Earlier this month, the five leaders of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (known as the “J5”) met in Washington to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the formation of the J5 organization and to announce their first year results. The J5 consists of the leaders of tax enforcement agencies in five countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and the United States. The J5 was established to focus on cross-border tax and money laundering threats, including cybercrime, cryptocurrency, and enablers of global tax crimes, and to share intelligence and data. In a press release, the J5 revealed that its member organizations are involved in, and collaborating about, numerous global tax evasion investigations:

The J5 is involved in more than 50 investigations involving sophisticated international enablers of tax evasion, including a global financial institution and its 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 agencies are also cooperating on cases covering crimes from money laundering and the smuggling of illicit commodities to personal tax frauds and evasion. Additionally, there have already been hundreds of data exchanges between J5 partner agencies, with more data being exchanged in the past year than the previous 10 years combined.

“I’m extremely proud of the work we have accomplished in just one year since the formation of the J5,” said Don Fort, Chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. “Each country came to the group with expectations and challenges that needed to be overcome so we could each realize our goal. We have found innovative ways to tackle these problems, remove barriers, and develop processes that make the sum of all of our parts a much more efficient and successful organization. It is not a good time to be a tax criminal on the run—your days are numbered.”

Part of the work of the J5 is focused on establishing mechanisms by which partner countries may share information in a more organized fashion. One such mechanism is the FCInet platform, which is a decentralized virtual computer network that enables agencies to compare, analyze, and exchange data anonymously. It helps users obtain the right information in real-time and enables agencies from different jurisdictions to work together while respecting each other’s local autonomy.

More information about the J5 is available at www.irs.gov/J5.

For more up-to-date coverage from Tax Controversy and Financial Crimes Report, please subscribe by clicking here.