updated 2:28 PM CEST, May 24, 2023

IRS reveals 'day of action to stop offshore tax evasion' across UK, US, Canada, Australia, Netherlands

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service this week undertook what it called a  "globally-coordinated day of action to put a stop to the suspected facilitation of offshore tax evasion", in partnership with the tax authorities of the UK, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

The IRS's day of action comes at a time when, as reported, 1,000 "accidental Americans" have had their bank accounts frozen by their Dutch banks, because they had failed to provide the necessary "Tax Information Numbers" that the U.S. requires banks around the world to provide for all their U.S. citizen account-holders, as part of a U.S. tax evasion law known as FATCA, and met with Dutch lawmakers on Wednesday in an effort to find a way to resolve the situation. 

In a statement on Thursday, the IRS said its day of action was taking place "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 didn't name the financial institution located in Central America that it was referring to. 

The IRS went on to say, though, that "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."

It is expected that more information will become available over the next few hours.

'Evidence, intelligence and information'

The IRS went on to detail how its "day of action" had 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 IRS noted that the day of action represented the first major operational activity for the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, known as the J5, which was formed in mid-2018 to "lead the fight against international tax crime and money laundering", and which brought together officials from the tax enforcement agencies of Australia, Canada, the UK, U.S. and the Netherlands.

IRS criminal investigation chief Don Fort added that it would be "the first of many" planned coordinated sets of enforcement actions undertaken on a global scale by the J5.

Will Day, the Australian Tax Office's deputy commissioner as well as Australia's "J5 chief", was quoted in the IRS statement as saying that the day of action showed that the collaboration between the J5 countries was working.

“Today’s action shows the power of our combined efforts in tackling global tax crime, fraud and evasion.”

More about the J5 campaign may be found on the IRS's website by clicking here.