by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com Washington
03 March 2020
The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) recently gathered in Sydney, Australia, to review their work and to set priorities for the years ahead.
The J5 group includes the tax enforcement authorities of Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US, and was formed in mid-2018 in response to the OECD’s call to action for countries to do more to tackle the enablers of tax crime.
Last month, the J5 revealed that a multi-jurisdictional enforcement action had thwarted a major international tax evasion and money laundering operation. This involved a series of investigations in multiple countries into an international financial institution located in Central America, whose products and services are believed to be facilitating money laundering and tax evasion for customers across the globe.
According to a February 19 announcement from the Internal Revenue Service, as part of that case, evidence, intelligence, and information collection activities such as search warrants, interviews, and subpoenas were undertaken in each country and significant information was obtained and shared as a result.
The IRS said that the group has shared expertise to identify the most common and impactful mechanisms, enablers, and structures that are being exploited to commit cross-border tax fraud.
The introduction of automatic exchange of financial information between countries, registers of beneficial ownership, information from worldwide data leaks, and improved tax enforcement have also helped the group uncover undeclared offshore income, said Simon York, Chief and Director of the UK HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
Hans van der Vlist, Chief and General Director of the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service in the Netherlands, reported that collaboration between the J5 group has been particularly useful in uncovering tax fraud linked to cryptocurrencies. “For instance, last Monday the FIOD had action days in the Netherlands in two crypto investigations,” he said.
The group will be focusing on those criminals who “present the greatest threat to the J5 countries in 2020,” the IRS said.