Five Largest States Take Aim at Crypto Tax Evaders

Tax enforcement offices of US, Canada, Australia, UK and the Netherlands join forces in combating tax crimes.

Tax agencies of five of the leading global economies have set up a joint alliance to tackle money laundering and tax avoidance, including crimes related to cryptocurrencies, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on July 2.

The authorities of the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands agreed to establish the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) structure after last year’s call of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for more measures on tax crimes.

“The formation of the J5 demonstrates the serious commitment of governments around the globe in enhancing international cooperation in fighting serious international tax and financial crimes, money laundering, and cybercrime through the use of cryptocurrencies,” Johanne Charbonneau, director general, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), was quoted as saying in the IRS statement.

During the first meeting of the new alliance last week, J5 developed several tactical plans that will be enforced by data and technology sharing, collaboration of experts and joint operations.

“We cannot continue to operate in the same ways we have in the past, siloing our information from the rest of the world while organized criminals and tax cheats manipulate the system and exploit vulnerabilities for their personal gain,” Don Fort, head of criminal investigation department of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS-CI) explained in the statement.

J5 unites the chiefs and high-level officials from IRS-CI and CRA, as well as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs of the UK (HMRC).

The joint alliance was formed after a forum on tax and crime, organized by OECD in October 2017, has appealed for “strengthening the global response to tax crime”. OECD unites 35 countries for coordination of economic policies. It has special unit focused on tax crimes and other crimes (TFTC).

In March, ahead of the G20 summit of financial ministers and central bank governors, OECD called for more international cooperation and clarity on taxation of new financial technologies such as cryptocurrency.