International Task Force Launched to Tackle Cryptocurrency Tax Crimes

International Task Force Launched to Tackle Cryptocurrency Tax Crimes

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has teamed up with tax agencies from four other countries – Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to launch an international task force to fight crypto-related crimes, with a focus on illicit activities related to taxes.

The new alliance, dubbed ‘The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement’ or just J5, will see tax authorities from the said countries cooperate and investigate cases of crypto tax fraud and money laundering. The national tax authorities will share information and conduct joint investigations in order to “reduce the growing threat posed to tax administrations by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime“, according to the IRS.

The formation of J5 was instigated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as it urged the national tax agencies to do more to tackle tax crimes. The newly-formed task force has already had its first meeting and expectedly virtual currencies were one of the focal points. The organization has also discussed strategy and best opportunities to pursue those who are hiding their taxes.

Johanne Charboneau, the Director General of the Canada Revenue Agency told that “5 demonstrates the serious commitment of governments around the globe in enhancing cooperation in fighting serious international tax and financial crimes, money laundering, and cybercrime through the use of cryptocurrencies.“

Her Dutch counterpart Hans van der Vlist went on to add that, “The unique thing about the J5 is the operational collaboration between five countries on tackling professional enablers that facilitate offshore tax crime, cybercrime, and the threat of cryptocurrencies to tax administrations, as well as making best use of internationally available data and technology.“

Clearly, the sentiment of both officials is very similar and with many of crypto traders still not bothering to pay taxes as there is an obvious lack of clear regulation, the situation might change sooner rather than later. However, further details on J5’s schedule and agenda are yet to be revealed, although an update is expected before the end of 2018.

Don Fort, chief of IRS Criminal Investigation unit, acknowledged the need for new ways to fight digital crime, claiming that, “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.“

“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,“ Mr. Fort told Forbes.

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