South Korean Tax Body Seized Crypto Worth $28.4m From ‘Tax Dodgers’ in 2023

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
A tax office in the Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea.
Source: Tupungato/Adobe

South Korea’s tax body last year confiscated cryptoassets worth $28.4 million from citizens who were trying to avoid paying taxes.

Per Newsis, the number of “crypto tax dodgers” has ballooned from 5,741 – a figure reported in late 2022 – to 10,849.

The latest figures come from the National Tax Service (NTS). The data was published following a freedom of information request from lawmaker Yang Kyung-sook.

Yang is a member of the National Assembly’s Planning and Finance Committee.

The data shows that the number of “crypto tax delinquents” almost doubled in the space of the past financial year. A total of 5,108 offenders were identified in FY2023.

A sign that reads ‘National Tax Service’ in Korean outside the headquarters of the South Korean National Tax Service in Seoul.
The headquarters of the South Korean National Tax Service in Seoul. (Source: MBC/YouTube)

Citizens have been given the choice of paying outstanding tax bills and associated fines – or allowing the NTS to liquidate and sell off their tokens.

The tax body has teamed up with local tax offices for an ongoing, region-by-region crackdown on crypto-holding tax “dodgers.” The campaign began in 2020.

The NTS has recently purchased a suite of new blockchain monitoring tools. Bodies such as the prosecution and customs services have made similar purchases.

South Koreans do not currently pay tax on their crypto earnings. But the NTS believes that citizens around the country have used crypto as a tool to hide their earnings – and avoid paying income tax.

South Korean Tax Body Holding Seized Crypto Worth $21m

The tax authority gave examples of some of the unnamed “tax dodgers” whose crypto it has seized.

These include the case of a mobile phone seller who it says used crypto wallets to hide “hundreds of millions of KRW” for “long periods.”

The NTS has been combing through domestic exchange-provided data in search of possible tax violations.

However, it believes that yet more “tax dodgers” are still evading its grasp by using “borrowed-name” crypto wallets and “overseas platforms.”

And the NTS revealed that legal hurdles were preventing it from liquidating around $28 million worth of the coins it had seized.

A tax service spokesperson said the NTS “plans to resolve this issue in the future by revising related laws.”