HMRC joins international coalition J5 to combat tax crime

HMRC joins international coalition J5 to combat tax crime

The 5 member countries will collaborate to tackle international tax crime, money laundering and threats posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime

HMRC joins international coalition J5 to combat tax crime

HMRC has teamed up with government agencies from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States in a joint venture to tackle international tax crime, money laundering and threats posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime.

The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) will share intelligence and conduct joint operations to crackdown on enablers of transnational tax crime. The J5 has had its first meeting, in which tax experts from the 5 member countries devised tactical, collaborative plans.

The alliance was formed in response to a call to action from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for countries to do more to tackle international tax crime.

The 5 countries came together as their tax regimes face similar threats in the form of organised crime groups and wealthy offshore tax evaders.

In a statement the UK government said that having a smaller number of partners will allow the group to be more agile and flexible in developing new approaches and carrying out joint operations, and that any benefits and learnings will be shared with wider international partners.

Simon York, Director HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, commented: “Tax crime and money laundering are becoming increasingly global and sophisticated, so it’s crucial we continue to work with international partners to tackle these threats.”

Don Fort, Chief of IRS-Criminal Investigations, highlighted the importance of collaboration, stating: “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.”

“The J5 aims to break down those walls, build upon individual best practices, and become an operational group that is forward-thinking and can pressurize the global criminal community in ways we could not achieve on our own.”

York added that the broadening the horizon of tax crime enforcement will “make the world smaller for those seeking to exploit our systems.”

The J5 consists of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Fiscale Inlichtingen- en Opsporingsdienst (FIOD), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

As failure to prevent tax evasion became a criminal offence as part of the Criminal Finances Act 2017, accountancy firms should be mindful of how to manage risk.

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