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.
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."