This week, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officials participated in a five-nation challenge to optimize international coordination against tax evasion. The challenge was hosted by the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) in Amsterdam to identify, develop, and test tools, platforms, techniques, and methods that contribute to the mission of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, also known as the J5.
Three CRA officials took part in the challenge including data, IT and enforcement specialists. During the challenge, front line investigators tested each other’s technology to see what could be learned and applied to their own operations. The J5 participants also explored how they could bring existing data together with new technology and shared expertise to identify new ways of working and identifying non-compliant taxpayers.
At the conclusion of the challenge, each team identified new targets of investigations, developed investigative schemes to address those targets and increased their ability to share information and find similar patterns and targets in the future.
The CRA has specifically identified promoters of tax schemes, including enablers, as one of the top operational priorities of its criminal investigations program. Through better tools, better data, and with the assistance and collaboration of its partners, both internal and external, such as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Canada’s financial intelligence unit, and the J5, the CRA will continue to identify and go after those that promote schemes to evade taxes. More specifically, the CRA is currently investigating over 15 cases involving promoters of tax schemes and more than 50 cases linked to offshore tax evasion.
“Combatting tax evasion across international borders requires partner nations to work together effectively and to understand the available data and tools. This is why partnerships such as the J5 and events like the challenge are important. These partnerships allow us to identify common targets and develop strategies for cases across borders.”
-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
- The J5 is an international operational group formed to tackle enablers and promoters of international tax crime and is composed of tax experts from five countries: Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- The J5 focuses on building international enforcement capacity by sharing information and intelligence, enhancing operational capability by piloting new approaches, and conducting joint operations / investigations.
- Established in June 2018, the J5 hosted its inaugural meeting in Montreal where it developed tactical plans and identified opportunities to pursue cyber criminals and enablers of transnational tax crime.