Australia Targets Crypto Tax Fraud in 5 Nation Cyber Sweep

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The Australian government is in the process of investigating a number of tax avoidance schemes involving cryptocurrency with support from other jurisdictions.

This follows an announcement in April by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that it was stepping up its database in order to monitor if the correct taxation is being gathered from cryptocurrency holders across the country. Part of the move will involve collecting information from Australian cryptocurrency designated service providers (DSPs) regarding crypto purchases and sales.

The current investigation is being conducted in tandem with the international J5 tax authorities’ group which includes Britain, Canada, Holland, and the US. The cooperation between the five nations began in 2018 as calls for dealing with cyber-related tax avoidance became a common cause.

The ATO’s Deputy Commissioner Will Day reported that the agency was currently examining 12 cases; one of which was described as a “global financial institution” which enabled taxpayers to be able to hide details which should have been recorded for taxation purposes.

At a global level, there are around 50 investigations on J5 books which involve possible cyber infringements, some including the use of cryptocurrency. Deputy Commissioner Day commented that Australia was cracking down on this kind of evasion:

“At no other time have criminals been at greater risk of being caught… In Australia, they are often intermediaries who are playing a role between the tax evader and an offshore entity.”

In Holland, a cryptocurrency mixer was removed offline by the Dutch tax authorities. Such services provide users anonymity by mixing data that could identify the holder of the currency with other holders, making it hard for authorities to track the user under investigation.

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