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Tax crime is a global problem that needs a global solution. The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) leads the fight against international tax crime and money laundering, including cryptocurrency threats and those who undertake, enable or facilitate global tax evasion.
The J5 was formed on 1 July 2018 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. The group brings together the leading tax, offshore tax evasion, cryptocurrency and cyber experts from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. These countries share intelligence at speed, build capability and ultimately carry out operational activities.
The J5 includes the following agencies:
Transnational tax crime involves violations of tax law that includes more than one country in their planning, execution or impact.
Our J5 role is supported by the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce agencies, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre for intelligence and investigation activities. All five countries face similar threats from organised crime groups and wealthy offshore tax evaders. These groups are resourced and have access to professional enablers to hide income and assets using the global financial system. We can’t afford to work in isolation while organised criminals and tax cheats manipulate the system and exploit vulnerabilities for their personal gain.
The J5 is a strong international alliance with a shared goal to target facilitators and enablers, cybercrime and cryptocurrency and build capability around data platforms that will help the work of each country.
By working together, we enhance our individual capabilities to put pressure on the global criminal community in ways we could not achieve on our own. We are better equipped to conduct operations and tighten the net on those who break tax laws, ensuring they face the consequences of their actions.
The J5 is working together on a number of investigations targeting sophisticated international enablers of tax evasion. This includes focussing our enquiries on financial institutions and intermediaries who facilitate taxpayers to hide their income and assets. These highly harmful, high-end enablers of tax evasion were previously thought to be beyond the reach of the member countries.
The J5 agencies are also cooperating on cases involving money laundering utilising cryptocurrency, and tax frauds and evasion.
Sharing information is critical to intelligence gathering for each investigation. There have already been hundreds of data exchanges between our J5 partner agencies. It is estimated there has been more data exchanged in the past year than the previous 10 years combined.
The Financial Criminal Investigation Network (FCInet) allows connected agencies to securely advise international partners with whom they are working, in real time, as to the existence of intelligence and data that is relevant to their offshore tax investigations.
FCInet will assist the J5 in closing the net on criminals who think they can avoid their tax obligations by moving their money through multiple tax jurisdictions.
We continue to work with our partner agencies in the ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) to support J5 operations. The partnership between the SFCT and J5 will only grow stronger as we advance our investigations into international tax evasion and associated money laundering. The SFCT investigates the most serious and complex forms of financial crime that present the highest risk to Australia’s tax and superannuation system.