This publication focuses on the benefits of interagency cooperation between tax authorities and law enforcement agencies working on preventing, detecting, and recovering the illicit financial flows derived from tax evasion, corruption, and money laundering. Although the magnitude of illicit financial flows is a matter of debate, their important implications for economies are widely recognized. Tax evasion and corruption drain limited public resources, and often they hurt the most vulnerable populations by depleting the funds for much-needed services. Beyond the budget, tax evasion and corruption harm the social fabric by fueling inequality and eroding trust in public institutions and the rule of law. Illicit financial flows are then a major obstacle to resilient, inclusive development.
The similarities and interconnectedness of these crimes suggest that huge benefits would accrue from enhancing interagency cooperation and exploring synergies. Interagency cooperation has an important strategic role to play not only in the context of investigations, but also at the prosecution stage. Clearly, then, a “whole-of-government” approach is needed to enable agencies to successfully detect, prosecute, and recover the proceeds of interconnected financial crimes. This approach requires commitment, investment, and coordination at various levels of government to overcome existing barriers.