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Bill Foster

Bill Foster (D)

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Notable statements

Rep. Bill Foster has 2 statement(s) about crypto.

"Cryptocurrencies and the open blockchain networks they power embody a true technological revolution that promises greater efficiencies, vibrant innovation, and financial inclusion. We wrote in April of this year urging the issuance of guidance for taxpayers who use cryptocurrencies and we are pleased to see that you have issues guidance and addressed many questions we posed. We are, however, concerned that this recent guidance creates many new questions related to the topics it seek to address, namely forks and airdrops. Moreover, the guidance appears inequitable as it comes almost two years after the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash fork and three years after the Ethereum fork. The hypothetical fact patterns concerning forks and airdrops offered in this guidance do not appear to bear a close resemblance to actual forks or airdrops as they have offered in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Without clear and accurate hypotheticals for taxpayers to measure against, it is difficult to interpret IRS policy as it relates to actual events. In addition to the difficulties with the hypotheticals, the IRS appears to adopt as a standard “dominion and control” over forked or airdropped assets in order to determine when a taxable event occurs. The characterization of this standard in the guidance appears to diverge from established rules in other areas such as the receipt of unsolicited prizes or samples. The guidance appears to suggest that taxpayers may have dominion and control, and this be taxed on forked or airdropped assets when the fork or airdrop occurs, even if the taxpayer has no knowledge, and even if the taxpayer takes no affirmative step, or manifests any intention to claim or access those forked or airdropped tokens. This creates potentially unwarranted tax liability and administrative burdens for users of these important new technologies and would create inqueqitable results. We do not expect this is the intended effect of the guidance, and we urge the IRS to clarify the matter. The guidance also does not contemplate the vast variety of products offered in the cryptocurrency market: futures, retirement accounts invested in crypto assets, adn interest paid on crypto deposits, to name just a few. The IRS needs to provide guidance to taxpayers as to how income related to allc crypto transactions will be treated for tax purposes. In addition, the IRS has failed to provide any clarity for withholding and tax information reporting purposes. Taxpayers rely on forms like 1099 to helo complete their income taxes, and the IRS relies on them to enforce compliance. Since many are either not reporting 1099s at all or are reporting incorrect or incomplete information, it is imperative that the IRS publish clear information in further guidance. Further, we are concerned that the form of the guidance appears to indicate that this is “established” law. We would hope that the IRS recognizes this area as new and developing and will allow for reasonable interpretations in advance of the issuance of the most recent guidance. While we commend the IRS for attempting to issue guidance, we suggest increased work with the industry into the future. As you are likely aware, legislation has been introduced in this Congress to insulate taxpayers from liabilities for forked and airdropped assets until the IRS has provided clarity. We strongly believe that the best path to ensuring tax compliance in the cryptocurrency space is affording users of these technologies what all taxpayers need to deserve: clear statements of the law and thoughtful consideration of the types of enforcement actions that are taken in advance of that clarity. Please provide our offices answers to the following questions to the best of your ability: Does the IRS intend to clarify its airdrop and fork hypotheticals to better match the actual nature of these events within the cryptocurrency ecosystem? When does the IRS anticipate issuing that clarification? Does the IRS intend to clarify its standard for finding dominion and control over forked assets wherein some level of knowledge and actual affirmative steps taken are necessary to find that the taxpayer has dominion and control? Does the IRS intent to apply the current guidance or any future guidance retroactively, or will the IRS issue proposed guidance that is subject to notice and comment? These questions, in particular the first, require clarifications as soon as possible. In spite of the recent guidance, cryptocurrency users continue to lack any meaningful clarity about their tax obligations with respect to forks and airdrops. Ambiguity impedes appropriate tax compliance and unfairly targets taxpayers who may not have the ability to understand the positions the IRS has taken in these matters but who have taken a reasonable position. We hope that the IRS will act consistent with decades-long standards for finding dominion and control in the context of forked assets and require knowledge and affirmative steps to exercise such dominion and control. Lastly, until there is clear guidance that is prospective in nature, we urge the IRS to use its authority for penalty relief in those instances in which taxpayers made a good faith effort to comply."

Representative Foster & Colleagues letter to Charles Retting, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, December 20, 2019

"We are living in extraordinary times that have forced us to depend upon digital solutions like never before. The impacts of the Coronavirus are everywhere: from working and teaching remotely to transferring desperately needed funds – the ways in which we engage digitally has only grown. Your agencies are engaged in alleviating the impact of this crisis right now. Blockchain technology is an important resource that the United States must pursue to ensure that we can protect the well-being of our people and ensure economic prosperity. The membership of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus urges your consideration, support, and implementation of utilizing blockchain technology that could greatly mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus. In addition, convening leaders in both the private and public sectors to meet and develop a coordinated strategy to utilize blockchain technology would help facilitate relief to those impacted by this extraordinary threat. The United States must establish and maintain a digital infrastructure that is reliable, accurate, flexible, and secure. There are numerous examples in which blockchain technology can ease the way in which we interact digitally. Among some of the potential solutions blockchain can assist with include identity, supply chains, and registries. First, simply authenticating an individual’s identity to receive necessary funding or supplies could be facilitated securely with digital identity solutions using blockchain technology. The built-in architecture of blockchains enables seamless identification, for example, when receiving government benefits, while its strong encryption protects sensitive data. Managing our crucial supply chains, in which identifying where supplies originate, their transportation routes, arrival times, and inventories are critical for government and consumers alike, from food safety, to pharmaceuticals, to the medical supply chain. The lack of these fundamental supplies has served as a wake-up call across the nation as we continue to struggle to track, reroute, and deliver necessary supplies to those who need them most. Blockchains can even serve as registries for licensed doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to better enable appropriate identification and possible deployment of these skilled resources in times of crisis. Lastly, blockchain can improve the registries of medical professionals and the necessary certifications and licenses during this time. In addition to identity solutions to verify experience and required qualifications, registries of medical professionals as well as needed personal protective equipment (PPE), among others, could improve deployment and efficiencies of critical resources."

Representative Foster & Colleagues letter to President Trump, Director Droegemeier, Director Vought, Secretary Azar, Secretary Ross, Director Redfield, Commissioner Hahn, and Administrator Gaynor, September 2, 2020

Crypto bill sponsorship

Rep. Bill Foster has put out 1 crypto bill.

Central Bank Digital Currency Study Act

H.R. 2211

117th Congress

Bill pending

This bill requires the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to report on the impacts of the introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) on consumers, businesses, monetary policy, and the U.S. financial system. Several countries are currently developing CBDCs in response to the growth of privately issued digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

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