Show download pdf controls
  • Global cooperation

    Our cross-agency and international relationships help us keep up to date with the changing nature of tax evasion and crime. This includes putting in place best-practice tax laws to reduce opportunities for tax evasion and crime and increase the chances of catching tax evaders.

    Transnational transactions are a feature of the global economy. Revenue collection agencies around the world are increasingly sharing intelligence and expertise in financial investigations to fight tax evasion and organised tax crime. Australia’s network of more than 100 information sharing agreements enabled us to raise assessments totalling around $255 million in the 2014–15 financial year.

    Income concealed offshore, poor transparency of offshore activities, and practical difficulties associated with getting information about a taxpayer's offshore activities all present risks for the international tax system.

    To address these, we work with governments and organisations around the world to fight tax evasion and crime on a global scale. Our strategies include:

    • accessing information and resources from private and government sources
    • participating in information sharing, automated data matching, intelligence gathering, analytics, investigations and audits with international tax administrations using Australia’s bilateral tax treaties and the multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters
    • working with domestic partner agencies through the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce
    • entering into information exchange agreements and obtaining information from countries previously regarded as secrecy jurisdictions
    • working with Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), with its enhanced capability to detect, monitor and report international transactions.

    In addition to these strategies, Australian courts have endorsed our use of information from overseas informants as part of tax assessment and audit processes.

    This engagement at the international level allows us to share intelligence, improve our ability to influence international policy, and cooperate with other jurisdictions.

    We collaborate with international revenue agencies bilaterally, and through groups and forums such as:

    OECD

    We contribute to a number of forums on tax administration supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which brings together more than 30 governments from across the globe. This collaborative work provides valuable support and the opportunity to share best-practice processes with our international counterparts. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) participates in the Taskforce on Tax Crimes and Other Crimes, which is mandated to improve the ability of tax administrations to identify, audit, investigate and disrupt tax crime and other serious crimes, including money laundering and bribery, by sharing experiences and examining specific tax and crime risks.

    Global Forum

    The Global Forum was originally established in 2001 by both OECD and non-OECD countries to tackle the use of secrecy jurisdictions. The forum's primary focus is to exchange information and to develop the international standard of transparency. The forum now includes 122 members, making it the largest tax group in the world. With the support of the G20, the forum was re-structured in 2009 to establish an in-depth peer-review process. The Peer Review Group (PRG) monitors and reviews the progress of its members towards the international standard of transparency and exchange of information.

    JITSIC

    The Joint International Taskforce on Shared Information & Collaboration (JITSIC) Network brings together 30 of the world's national tax administrations to find ways to more effectively deal with tax avoidance. The JITSIC Network offers a platform to enable its members to actively collaborate within the legal framework of effective bilateral and multilateral conventions and tax information exchange agreements – sharing their experience, resources and expertise to tackle risks and issues which effect member nations.

    The JITSIC Network is open to all members of the OECD's Forum of Tax Administration (FTA), and is supported by the OECD-based FTA Secretariat.

    The Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan, FTA Vice-Chair, is the JITSIC Sponsoring Commissioner.

    About the J5

     Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, J5 logo

    The ATO is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, known as the J5. The J5 is committed to combatting international and transnational tax crime and money laundering through increased enforcement collaboration.

    The group works together to gather information, share intelligence and conduct joint operations.

    The focus of the group is on professional enablers and facilitators of offshore tax crime, cybercrime and cryptocurrency fraud.  

    Never before have criminals been at such risk of being detected as they now are. The J5 is an operational group, looking in depth at shared tax crime threats.

    We already work closely with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and will continue to work with our partner agencies in the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce to gather intelligence to support J5 activities. We will also refer the most serious matters identified through J5 activities to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) for criminal investigation, in particular instances of alleged money laundering of which we already work successfully with the Australian Federal Police and AUSTRAC.

    The J5 includes the ATO and ACIC from Australia, along with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (United Kingdom), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (United States), the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (Netherlands) and Canadian Revenue Agency (Canada).

    See also:

    Last modified: 06 Jul 2018QC 33612