The aforementioned countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. The group formed in response to a request by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to reduce tax crime.
“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,” the J5 said in a joint statement. “We will work together to investigate those who enable transnational tax crime and money laundering and those who benefit from it. 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 J5 members include tax crime specialists and senior officials in tax agencies. Membership of the J5 includes the heads of tax crime and senior officials in tax agencies, including the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Taxation Office, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Fiscale Inlichtingen-en Opsporingsdienst and HM Revenue & Customs.
“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,” said Don Fort, chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, in a prepared statement. “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.”
Here’s the J5 game plan, in short:
Develop shared strategies to gather information and intelligence
Drive strategies and procedures to conduct joint investigations
Collaborate on effective communications that reinforce that J5 is working together
What will this accomplish? Well, there’s nothing like a team effort. The J5 announcement notes enhanced investigations, identification of new targets for investigations, spot more intelligence threats, help a broader audience understand the methods and risks from transnational tax crime, and make the J5 efforts known internationally.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.