SURAT: The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted searches at 15 places belonging to cryptocurrency traders in Surat to find out, among other things, whether the trade was being used for tax evasion.
This is perhaps the first major operation in Gujarat by the department against cryptocurrency trading.
Several documents and soft data pertaining to the digital currency trade were seized for analysis to find out whether the traders and their "beneficiaries" (customers) were using the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for tax evasion, an official said.
"Searches were conducted at 15 different premises of various parties involved in cryptocurrency trade through a trading platform. The premises of beneficiaries were also searched. We have seized several documents and soft data from them," said a senior Income Tax official here.
"We have learned that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were being traded. Our objective is to find out whether such trade was aimed at evading the income tax. We are also investigating whether the capital gain tax was paid on the income generated through this trade," he added.
The IT sleuths will also probe whether these traders were involved in converting black money into white by charging commission, he said.
The official did not reveal names of the traders whose houses or offices were searched.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies were not a legal tender in the country.