Leaders from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit and tax authorities from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands met in Sydney, Australia, this week to set priorities for the year ahead in the fight against international tax crimes.
In response to a directive from the OECD Taskforce on Tax Crime, the five countries’ tax authorities have been coordinating their information, intelligence and operations to combat transnational tax criminals.
“Seeing the transformation of the J5 from a group of countries with similar challenges and similar goals to a fully integrated organization that is seeing operational successes is very exciting and should be a model for international collaboration at all levels,” said Don Fort, chief of IRS CI, in a statement Tuesday. “The information shared, efficiencies gained, and investigations started based on the collaboration within this group have moved the needle by years in terms of results and successes. I expect 2020 will be a game changer for the J5 and criminals will not know what hit them.”
In January, the J5 executed a global day of action against an unidentified international financial institution they suspected of facilitating money laundering and tax evasion. They shared evidence, intelligence and information, and executed search warrants, interviews and subpoenas in each country, garnering significant information as a result.
“Tackling the abuse of correspondent banking arrangements was at the heart of our day of action last month, and we are looking beyond just a single financial institution in Central America,” said Australian Taxation Office deputy commissioner and Australia’s J5 chief Will Day said in a statement. “We have fears there are many hundreds of Australians caught up in these arrangements, and working with our J5 partner agencies we are continuing to tighten the net on those who are engaging in and enabling transnational tax crime.”