Tax Dragnet for Crypto Traders Reaches Spanish Bank Clients

(Bloomberg) -- A number of cryptocurrency investors in Spain have found their identities were traced by tax authorities, and they’ve solicited their banks’ help to prove no wrongdoing.

Several Spanish lenders have received requests from customers for account documentation in order to respond to inquiries from the tax agency. They include Banco Sabadell SA, according to a spokesman, and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, according to a person familiar, who asked not to be named because of the subject’s sensitivity. The Spanish lenders contacted by Bloomberg News don’t trade digital coins, but instead hold funds for these customers.

Countries around the world are struggling to define cryptocurrencies as an asset class for regulatory purposes, and tax legislation governing treatment of capital gains and losses is largely absent. Adding to the confusion, trading platforms offer varying degrees of anonymity.

Last month, an official at Spain’s tax-collection arm said it had begun asking financial firms for the names and trading data of clients engaged in digital-currency activity.

A BBVA spokesman declined to comment. Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, and Bankia SA also declined to comment. Bankinter SA said it doesn’t offer customers crypto-trading services, a statement made by most of the nation’s biggest banks.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.