Coporate Criminal Offences

As part of the fight against tax evasion, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduces two new wide-ranging corporate criminal offences of failure to have procedures in place to prevent:

  • the facilitation of UK tax evasion; and

  • the facilitation of overseas tax evasion.

Both offences are very wide-ranging and have significant extra-territorial impact.  The consequences of conviction on a company are severe and can result in:

  • An unlimited fine;

  • Severe reputational damage; and

  • Sanctions from other regulators both in the UK and overseas.

The new offences are expected to “go-live” from September 2017 following a Commencement Order.

HMRC's view

This legislation is about a "cultural change" in embedding procedures to prevent tax evasion throughout an organisation. HMRC have confirmed that this should flow from a "top-level commitment through the front-line where the decisions are made that matter."

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