It has been reported that the Government is planning to introduce a corporate offence for failing to prevent tax evasion of any form.
If and when this law is passed, stringent procedures must be outlined by the respective company in order to show that all precautions have been taken to ensure tax evasion does not occur. This has been introduced in the Criminal Finance Bill. Failures to show evidence of measures taken by companies will leave the company exposed to being liable for tax evasion through an ‘associated person’ and a third party (likely to be an employee with a client). It is worth noting that companies based in both the UK and overseas can both be prosecuted depending on the circumstances.
If this law is officially enacted, it could prove to be a major development in the prosecution of corporate crime for all organisations. It is therefore important to acknowledge that clients will have to be aware of both the statutory provisions and the guidance outlined by HMRC in order to avoid any future problems.
Tax solicitor, Steve Kirby said: “The Government along with HMRC continue their march towards a more aggressive approach to tax evasion. The much debated Criminal Finance Bill which seeks to hold companies liable for the actions of “associated persons” (employees for example) is a step closer to becoming law as the latest consultation period closes. This reflects the wider approach being taken to those accused of tax offences which continues to show a greater number of businesses and individuals coming under greater scrutiny, both in civil compliance and criminal investigations.”
If you or your company have been accused of committing fraud, whether by HMRC’s civil compliance or criminal investigations teams, contact our team of Fraud Solicitors on 0808 168 5550 or email email@example.com for a free initial consultation.