IRS seeks names of virtual currency users in tax probe

The IRS is seeking the names of people who may have avoided paying taxes on virtual currency exchanged through a San Francisco company.

A federal judge issued an order Wednesday that allows the agency to go after the names of U.S. taxpayers who have used the services of Coinbase Inc., an online platform where merchants and consumers can complete transactions using digital currencies such as bitcoin and store the currency.

In court documents, federal prosecutors say an IRS agent interviewed two corporations that had accounts at Coinbase and attempted to conceal bitcoin transactions as technology expenses on their tax returns.

Coinbase said in a statement that it was concerned about its customers' privacy and would oppose the IRS' effort in court.