International tax crime conference
The heads of tax crime investigation in 44 countries recently met, together with the Financial Action Task Force and World Customs Organisation at Europol Headquarters in the Hague. This was the second meeting of the OECD Forum of Heads of Tax Crime Investigation.
The event focused on key threats and challenges faced by all countries in the fight against international tax evasion, including issues of identity theft which enables criminal groups to make fraudulent claims for tax repayments in the names of unsuspecting and innocent people, the illicit tobacco trade, the use of virtual currencies for illegal activity, and the role of professional advisers acting as enablers of criminal activity. The meeting also addressed questions of how tax crime investigation authorities can work more closely together and with international organisations, sharing intelligence to counter the activities of criminals.
The OECD Deputy Secretary General William Danvers said ‘The financial impact of tax crime is vast, but the effects go deeper than simple economics. The full cost of this crime weighs on normal people. These issues are a key priority across the OECD.’
The meeting also welcomed the establishment of the OECD International Academy for Tax Crime Investigation, which was launched in June 2014 to build the skills of tax crime investigators and other government officials, particularly in developing countries.