Senators Reach Compromise on Crypto Tax Provision in Infrastructure Bill

9 August 2021

U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced a compromise between Democrats, Republicans and the Treasury Department in a contentious tax provision in the Senate’s infrastructure bill on Monday that would exempt crypto transaction validators from a broadened definition of “broker.”

The text of the compromise was not immediately available, but Toomey said it would specify who has tax reporting obligations within the digital asset sector. Software developers, node operators and validators would not be required to carry or report transaction information, but brokers would be.

“We’re not proposing anything sweeping or anything radical – [the compromise] makes clear that a broker means only those persons that conduct transactions where consumers buy, sell and trade digital assets,” Toomey said in a press conference Monday.

However, the compromise comes after the Senate conducted a number of procedural votes late Sunday to advance the bill’s original text. Unless the Senate can achieve unanimous consent on the compromise before a final vote by Tuesday, the legislative body will send the original provision to the House of Representatives.

The bill, which has been held up repeatedly for a number of issues including the crypto provision, seeks to fund $1 trillion in both infrastructure maintenance and new initiatives like electric vehicle charging stations. Part of it expects to pay for these initiatives through $28 billion raised over the next 10 years through expanded crypto tax reporting requirements. 

However, the crypto industry pushed back against the wording of this provision amid concerns that the revised definition of a “broker” would capture miners or other types of validators, hardware manufacturers, software developers and other network participants that don’t have customers or otherwise any ability to comply with the information reporting rules.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Lummis and Toomey introduced an amendment to exempt non-broker type entities from the legislation. Earlier on Monday, Wyden said “I don’t believe the cryptocurrency amendment language on offer is good enough to protect privacy and security, but it’s certainly better than the underlying bill. Majority Leader Schumer says he won’t block a unanimous consent request on it.”

Senators Ron Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also introduced an amendment, which would only exempt validators from proof-of-work or proof-of-stake networks. The White House previously announced its support for this amendment.

All six Senators support the new compromise, Toomey said.

Crypto isn’t the only issue that held up passage of the overall infrastructure package. Rather, it has been one of a handful.

It was non-crypto issues that held up debate and votes on Sunday, according to multiple reporters in Washington, D.C.

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