Int’l tax authorities take ‘day of action’ against evasion

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The U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands undertook a global day of action to stem offshore tax evasion this week.

The action was part of investigations into a financial institution in Central America whose products and services are believed to be facilitating money laundering and tax evasion worldwide. The “day of action” involved evidence, intelligence and information collection using search warrants, interviews and subpoenas.

This is the first major operational activity for the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, a.k.a. the J5, which was formed in 2018 to fight international tax crime and money laundering. “[It’s] the first of many,” said Don Fort, U.S. chief of IRS criminal investigation. “We are able to broaden our reach, speed up our investigations and have an exponentially larger impact on global tax administration.”

“Significant information” was obtained and investigations are ongoing, according to J5.

“This … should degrade the confidence of anyone who was considering an offshore location as a way to evade tax or launder the proceeds of crime,” said Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner and Australia’s J5 chief Will Day. “Never before have criminals been at such risk of being detected.”

“The J5 are closing in,” added Simon York, chief and director of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Fraud Investigation Service.

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