The UK has joined forces with Canada, the Netherlands, the United States and Australia to launch the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) - a new alliance dedicated to tackling international tax crime and money laundering.
The group aims to build on existing international cooperation by sharing intelligence and expertise, and will work together on joint operations to crack down on those who make a living out of enabling tax crime.
At its first meeting, the J5 brought together specialists in tax and other financial crimes from each of the five member countries. Together they developed tactical plans and identified opportunities to pursue cyber criminals and enablers of international tax crime.
The new alliance will hopefully help HMRC build on work that has secured more than £2.8 billion from offshore tax evaders since 2010.
The UK Government said this J5 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 the enablers of tax crime.
"All five countries face similar threats – organised crime groups and wealthy offshore tax evaders who are well resourced and have access to professional enablers to hide income and assets using the global financial system," the UK Government said.
It added that by having a small number of partners, "it will allow the group to be more agile and flexible to develop new approaches and carry out joint operations".
Any results and benefits will be shared with wider international partners to build up a "global understanding of offshore crime".
Richard Morley, a partner in the tax dispute resolution team at 2018 eprivateclient Top Accountancy Firm, BDO, commented: “The news of a joint taskforce dedicated to tackling international tax crime is welcome. International cooperation and information sharing are reaching new levels as the implementation of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard continues. However, we have never before had a group of jurisdictions actively working together.
“Collaboration between the five countries will prove a vital tool and a good example of how world leaders can tackle tax fraud as it becomes ever-more complex.
“The ability to share information and expertise, and to craft effective plans and strategies on a joint basis, will bring a new level of transparency to the fight against global tax fraud.”
Membership of the J5 includes the heads of tax crime and senior officials from The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), HMRC, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
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