymity and decentralisation of cryptocurrencies will not be an excuse for non-compliance or tax evasion.

Therefore If you're involved in the crypto sector, you'll therefore need to stay informed, maintain accurate records, and seek professional advice where appropriate. All of these actions will help you safely navigate the complexities of crypto taxation.

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