Multinational tax alliance targets cryptocurrencies


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 06 June, 2019


Multinational tax alliance targets cryptocurrencies

Tax officials from Australia and four other nations have commenced more than 50 investigations into suspected international enablers of tax evasion during the first year of operation of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) scheme.

Participants in the J5 scheme — which include the ATO, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and tax enforcement agencies from Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US — have active cases against 18 suspected enablers.

The J5 was established to combat international tax evasion enablers previously thought to be beyond the reach of the member countries.

Cases under investigation include a global financial institution and intermediaries accused of helping taxpayers hide their income and assets, as well as cases covering crimes ranging from money laundering and the smuggling of illicit commodities to personal tax fraud and evasion.

Participants in the scheme have engaged in hundreds of data exchanges through the FCInet platform, which is a decentralised computer network designed to enable agencies to compare, analyse and exchange data anonymously.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day said Australia is directly involved in 12 of the investigations underway by J5 members.

“I'm pleased with the progress the J5 has made on several significant joint investigations since its establishment last year,” he said. “The collective intelligence available through the J5 is instrumental in enabling us to tackle serious and organised financial crime threats located in both Australia and offshore.”

Other areas of focus for the J5 include tax issues related to cryptocurrencies, and particularly links between cryptocurrencies and money laundering.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the J5 partnership, leaders from five international tax organisations including the ATO met in Washington, DC to coincide with a global cyber training event hosted at the World Bank.

This training event, hosted by the US Inland Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division, included training on virtual currency, blockchain, the dark web and open source intelligence.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/robsonphoto

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