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Colonial Pipeline fuel tanks in Baltimore in May 2021. Photo: Jim Watsim/AFP via Getty Images

The federal government for years has recommended that companies do not pay criminals during ransomware attacks, but the feds have a consolation for those who do pay: the ransoms may be tax deductible.

Why it matters: The IRS offers no formal guidance on ransomware payments. But multiple tax experts interviewed by AP said deductions are usually allowed under law and established guidance.

  • It's a "silver lining" to ransomware victims, as some tax lawyers and accountants put it.

The fine print: If the loss to the company is covered by cyber insurance — something that also is becoming more common — the company can't take a deduction for the payment that's made by the insurer.

The big picture: Cyber criminal groups have hit several crucial businesses with ransomware attacks so far this year, and at least one — Colonial Pipeline — has made a massive payment in an effort to get their computer systems back online.

  • The pipeline made a ransom payment of $4.4 million in cryptocurrency, but around $2.3 million of the payment was later recovered by the federal government from the cybercrime group responsible for the attack.
  • The Biden administration has urged businesses to take "immediate steps" to increase their ransomware defenses, and the Department of Justice said its going to treat ransomware attacks with similar protocols it uses for terrorism cases.

Go deeper: Ransomware becomes an industry

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

Evergrande's moment of truth

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Evergrande, the Chinese property giant, was due to pay foreign bondholders $83.5 million Thursday as the semi-annual interest payment on its $2 billion bond due next year. It didn't.

Why it matters: This is the biggest missed coupon payment since the chaos of March 2020, and marks a key turning point in what could be one of the biggest and messiest corporate restructurings of all time.

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.