Failure to Prevent Tax Evasion - New Guidance Explored
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduced new corporate criminal offences of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion (including both UK tax evasion and foreign tax evasion). Both are strict liability offences but there is a defence where the corporate has reasonable prevention procedures in place.
On 4 January 2019 The Law Society released guidance noting that ‘The offence brings a risk of criminal liability to solicitors’ firms not just as a result of their employees’ actions, but also as a result of the actions of others who provide services for or on their behalf…It is crucial for solicitors and their firms to understand this risk and ensure that their compliance systems are up to the challenge.’
HMRC has already commenced a small number of investigations and on 21 February 2019 it too brought out guidance on how to self-report.
This webinar will focus on the core components of the offences and their scope, together with practical steps for corporates to take to ensure their compliance regimes are fit for purpose.
What You Will Learn
This webinar will cover the following:
- Brief background to the offences
- The components of both offences:
- Stage 1: Criminal tax evasion by a taxpayer under existing law - the line between evasion and avoidance
- Stage 2: The criminal facilitation of that evasion by an ‘associated person’ - who is an associated person, and when are they acting for or on behalf of a ‘relevant body’?
- Stage 3: Failure by the relevant body to prevent its representative from committing the facilitation act - the defence of putting in place reasonable ‘prevention procedures’
- The geographical scope of the offences - what is the necessary ‘UK nexus’?
- Practical steps for corporates:
- HMRC’s 6 guiding principles
- The Law Society Guidance
- Conducting a risk assessment
- Putting reasonable ‘prevention procedures’ in place
- The seriousness of the offences - potential sanctions
- HMRC’s new self-reporting regime - when, why and how to self-report