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South Korean Province Seizes $138k of Crypto from Tax Evaders

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
South Korean Province Seizes $138,000 Worth of Crypto from ‘Tax Evaders’

A South Korean province has seized around $138,000 worth of crypto from 31 “tax dodgers,” as a nationwide crackdown continues.

Per Newsis, officials in the Jeonbuk (North Jeolla) Special Self-Governing Province confiscated the coins earlier this month.

Jeonbuk (North Jeolla) Special Self-Governing Province on a map of South Korea.
Jeonbuk (North Jeolla) Special Self-Governing Province on a map of South Korea. (Source: TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0])

South Korean Province Searched Exchange Data to Identify Tax Dodgers

The province announced on June 18 that the coins were held on four major KRW-trading crypto exchanges.

The tokens all belonged to citizens who had failed to pay their local tax bills on multiple occasions.

From March to April this year, tax officials in Jeonbuk combed through the records of all five domestic KRW-trading crypto exchanges (Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit, and Gopax).

They wanted to see if any of the 3,026 people who owed more than 5 million won ($3,619) in local taxes held crypto wallets on the exchanges.

South Korean law stipulates that all KRW-trading exchanges must link their customers’ wallets to real name and social security number-verified bank accounts.

This fact allowed tax officers to identify Jeonbuk-based individuals with ease, and match them with their own tax records.

Province Vows to Unmask More Crypto-holding ‘Tax Dodgers’

The group of 31, tax officials found, held coins on Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit.

Officials then froze the wallets and gave the group an ultimatum: Pay your outstanding tax bills or we will liquidate your coins and confiscate the proceeds.

The media outlet reported that “one tax evader who received a seizure notice immediately paid” an outstanding tax bill of $1,839 rather than see their coins liquidated.

Officials noted that this year’s haul was “more than six times larger” than last year’s crackdown. In 2023, the province announced it had seized around $22,500 from 12 people.

All 12, the province announced at the time, “owed more than ($3,619) in local taxes.”

Hwang Cheol-ho, the head of the Jeonbuk Self-Governing Province Autonomous administrative unit, said:

“The amount of virtual assets seized has increased this year, And we are becoming more familiar with the way [tax dodgers] conceal [their coins]. We will continue to collect funds in this manner. We will act on behalf of fairness and law-abiding citizens.”