Investigative and tax agencies from five countries have come together to fight international tax crime. The initiative called the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement or J5 brings together agencies from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands in efforts to that will also include fighting money laundering with regards to cryptocurrencies.
There have been calls from various quarters to fight cryptocurrency enabled money laundering.
Ministers and central bank governors from the G20 group of countries discussed the issue in Buenos Aires during their meeting earlier in the year.
Virtual currencies like bitcoin make fast transactions without central control possible and present a nightmare to authorities. Although not entirely anonymous, following the trail of such transactions can be particularly difficult. Privacy focussed coins like Monero and Dash present even more challenges as they leave no trail.
The aim of the alliance is to boost enforcement by sharing intelligence, conducting joint operations and improving their operational capacity.
The group takes note of the economic threat posed by cryptocurrencies.
“We are convinced that offshore structures and financial instruments, where used to commit tax crime and money laundering, are detrimental to the economic, fiscal, and social interests of our countries. We will work together to investigate those who enable transnational tax crime and money laundering and those who benefit from it,” the group says in a statement.
“We will also collaborate internationally to reduce the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime and to make the most of data and technology,” the group continues to say.
The J5 will develop a strategy for jointly gathering information and intelligence on those committing international tax crime, cyber crime and money laundering. It will also conduct joint investigations “and disrupt the activity of those who commit transnational tax crime, cybercrime, and also those who enable and assist money laundering.”
The formation of the J5 is a direct result of OECD’s call to action for nations to do more to fight tax crime. The body will work with the OECD and other organisations according to information on the IRS website.
The J5 is made up of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Fiscale Inlichtingen- en Opsporingsdienst (FIOD), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).