Federal Employees Must Report Crypto Assets, Ethics Office Says

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By Lydia Beyoud

Executive branch employees must disclose their cryptocurrency assets, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics said in a June 18 advisory.

The OGE adopted the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of virtual currencies as property, noting that OGE doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies “a ‘real’ currency or legal tender.”

The announcement comes in response to multiple requests for clarity from federal agencies. “OGE recognizes that virtual currencies are experiencing a surge in use and access, and as a result, employees who hold virtual currencies are increasingly seeking guidance from their ethics officials concerning their financial disclosure reporting obligations,” the agency said.

Employees will have to report virtual currency holdings to the OGE in excess of the equivalent of $1,000 at the end of the reporting period, or if the income produced from the holdings exceeds $200 during the reporting period.

“Filers are required to identify the name of the virtual currency and, if held through an exchange or platform, the exchange or platform on which it is held,” the OGE said.

The ethics watchdog said it could issue further guidance as the cryptocurrency landscape evolves.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at lbeyoud@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com

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