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Taxpayers With Undisclosed Foreign Accounts and Activities Beware: The IRS and Other Taxing Authorities Are Coordinating Efforts to Tackle International Tax Evasion

By Joel N. Crouch on Januray 27, 2020
On January 23rd the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) released the following statement regarding its “day of action” conducted on January 22nd:

A globally coordinated day of action to put a stop to the suspected facilitation of offshore tax evasion has been undertaken this week across the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

The action occurred as part of a series of investigations in multiple countries into an international financial institution located in Central America, whose products and services are believed to be facilitating money laundering and tax evasion for customers across the globe.

It is believed that through this institution a number of clients may be using a sophisticated system to conceal and transfer wealth anonymously to evade their tax obligations and launder the proceeds of crime.

The coordinated day of action involved evidence, intelligence and information collection activities such as search warrants, interviews and subpoenas. Significant information was obtained as a result and investigations are ongoing. It is expected that further criminal, civil and regulatory action will arise from these actions in each country.

The complete statement is here.

This was the first major operation undertaken by the J5 which includes tax enforcement authorities from the United States, Australia, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands. The J5 was created in 2018 for the purpose of coordinating efforts to combat international tax fraud. According to the J5 website, the J5 will:
 

  1. Develop shared strategies to gather information and intelligence that will strengthen operational cooperation in matters of mutual interest, and target those who seek to commit transnational tax crime,  cybercrime and launder the proceeds of crime;
  1. Drive strategies and procedures to conduct joint investigations and disrupt the activity of those who commit transnational tax crime, cybercrime, and also those who enable and assist money laundering; and
  1. Collaborate on effective communications that reinforce that J5 is working together to tackle transnational tax crime, cybercrime and money laundering.

Taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign activities would be wise to consult with a tax advisor sooner rather than later regarding options for resolving potential issues. Failure to proactively address potential issues before being contacted by the IRS could result not only in significant civil penalties but also criminal investigations.

For any questions on this or any other tax-related matter, please feel free to contact Joel Crouch at (214) 749-2456 or jcrouch@meadowscollier.com.